The Roundup: News and Analysis in Publishing/Academia from the Arab World

Posted on April 25, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

News and stories with a focus on the publishing industry, education, and technology from across the Arab world.

Gaza’s Academics Face Censorship in Classroom
By Asmaa Al-Ghoul (Al-Monitor)

"Previously, the Israeli security department used to monitor academic freedoms, while today the Palestinian security apparatus [has taken on this role]," Dr. Atef Abu Seif, an academic in Gaza, told Al-Monitor. According to the article, academic freedom in Gaza is in danger of being encroached upon by politics and the Hamas-led government, as some academics and university professors have been restricted of saying certain words in classrooms over fear of being too provocative. It is not only professors who are being restricted, however, as students are also being monitored. Former student Muhannad Abdul Bari told Al-Monitor that he was called into his university’s security department and told that his activities were being monitored after comments he made in a classroom discussion about “the Islamic state.”

The Arab World’s Tangled Linguistic Landscape
Ursula Lindsey (Al-Fanar)

Language is an integral part of education, but how language is interwoven with education in the Arab world is becoming complicated. Classical Arabic, fusha, is being disregarded as the main platform for learning, and is being replaced by local Arabic dialects or sometimes English. Ursula Lindsey writes that more and more students are becoming less familiar with classical Arabic and their ability to write and comprehend the language is in a downward spiral. This partially has to do with the way it is taught and the poor quality of education systems across the Arab world. In addition, with more students attending foreign language schools or being taught in English, there is also fear that the classic Arabic language is in danger of being jeopardized amongst Arab youth.

Feast of the written word in UAE
By Cheryl Robertson (Gulf News)

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair hosts its 23rd gathering of authors, poets, and musicians to celebrate culture, literature, and traditions of the GCC countries. More than 500,000 titles from the Gulf region will be on display, and the exhibition expects a significant growth in attendance and will accommodate exhibitors from over 50 countries that will feature a range of 30 different languages. ADIBF director Jumaa Al Qubaisi told Gulf News that the event is becoming one of the fastest growing publishing events in the region. The exhibit will feature panel discussions, readings, talks, and performances by authors and literary pioneers from the Middle East and beyond.

Professor advocates higher profile for Arab science
By John Henzell (The National)

Iraqi-born British academic Jim Al-Khalili, author of the book Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science, will speak at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair with the aim of reminding audiences and the world of the Arab world’s history and its pioneers in scientific research and knowledge production. “
It always saddens me when I am reminded that so many in the Arab world, and the wider Islamic world, are ignorant of the scientific achievements of their ancestors a millennium ago,” Al-Khalili told The National. Al-Khalili claims that Abu Dhabi may become the new mantel for the Arab publishing world, due to its growing significance as an international center, replacing what Cairo and Beirut used to be.

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