SAR Academic Freedom Media Review – May 5-11, 2012

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.


‘New York University’ Is Added to China’s List of Banned Internet Search Terms
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/11

Sea turtles homing in on China must swim against academic tide
Carolynne Wheeler, Times Higher Education, 5/10

Scholar lost in desert of despair guided by beacon of hope to oasis
Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 5/10

Cabinet may consider accreditation bill today
Himanshi Dawan, Times of India, 5/10

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Academic Freedom Media Review – November 12 – 18, 2011

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.


Ai Weiwei investigated over nude art
Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 11/18

English universities enjoy ‘most freedom’ in Europe
Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 11/17

CHILE: Opposition and students unveil reform plan
María Elena Hurtado, University World News, 11/17

East and West, African sector a middle-class fortress
David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 11/17

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Look what I found! An article in Al-Shuruq, November 2003

Al-Shuruq November 2003

I happened to find this on my hard drive the other day. It is an article in Arabic, that was written about NITLE’s Al-Musharaka Initiative and published in the news magazine Al-Shuruq. I was interviewed for this when we my colleague Doug Davis and I were in Paris for a mini-conference we did with the American University of Paris and the Institut du Monde Arabe. It was a pleasure to work with both organizations, but I am especially grateful to Celeste Schenck, now President at AUP, whose brainchild the event was, and Susan MacKay, her assistant, who took care of the logistics.

Articles like this made me very proud because the showed how important the work we were doing was seen by people in the region. So here it is.

My Career in International Education, v 4.0

Globes in Chicago, by John LeGear

In 2005 the Association of American Colleges and Universities launched the “Shared Futures: Global Learning and Social Responsibility” initiative. The mission statement for that initiative describes what should be one of the most important principles guiding higher education today. Shared Futures

is based upon the assumption that we live in an interdependent but unequal world and that higher education can help prepare students not only to thrive in such a world, but to remedy its inequities.

Higher education not only can prepare students to do those things, but it must, for their benefit, for the good of our nation, and because remedying inequalities is the right thing to do. Hence, as the statement continues, the academy

has a vital role of expanding knowledge about the world’s peoples and problems and developing individuals who will advance equity and justice both at home and abroad.

These are fine and noble ideals, but they are also solidly rooted in reality. The United States finds itself involved in two wars at the moment, and neither is with a neighbor or even a nation in this hemisphere. The largest share of our foreign debt is owned by China. America is a nation addicted to television, yet only Zenith makes television sets in the US, maintaining one factory so that it is able to claim it is an American producer. Problems like global warming can only be tackled on an international scale, and when the mortgage crisis hit the banks in the United States, many of the world’s banks also felt the impact. The engine of globalization is, of course, technology, which makes it almost as easy to conduct business between Boston and Hong Kong (8,000 miles) as it is between Boston and Cambridge (next to one another).
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Qantara: Mediterranean Heritage

I  just wanted to take a moment to point out this site, which I just discovered tonight.  It is a fantastic pedagogical resource, interactive and rich in media.  The interactive maps are particularly particularly fun, but there is all kinds of rich media.

The Qantara project is part of the Euromed Heritage programme, which hopes to contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue between Mediterranean cultures by highlighting their cultural heritage. It aims to encourage intercultural dialogue by supporting the preservation and promotion of the shared historical and cultural heritage of the Euromed region, through human, scientific and technological exchanges…

The Qantara Project is a reflection of the Institut du Monde Arabe in its pursuit of openness and peace, in its modern and multimedia format that targets specialists and non-specialists alike, and in terms of its organisation, which unites several partner countries – Algeria, France, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Spain – as well as a guest country, Egypt. Qantara’s goal is to build or rather consolidate the bridge between the North and South, and the East and West of the Mediterranean.

Speak French or Arabic Fluently in Just Minutes

A lot of technologies promise to have you speaking a language in a matter of weeks, 30 days maximum. They seldom deliver, of course. But finally there’s is an application that delivers, and better and faster than any other book, audio recording, software or even liv teacher or tutor. Within a matter of minutes, literally, this application can have you speaking a basic set of essential phrases in French or Arabic with the fluency of a native speaker. Yes, you’ll be able to ask directions, order food and drink, discuss sports, book a hotel and all the other things you need to get by on a daily basis. And the words will come out of your own lips.

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Chicago Public Schools to Expand the Number of Students Learning Arabic

I don’t have a comment to make on this story, but being about the use of technology to extend Arabic instruction to more schools in the Chicago system, it clearly touches on some of my key interests.

More Chicago public school students will have the opportunity to learn Arabic, thanks to a federal grant.

Two thousand students in ten schools are currently learning the ancient language.

A three-year, 888-thousand dollar US Department of Education grant will allow Chicago to expand the program to three more schools….

…The grant money will go to professional development and expanding the SAFARI-Blackboard program, which uses computer technology to link students and teachers in different schools with web cams.

Read the full story, CPS Students to Learn Arabic. Includes NITLE ACC Site

This evening I was happy to learn that the NITLE Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource is once again publicly available, generously hosted by the Middle East Policy Council, a nonprofit organization that seeks to enhance American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues affecting U.S. policy in the Middle East. I was principal editor of the site throughout much of its existence, and was very proud of the collaborative effort that went into building, launching, and nurturing the site throughout its life. At the time of its retirement it was registering thousands of hits on a daily basis.

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Arabic and Chinese Request for Domain Names are the Most Numerous

“This represents one small step for ICANN, but one big step for half of mankind who use non-Latin scripts, such as those in Korea, China and the Arabic-speaking world, as well as across Asia, Africa and the rest of the world,” said ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom just before the vote, according to an Associated Press story.
–via ICANN Approves Use Of Non-Latin Alphabets In Web Domain Names, Channel Web

I thought that was a good quote. I’ve been following this story for a while. I was also interested to learn that Chinese and Arabic domain names are in the highest demand. These are also the two languages that I have been noticed have seen a great deal of increased demand in undergraduate education. This isn’t the result of any systematic study, mind you. It is purely an observation. Governments or their designees can begin submitting requests for specific domain names in non-Latin scripts on Nov. 16.

Freedom of the Press in the Maghreb

Upon the death of his father, it looked as if Morocco might be on its way toward total freedom of expression.  This post is too short to go into much detail, but tentatively at first, then progressively with more and more confidence the media and the arts began to confront previously taboo subjects including corruption in government and the private sector, human rights abuses, gender oppression, linguistic and cultural suppression of minorities, policies in the Western Sahara, homosexual rights, etc.

There was shock when the Moroccan magazine TelQuel was able to publish an investigative piece on “The Salary of the King,” and get away with it.  Under his father Hassan the II such matters were kept as secret as nuclear launch codes.  I don’t mean to say that the media totally ignored all that was wrong in Morocco until the liberalization, either.  But when something was  reported, it was done very carefully, with great care as to who was bore the blame.  All of that changed in the years following the elevation to the throne of Mohammed VI.

Recently, however, there have been a number of setbacks and it has been hard to watch.  Continue reading