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

MENA HELF 2013 Panel Members

Dr. Gina Hobson
Chief Executive, British Accreditation Council

Dr. Gina Hobson is the Chief Executive of the British Accreditation Council (, which for nearly 30 years has been responsible for setting and assessing standards within the UK independent further and higher education and training sectors. BAC accreditation is held by hundreds of institutions in the UK and overseas and we provide the leading mark of educational quality for the sector, which is used by students, parents, agencies and beyond as a guarantee of standards.

Dr. Hobson has an in depth understanding of the UK independent sector, having worked within the education and training sectors since the late 1990s and been CEO of BAC since 2009. More recently, Dr Hobson has been involved in government sponsored projects conducting research to profile the provision of independent UK HE institutions, along with driving the development of a system of accreditation for overseas private universities.

Dr. Hobson is also a trustee and board member of the UK Council of International Student Affairs and the Council of Validating Universities


Mr. Mathew Boice
Vice President, EMEA

Mathew Boice is Vice President, EMEA and India, covering countries from Russia to Africa, the Middle East, Europe, India and Pakistan. He has achieved dramatic growth in the last five years and has an expanding network of strategic partners throughout the regions.

Formerly, Mathew held technical and sales roles at Ellucian in the United Kingdom and has over 10 years experience working with education institutions. He has been instrumental in the development of Ellucian’s EMEA and India strategy.

Mathew’s background includes training as a Chartered Management Accountant and managing the challenges of a Chief Information Officer at a large teaching University. He holds a BA with Honours in International Business from Brunel University.


Mr. Ashwin Assomull
Partner, International Educational Practice, The Parthenon Group

Ashwin Assomull is a Partner in The Parthenon Group’s International Education Practice. Mr. Assomull leads Parthenon’s education work in the Middle East working with operators and investors in Early Years, K-12, Higher Education, Transnational Education and Education Technology sectors. He has advised universities globally on internationalization strategies around student recruitment, branch campus development, and pathway programs. Mr. Assomull also leads the firm’s international work in the public sector and has worked with government ministries and foundations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and India. Mr. Assomull is a frequent keynote speaker at leading education conferences around the world such as British Council’s Going Global, Education Investment MENA, andUKTI-KHDA’s What Works:UK Education in Dubai. He holds an MBA from London Business School and a B.Sc. from LSE.


Sally Ward
Regional Manager, Higher Education for Middle East and North Africa, British Council, UAE

Sally Ward is an education professional with experience in school, adult, community and latterly – higher education. She holds a Bachelors degree in Primary Education and a Master’s Degree in Management – with a focus on public and development management.

Sally has studied, lived and worked in South Africa and in the UK and has been in the MENA region for almost eight years; initially in Saudi Arabia where she took the job of Regional Manager for the Middle East Region with the British Council. She was promoted to Regional Manager and now manages the British Council’s Higher Education Programme across thirteen countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The programme works through country offices to implement projects in leadership, management, quality management and professional development. It supports internationalisation by encouraging broad relationships and links with higher education and organisations in the United Kingdom including in scientific research, student and staff exchange and by providing expertise and opportunities for transnational education.


Prof. Vincent Tenebe
Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria, Nigeria

Professor Tenebe earned his B.Sc. Agric and M.Sc. Agronomy, from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He rose from Graduate Assistant to Professor of Agronomy from 1984 to 2003; at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Nigeria.

Professor Tenebe is the current Vice Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria. This seasoned scholar and administrator of no mean repute, has made brilliant presentations that addressed issues in agriculture, global warming and higher education at various fora across the globe.

Professor Vincent Ado Tenebe, an Executive Board Member of African Council for Distance Education (ACDE) and the UNESCO Chair of Open and Distance Learning at the National Open University of Nigeria, belongs to several learned societies.

The distinguished scholar, whose hobbies include sports, photography, music and travelling, is happily married with lovely children.


