A discussion at re:publica a few years ago revolved around the question of whether the Arab region, which is affected by digitalization, would not also need an open discussion platform in order to understand and even influence the profound changes on the economy and society (//here). From these discussions, the idea developed to develop an educational institution for transformation actors in the region that could have a connection to Germany - and thus access the Industrie 4.0 discussion - but also feed back the experiences from the Arab countries: Ultimately, many challenges of digitalization are not so dissimilar and some solutions are also interesting for Germany. The German Foreign Office supported the concept of Prof. Dr. Ayad Al-Ani, Associate Member at the ECDF, and the head of the Middle East think tank Candid Foundation, Daniel Gerlach. The idea: an innovative, digitally supported learning pledge, which would map technology aspects, legal frameworks but also social and political science issues of change and be built around the students' respective projects, the MENA Digital School. As a first step of the implementation, a Summer School for 25 scholarship holders was founded with the support of the NRW State Chancellery, which will go live this summer. The scholars, selected from 1200 applications, will have access to specially developed electronic learning content and participate in a week of attendance in Germany. Part of the events will take place Sept. 26-28, 2022, at ECDF, which is co-sponsoring the event with the Barenboim Said Academy, the Digital Arabia Network and the Fernuniversität in Hagen. It will be followed by other events at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum and smart city examples in Bochum and Wuppertal (//here).
About the MENA Digital School:
The MENA Digital Summer School is a hybrid digital transformation seminar aimed at emerging innovators from the MENA region in the field of digital transformation. The courses include basic modules on data management, machine learning, strategic planning, as well as addressing specific digitalization issues in the MENA region. Socio-political aspects and scenarios of digital transformation in the MENA region are also addressed. Part of the curriculum are collaborative workshops and field trips to digital leaders from business, academia and media in Germany. The school aims to foster leadership among young professionals and address digital transformation as a common challenge for societies in Europe and the MENA region. The MENA Digital Summer School is organized by the Candid Foundation and supported by the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, in collaboration with the Digital Arabia Network, the Einstein Center Digital Future, the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), and the Fernuniversität Hagen. The first phase of the MENA DS project was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.