At the 2013 WISE Summit: Reinventing Education for Life in Doha, Qatar, U.S. News & World Report announced that it created a directory of more 800 universities across the Middle East and North Africa region.
This is the beginning of a long-term project to develop a series of surveys and rankings for the MENA region.
Until now, other global rankings have typically included few MENA higher educational institutions. Arab universities have also not historically been classified for comparative purposes in the same way as institutions in many other regions.
U.S. News plans to collaborate with higher education institutions and education officials in the MENA region to create an Arab university classification system, as well as standardized, transparent and comparable information about their institutions.
We believe that this information and the rankings will be used by prospective students and their parents as well as policymakers and employers in the MENA region to accurately compare institutions. Currently, it's not possible to compare colleges and universities across the region using standardized educational data.
As part of this effort, U.S. News traveled to the United Arab Emirates to discuss the U.S. News MENA project with officials from Zayed University, Khalifa University and the American University in Dubai.
In addition, at the WISE 2013 conference we presented a session titled "U.S. News & World Report - Discussing a Model for a MENA Region University Ranking" and had an interactive and lively discussion about many of the key issues we will need to take into account in order to produce a MENA university ranking.
While in Doha, we went to Education City, the home of branch campuses of universities around the world, and visited or met with officials from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Northwestern University in Qatar.
We discussed our project as well as the role branch campuses play in higher education in Qatar and across the MENA region.