"The University of the Middle East shows what truly great things can be created. It has succeeded because it feeds the good in all of us."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
- A vision of education as a bridge among people and cultures.
- An institution of higher learning striving for academic excellence in educational leadership.
- An NGO working with educators at the grassroots level in the Middle East and North Africa.
- An inclusive attitude open to individuals of any nationality, religion, ethnicity or gender who share the goal of a more open, socially equitable, democratic, and environmentally sustainable Middle East and North Africa.
The University of the Middle East Project (UME) builds bridges through education among societies and cultures in the Middle East, North Africa, North America and Europe: Inspiring people to engage collaboratively using critical and creative thinking. UME seeks to empower the most motivated and progressive secondary school teachers of the Middle East, North Africa (MENA), the US and Europe through teacher training, leadership and organizational skills.
Since 1997, UME has contributed to the creation of inclusive and egalitarian classrooms in secondary schools across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Europe and the US. UME’s institutes equip teachers with the skills and knowledge to broaden young peoples’ perspectives and horizons. Through preparing new generations for a global community and world economy, UME’s alumni are paving a sustainable path for growth and stability in the MENA region.
UME has implemented 37 academic programs in the US, Spain, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan and Egypt with the support of prestigious institutions such as UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the US Department of State, and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These programs have benefited over 700 educators and community leaders in the Middle East and North Africa, over 150 American and European educators and thousands of students in both regions.
The unique quality of UMEP’s programming, which blends both affective and academic learning, has attracted national and international media exposure. UMEP has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, the Providence Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, the Newton Tab, the Somerville Journal, the Hyde Park Bulletin, Chronicle of Higher Education, and Washington File. International attention has also come from Germany’s Die Zeit,the Netherlands’ NRC, Spain’s El Pais, Lebanon’s Daily Star, Jordan’s Al-Arai, Gaza’s Al-Hayat al Jadida, and Morocco’s Le Matin, L’Opinion and Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse.
UME’s curriculum begins with its flagship introductory program, the Teacher Education Institute (TEI), which has convened more than 300 secondary school teachers since 1999 and affects the lives of approximately 4,500 new students annually. The TEI’s unique interactive method shares the best of teaching theory and practices with MENA educators, empowering them with the skills to incorporate critical and creative thinking, constructive dialogue, and cross-cultural perspectives into their lesson plans. It is through these inspired and inspiring teachers that UME’s mission spreads.
Building on the solid foundation it has created through the TEI, UME has recently launched a host of follow-on programs that utilize the UME Alumni Network to train more teachers, provide former participants with new learning and meeting opportunities, while supporting the implementation of acquired skills. In recent years, these have included:
- Civic Engagement Workshops (CEW) in Morocco, Jordan and Egypt
- Seminar on Identity and Education (IDEA) in Spain
- A Train the Trainer Workshop (TTW) in Morocco and Jordan
- Sister Cities Employment Programs in Somerville, MA and Tiznit, Morocco
Location and Affiliation
UME was incorporated in 1997 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, by a group of Middle Eastern and North African graduate students and scholars. A second branch was incorporated in Madrid, Spain, in 2003.
The "Boston Office" is currently housed at 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA, USA
The membership of UME's Board of Directors and Board of Advisors has been comprised of luminaries of academia and the international affairs. UME plans to establish of regional offices in the Middle East and North Africa. It is also actively committed to supporting alumni associations and alumni projects in the the region.
In the United States, UME is an independent 501c3 not-for-profit organization. It receives support from a variety of foundations, development agencies, and individuals. In recent years, UME has received substantial funding from the FRIDE Foundation, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. All UME operations are under the sole control of the UME Board of Directors.