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Faculty of Arts and Sciences
 
Building a Collaborative Community of Educational Researchers

​​​​​​​​​​​​The Graduate Education Forum was held on Saturday, February 25 at the American University of Beirut (AUB), hosted by AUB’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) in collaboration with the Lebanese American University (LAU). The event aimed at uniting graduate students from both AUB and LAU for the first time to present their masters work and foster better communication between the universities.

 
Graduate Forums have been held at both LAU and AUB in the past, but AUB recently launched a new initiative to promote and encourage collaboration between universities in Lebanon, and so the idea was raised to hold a joint forum with LAU. Department of Education Chairperson and Professor Anies Al Hroub and Professor Rima Karami reached out to their colleagues from the Department of Education at LAU to propose a merging of the events. With this in mind AUB and LAU created a theme of Building a Collaborative Community of Educational Researchers.  
 
The Graduate Education Forum of AUB and LAU fostered a sharing of knowledge between institutions through collaborative presentations in three sessions, consisting of a series of visual multimedia discussions of graduate MA work, a panel workshop aimed at elaborating experiences of preparing an MA thesis for publication, and the launch of “World Cafe,” a space delineated to provide opportunities for networking and resource-sharing between specialists and departments for a more holistic approach to education.
 
“We aim to create a sense that we all belong to a community of researchers and we have the same goals,” Professor Karami said. “The forum includes and highlights the next generation of researchers and proves that graduate work at the MA level can also be part of producing interesting dialogues in education.”
 
Speakers included Professor Mona Nabahani, chairperson of LAU’s Department of Education, Professor Rima Bahous of LAU, and Professor Rima Karami of AUB, who also convened the conference. Student presentations ranged from teachers’ perceptions of Syrian children in Lebanese schools by Jida Khansa (LAU) to women in leadership positions in the education field by Fida Alameddine (AUB), highlighting the diversity of educational research. An open invitation was extended to students in the Departments of Education from AUB, LAU, Haigazian University, and the Lebanese University.
 
“It gives us an opportunity to speak to the people whose work is assigned in class, and to see what current work is being done in Lebanon,” said a current graduate student at AUB. “It’s great to be able to meet people in an informal setting and have a conversation.”
 
This year’s joint forum served as a pilot project for larger events in the next academic year and opened the possibility of inviting more universities in Lebanon to participate in the future with the goal of creating an environment of open dialogue incorporating the work of students as well as professors.



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