Towards a New Generation of Engaged Universities:
The Need to Act, Adapt and Transform

16th – 18thApril, 2024 | Kempinski Central Avenue (Formerly the Address Dubai Mall), Dubai, UAE

Call for Institutional Best Practices

The MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum (MENA-HELF) is one of the very few networks established in the region to address specifically higher education leaders and decision makers from not only the Arab region but from across the globe. The Forum through its various meetings aims at providing a dynamic international platform with a regional focus to address latest trends, developments and issues pertinent to the sector; encourage the exchange of experiences and help identify future directions and strategies.

The MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum (MENA-HELF) is one of the very few networks established in the region to address specifically higher education leaders and decision makers from not only the Arab region but from across the globe.
The Forum through its various meetings aims at providing a dynamic international platform with a regional focus to address latest trends, developments and issues pertinent to the sector; encourage the exchange of experiences and help identify future directions and strategies.
Participants and contributors to the Forum involves leaders, policy makers, and experts coming from more than 60 countries including but not limited to Presidents and Vice Presidents of Universities, Directors of Vocational Training Institutions, key officials from Ministries of Higher Education and Accreditation Agencies, representatives from IGOs and NGOs concerned with Higher Education as well as senior representatives from the industry and government.

The fourth edition of the Forum will take place in the beautiful and vibrant Emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from 25th – 27th of February, 2020 and shall be organized under the theme “Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth & Future Industrial Revolutions: Challenges and Opportunities”. The 2020 theme is focused on enabling meaningful and timely conversations about how the ‘Future University’ should look like in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how Universities should adapt to rapidly evolving technological changes to ensure it continues to be relevant.

Topical Guidelines

The Technical Committee of the 4th MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum invites leaders of and experts from the Higher Education Sector to submit original institutional case studies of relevance to this year’s theme.
Submitted case studies shall demonstrate a clear alignment with the main theme and sub-themes of the Forum and shall provide lessons learnt that other institutions of learning can adapt for their own institutions.
Submissions of case studies shall be made against one of the following four streams. Authors are kindly required to specify the stream against which they are submitting their case study when their extended abstract is sent:

Stream 1: The 4th Industry Revolution and the HE Ecosystem
To enable the higher education system to continue to be relevant and responsive to rapid changes, the higher education ecosystem needs to relook at the way it is currently operating. This stream will consider submissions that will address how educational systems/ Higher Education Institutions have successfully led interventions and structural innovations such as implementing open educational systems, flexible and prior learning, competency based learning models, differentiated cohorts

Stream 2: Technological Advances and their Impact on HE
How universities have been utilizing latest technological advancements such as ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; big data analytics; and cloud technology among others to transform the higher education landscape through creating new educational models (i.e. online learning, open learning, MOOCs, etc.) , providing learning flexibility, promoting knowledge creation and wider dissemination and strengthening student mobility.

Stream 3: Preparing Future Graduates through Re-Engineering Learning and Teaching
The focus of this stream is on presenting case studies and good practices where higher education institutions have adopted institutional wide pedagogical strategies and approaches to prepare the future graduates to ‘learn and unlearn’ and enhance their overall learning experience through integrating education with real world experience based on the current trends in the job market. This involves but is not limited to adopting pedagogical innovations that promote experiential learning, competency based learning, self-learning and deep learning (i.e. using peer-to-peer learning, personalized learning, gamifications, virtual reality and augmented reality, simulators etc.) as well as designing responsive curricula or establishing sound learner centric learning environment which promotes student readiness for the future.

Stream 4: The Role of Universities in Re-skilling and Upskilling the Workforce
This stream will consider examples of successful implementation of systems, strategies and partnerships whereas Higher Education Institutions have been working with governments and the industry to skill, upskill and reskill the current and future workforce in the age of digital transformation.

Submission & Presentation Guidelines

The focus of the submission should be on a case study or good practice of an institutional nature which has shown tangible success and could be recommended as a best practice. All submissions must be original and shall be in line with the overall theme of the Forum and its sub-themes.

