German-Arab Transformation Partnership

The Arab world is still in a state of upheaval. Many countries have seen enormous change since the Arab Spring in 2011 - and while these changes have brought opportunity, they have also brought uncertainty. Change requires courage and fire-in-the-belly drive. It also requires a great deal of patience and perseverance to overcome disappointments and setbacks along the way. To support the transformation process, in 2011 Germany’s Federal Government established the German-Arab Transformation Partnership, identifying education as one of the most important enablers of this process.

In times of social and political change, international university partnerships provide critical platforms for exchange and support. The German-Arab Transformation Partnership paves the way, proposing measures and providing opportunities for collaboration. It is the mandate of higher education institutions to foster dialogue on key issues of our times and to educate the next generation. In the Arab world, the employability rate among university graduates is alarmingly low - their education is described as too theoretical and lacking in practical relevance. German universities and universities of applied sciences are therefore potentially interesting dialogue partners. Several of the academic partnerships established since the initiative’s launch in 2011 have focused on improving the employability of university graduates in the Arab Spring countries. These measures include updating the curricula in Arab universities to meet the emerging needs of the global knowledge society, and supporting internal reform processes within the universities. University instructors, scientists and students alike contribute their thoughts, drive dialogue and develop visions for a more sustainable future. The projects funded under the German-Arab Transformation Partnership programme are designed to help tackle a wide range of challenges, whether in the field science and technology for environmental engineers and managers, in the area of cultural preservation for archaeologists and cultural managers, or in medicine, improving the health of mothers and newborns. They have resulted in productive dialogue and rewarding partnerships. The social sciences are also involved in initiating and championing change by offering a forum for open discussion and critical thinking. The Arab world also needs a new well-educated, internationally-minded political elite that is aware of the importance of networks and willing to take on responsibility in a participatory framework. The DAAD has followed the developments in the region closely and has developed specially-tailored funding programmes to support the ongoing transformation process. Funds for the various partnerships and projects are provided by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.