AUB hosted the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) international meeting for this year to focus on research and education in the region and build collaboration and research services to Lebanon and the region. Over a week, AUB hosted regional and global research and education experts in workshops and meetings for three conferences that were held in parallel on the themes of research and education infrastructures, quality assurance in education, and open source communities.
“AUB leadership in ASREN and its hosting of this event is very much in line with the University’s vision for the future,” said Interim Provost Muhamad Harajli at the opening session. “A major goal of AUB’s Strategic Plan for 2030 is to re-establish the University’s unique position as a world-class teaching and research institution that fosters productive dialogue and innovation at the crossroads of civilization, contributing more effectively to an increasingly globalized and technologically enhanced and connected world.”
Earlier this year, AUB signed an agreement with ASREN that connects Lebanon to the global research and education community through the European Research and Education Network, GÉANT. The Network allows the sharing of research and the exchange of services among Lebanese institutions, ASREN, and GÉANT. AUB is the first university in the region to be connected to GÉANT, thus pioneering in linking Lebanon to a global research and education community of over 50 million users in over 10,000 institutions for the sharing of research and exchange of services.
Three conferences took place in parallel: e-AGE, on the research and education network; AROOQA, which discussed quality in education; and OSCOM, which covered topics of open source software development. Technical workshops and planning meetings accompanied the conferences throughout the week, including regional meetings for ASREN, AfricaConnect2, EuMedConnect3, and Internet 2 Middle East, which provides a collaborative environment to a vast global network to develop innovative solutions in support of educational, research, and service missions. AUB is also the first university in the region to sign an agreement with Internet 2.
For the first time, and through AUB, Lebanon was host to this international conference and key international players in research and education. AUB is pushing for collaboration amongst universities in Lebanon towards establishing a Lebanese Education Research Network (LERN) for research and education exchange.
“The American University of Beirut has marked Lebanon and the region with distinguished graduates that hold leadership positions across Lebanon, the Arab countries, and around the globe,” said Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications and Patron of the conference, Boutros Harb, at the opening which was also attended by Director of Education and Scientific Research of the League of Arab States, Yasser AbdulMunem; Palestinian Minister of Higher Education, Sabry Saidam; and Chairman of Arab States Research and Education Network, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh.
The conference highlighted the necessity of developing collaborative research, education, and training in the region as the way to sustainable economic development and in today’s e-Age.
“Let us work on having an Arab network for research by and for the universities,” said Talal Abu-Ghazaleh. “We must aim to be a knowledge society where every individual is a knowledge worker. To be a knowledge-producing society is the only road to a progressive and sustainable future in the Arab world.”
“Helping develop collaboration and research services in Lebanon and the region is at the core of AUB’s mission,” AUB Chief Information Officer, Dr. Yousif Asfour, told us. “Hosting this event brings global and regional players together and helps us move the realization of a Lebanese Education and Research network a step closer.”