EMUNI’s president Prof Abdelhamid El-Zoheiry intervened during the 2021 edition of the prestigious Mediterranean Dialogues (MED).
The MED is a high-level set of conferences that the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and the Italian MFA hold yearly to discuss the manifold stakes and developments of the Mediterranean Region.
On the occasion of the 7th edition of this event, President El-Zoheiry participated via zoom in a panel discussion entitled “Shaping the Future Mediterranean”. The panel assembled speakers from the Italian MFA, UNICEF, Save the Children, CIHEAM Bari and other prominent representatives of Higher Education institutions and focused on the importance of education, technical and vocational training for sustainable development in the Mediterranean Region.
Such an event presented Prof El-Zheiry with the opportunity to put forward the specificity of EMUNI’s approach to higher education and its crucial role in facilitating cooperation in the Mediterranean.
Turning challenges into opportunities
When asked how EMUNI turns challenges into opportunities in facing the issue of sustainable development, EMUNI’s president reminded the audience that despite no lack of good plans and goodwill, the main challenge to sustainable development remains good governance in common and effective implementation.
To hone in on this issue President El-Zoheiry illustrated EMUNI’s efforts to mainstream the principle of sustainable development throughout all of EMUNI’s degree programmes, including the forthcoming Master’s in Public Administration, designed specifically to address the challenge of effective governance in the Mediterranean and in Africa.
Nonetheless, this intervention was also an opportunity for President El-Zoheiry to address the common misconception that sustainable development is all about the environment and climate change, whereas the notion of sustainable development in the Mediterranean is also replete with social factors, such as poverty and illiteracy. It is by integrating this acknowledgement of the social component that EMUNI operates, namely when focusing on Blue Economy for efficient and sustainable use of maritime resources, which include the human capital of the peoples who live off the Mediterranean.
Tackling the skills mismatch
EMUNI’s president continued in addressing the little progress made on rectifying the skills mismatch in the labour market across the Mediterranean. Despite the frequency and topicality of discussions on this matter, Prof El-Zoheiry pointed to the difficulty for higher education institutions to match the speed and dynamism of labour market and steer into the course set by the latter’s demands.
Again EMUNI provides an actionable example on this matter since all of its courses acknowledge the limits of frontal lectures in developing practical skills and thus include opportunities to train in both companies and civil society organisations.
Furthermore, as complicated as it is to design the higher education that develops both critical thinking and practical skills, EMUNI does its best to mitigate these obstacles by gauging the needs of the private sector from the student selection stage, in order to give its students the proverbial “leg up” in seeking an occupation after their studies.
The MED conference, its focus on the many economic and political stakes that compose the Mediterranean, provided President El-Zoheiry with an ideal forum to showcase EMUNI’s strategies and solutions and efforts in delivering quality higher education and securing the future for the Mediterranean youth.
Find President El-Zoheiry’s address at this link.