Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

Other Pages

Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 71

Studying the American Way: An Assessment of American-Style Higher Education in Arab Countries

Shafeeq Ghabra with Margreet Arnold and Shafeeq Ghabra

Also available in

Pages: 36

Distributor: WINEP

June 2007

Although public opposition toward U.S. foreign policy remains at an all-time high throughout the Arab world, parents and students in the region are more eager than ever to seek out American-style university educations. Meanwhile, local institutions are increasingly competing with U.S.-based universities to attract these students. Beyond the "American" label, however, how much American-style education are students at these institutions actually receiving? And for universities that fall short, what can be done to bring them to the point where they truly merit the label?


In this study, Shafeeq Ghabra takes an in-depth look at the state of higher education in the Arab world. Drawing from his experience as president of the American University of Kuwait and his longstanding expertise with educational reform, Dr. Ghabra -- supported by Margreet Arnold and a team of researchers -- offers a comprehensive country-by-country survey of American-style universities in the Middle East. In addition to outlining the limitations and prospects of each institution, he presents a detailed set of recommendations to local educational leaders and reformers, and to relevant U.S. decisionmakers. For those on the frontline of the "battle of ideas," his findings represent a crucial reference tool in the effort to reach the region's disproportionately large youth populations.