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Middle East: Higher Education in the Arab Countries

When the Middle East is discussed, what is often meant is the Arab world, which includes North Africa and the Arab Gulf and excludes the Middle Eastern countries Israel, Iran, and Turkey. This entry discusses systemic aspects of higher education in the Arab world, sometimes called the ‘Arab Middle East’, with a focus on tensions that have shaped its development since the 9th century but most especially since the mid-20th century.

Tensions Shaping Higher Education Development

This Arab Middle East is both diverse and united. Countries and territories in the Middle East proper have long bridged Western and Arab cultures, with Lebanon’s open-market pluralism contrasting with the tight control and Arab nationalist heritage of its close neighbour Syria. In North Africa, countries such as Egypt, Libya, and ...

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