Al-Fanar Media inaugural event in Dubai cancelled due to academic freedom concern

London, 27 February 2013 - Al-Fanar Media, a new independent publication founded by the Alexandria Trust and dedicated to covering news and analysis on Arab higher education, has cancelled its inaugural event scheduled for this coming weekend in Dubai.

Recent crackdowns on academic freedom in the United Arab Emirates, in particular the recent decision of the UAE government to prevent a lecturer from the London School of Economics from entering the country to deliver a conference address, prompted serious concern at Al Fanar and the Alexandria Trust.

The organization decided not to proceed with Al-Fanar Media's inaugural event in Dubai at this time in light of the current circumstances in the UAE in regard to academic freedom. The Trust looks forward to continuing to engage in the on-going robust and important dialogue about academic freedom that the Arab Spring has unleashed, to which it believes Al-Fanar Media will contribute an important independent and unbiased voice.

The Trust, a London-based, Arab-funded and -founded charity dedicated to supporting world-class education in the Arab world, established Al-Fanar Media as a much-needed platform for public debate about critical issues facing Arab higher education, and as a watchdog for academic freedom.

Under the leadership of founding editor David L. Wheeler (former managing editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education), the publication is set to debut its website March 3rd, 2013. Its senior editor is Rasha Faek, a Syrian journalist currently based in Amman, Jordan.

The publication has already published original reporting from the region, including a recent story about the bombing of Aleppo University. Al-Fanar Media is bilingual in Arabic and English and plans to introduce a print edition as well. The publication recently received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation.

Al-Fanar Media's event in Dubai was planned independently of the UAE government or any local governmental institution. The event will be rescheduled.

Learn more about Al-Fanar Media