Dr. Talal Abdallah Almlki
Vice President for Quality & Development, Taif University, KSA

Dr. Talal Abdallah Almalki is a Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatal Surgery, Taif University, Saudi Arabia. Currently, he is the Vice President for Development, Quality.

Dr Almalki, after attaining his MD degree, he finished his Training in General & Pediatric Surgery at University of Toronto, in 1989, McMaster University and University of London, UK.

He has the leading & instrumental role in the accreditation of the university academic programs by the Local and International accrediting agencies.
Over the last two years, Dr Almalki has been leading a team of experts for revising the university Strategic Plan.

He is responsible for international collaboration and for achieving and boosting Research quality and excellence in the university. MOU’s and service contracts in different fields were signed with world renowned universities such as Monash University (Australia), University of Florida (USA) & Yonsei University (South Korea) amongst others

He was appointed as the Founding Dean of the College of Medicine and also College of Clinical Pharmacy at Taif University in 2004..

Dr Almalki is the founding member of the Saudi Scientific Society for Pediatric Surgeons
In summary, Dr Almalki through his international training and exposure and in depth understanding of the local culture, he managed to create a very interesting and successful example of commitment and devotion to serve his people in the medical field and the higher Education in general.


Prof. Richard Flores
Executive Director, Global Initiative for Education and Leadership, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Richard Flores works in the areas of critical theory, performance studies, folklore, and historical-symbolic analysis. He is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1989. Prior to graduate school he worked in Houston and San Antonio where he was involved in founding and teaching in schools for undocumented Mexican children. Professor Flores is the author of “Los Pastores: History and Performance in the Mexican Shepherd?s Play of South Texas” (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), editor of Adina De Zavala?s, “History and Legends of the Alamo” (Arte Publico Press, 1996), and has published in American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, The Journal of American Folklore, and a recent book chapter in “Latino Cultural Citizenship” published by Beacon Press. He is completing a book titled “Remembering the Alamo: Memory, Modernity, and the Master Symbol”.


Prof. Najla Bouden Romdhane
Advisor of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Higher Education, Tunisia

Prof. Najla Bouden Romdhane. Senior Counselor, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, President of the steering Committee of the competitive funding program for enhancing quality of HE and university gouvernance (Programme d’Appui à la Qualité, PAQ).

Dr. Najla Bouden Romdhane is professor at the National School of Engineers of Tunis (ENIT), where she was responsible for fields pertaining to the openness on the socio -professional environment, Life Long Learning and Skills development for senior executives in the oil sector in Tunisia. Since 2006, she is Senior Counselor at the Cabinet of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. She currently coordinates the Second Project to Support the Reform of Higher Education (PARES II). As part of her mandate, she has implemented the first Tunisian competitive fund for improving the quality of higher education and the management capacity of universities (PAQ). She also had significant and leading role in establishing the Tunisian Agency of Evaluation, QA and Accreditation. Very involved in the community work, she is a founding member and vice president of the Higher Education Development Association, which works to promote quality education in a context of partnership and complementarity with the public sector. This association receives financial support from the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group). Najla Bouden Romdhane holds a PhD from the Ecole des Mines de Paris and a PhD thesis (Thèse d’Etat) from ENIT.


Prof. Martin Henson
Dean for International Affairs and Profressor of Computer Science at the University of Essex, UK

Professor Martin Henson is a senior academic manager and consultant, specializing in Higher Education strategy, management, accreditation, audit, curriculum design and development, and international collaborations. He is in demand as a keynote speaker, consultant and capacity builder on the international scene – working with many ministries of higher education, especially in the GCC, and with KPMG. He has undertaken over 50 academic and institutional reviews, developed accreditation standards, and led strategic planning exercises. He is a professor of Computer Science, with over 100 publications, and has attracted over US$1 million in research funding over the last three years. He currently leads International Strategy at the University of Essex – a top ten university in the UK and THE “Top 20 under 50” in the world.