The submission shall be intended to be a practical summary to improve practice rather than a formal, rigorous research paper.

The following are specific requirements authors shall comply with when making their submissions.

1. Extended Abstract and Full Submission Guidelines
  • An extended abstract between 350-500 words shall be submitted to the Technical Committee via email at:  on or prior to the 1st of September, 2019 for consideration and review by the Technical Committee. Submissions may be considered after this cut-off date if the Technical Committee is able to undertake the reviews and the author(s) is still able to manage the other deadlines.
  • All submissions to the Forum will be blindly reviewed by the Technical Committee. Authors should allow 2-4 weeks for reviews to take place as these are done in batches. Authors will be notified via email about the decision of the Technical Committee and any comments that need to be addressed.
  • The extended abstracts shall be structured in a way that the purpose, findings and implications of the case study are clear and well described.
  • The full case study submitted should typically be between 10 to 15 pages in length, excluding references and appendices. It shall be submitted in MS-Word format in a single-spaced, 12-point Arial style; title centered, in bold and all in capital letters; text and sub-titles aligned left.
  • The title page should be separate and should include the author(s) title, full name affiliation(s), country and email information.
  • The case study itself shall provide:
  • a background of the institution(s) involved
  • The context for the case study /best practice- what trends does it address; in other words the problem that prompted the initiative or the reason why the initiative was undertaken with possible examples illustrated
  • The goals and outcomes intended to be achieved by the institution(s)
  • The actual implementation strategy
  • The results and outcomes which resulted from implementing the strategy
  • Reflections on lesson learnt on the topic (the last page ideally shall include a list of bulleted lessons learnt). This could also include recommendations (positive or negative) to other learning institutions wishing to implement a similar practice.
  • References shall adopt the Harvard style and must be carefully checked for completeness, accuracy and consistency.
  • Authors shall use up to 10 key words to describe the case study; these will be used for web searches.
  • Figures and tables should appear within the text of the case study and shall be numbered consecutively. The figure or table number and description should appear left-justified in 10-point size at the top. Legends should be short and define any acronyms, abbreviations or symbols used.
  • Submissions of full case studies of those abstracts accepted shall be emailed to on or prior to the 15th of October, 2019.
  • Similarly all full case studies submitted are blindly reviewed. Revisions of full manuscripts will take place in December.
  • Submissions that do not adhere to the submission guidelines will be rejected.
  • Once reviewed by the Technical Committee, authors shall make any recommended changes or amendments to the paper and ensure the latter is submitted by no later than the 18th of January, 2020 to allow organizers to allocate the paper and edit the proceedings. Papers submitted after this cut-off date may not be considered.
  • Selected papers will be published in specific journals which will be announced in the coming few weeks.
2. Presentation Guidelines
  • Presentations of the best practice/ case study during the Forum are made using power point slides or poster presentation as deemed relevant.
  • Every presentation is allocated 20 minutes followed by 5 minutes for Q&As managed by the stream chair.
  • Authors of approved case studies shall receive additional information once their paper is approved on the day and time of their presentations.
  • All PowerPoint presentations shall be submitted by no later than the 15th of January, 2020. Authors shall also ensure that their registration is complete before this date.
  • Case studies which are not presented will not be included in the proceedings of the Forum.

In the case where you are using poster presentation and this was approved by the Technical Committee:

  • Ensure that the poster is not larger than 1.0 meter in width and 1.4m in height. A freestanding bulletin board will be available in the session room for the mounting of the poster.
  • Use softer colors. Posters should be readable from a distance of approximately 20 feet.
  • Poster must clearly highlight the one essential theme that is put across to the audience.
Important Deadlines
  • Extended Abstract Submission Deadline (second batch of submissions) : 1st September, 2019
  • Full Paper Submission Deadline: 15th October, 2019
  • Deadline for Exhibition Space Rental: 18th January, 2020
  • Final Full Paper Submission Deadline: 18th  January, 2020
  • Deadline for PowerPoint Presentation Submission: 15th  January, 2020