Institute in Sustainable Development Policies (ISD)


The Institute in Sustainable Development Policies (ISD) was an interdisciplinary program designed to address the economics and politics of sustainable development at the local, national, regional, and global levels in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Taught by leading academics from institutions in the United States, Europe, and the MENA region, the ISD explored the most pressing sustainability issues facing the MENA region.


These issues include:

  • Water management
  • The transition to clean and renewable energies
  • Industrial ecology
  • Waste management
  • Sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources

The Institute was comprised of a series of interconnected classes and projects, each of which provided a distinct perspective on sustainability in the region:

  1. The Economics of Sustainable Development dealt with the microeconomics and macroeconomics of environmental issues. It sought to reorient development to be environmentally sound and socially responsibly. The course explored economic and institutional tools for environmental regulation, including economic incentives, common pool resource management, consensus-building techniques, and decision-making strategies for dealing with uncertainty and contingency.
  2. Sustainable Management of Ecosystems in the Middle East and North Africa sought to explore the biodiversity challenge and sustainable management of ecosystems in the context of global climate change. Future challenges to the MENA region were identified and explored, including water scarcity, soil erosion, desertification, GMOs. The implications of the biodiversity challenge, unsustainable agriculture and global climate change for the MENA region
  3. Policies for Sustainable Development considered global concerns for the future in the context of policy at the national and international levels. Policy tools for fostering innovation, economic growth, and employment, as well as safety-related regulations were analyzed. Participants also studied strategies for effectively financing, implementing, and managing policies at the governmental level.
  4. Seminar on Governance, Sustainable Development and Environmental Conflict Management explored the effects of ineffective or corrupt governance, the role of civil society in development, the conflicts created by diverging vested interests, and strategies for contextually sound environmental policy.
  5. The Workshop on Cleaner Production, Industrial Ecology and Ecotourism looked at new technology to promote cleaner, more efficient energy and waste management systems for the MENA region.
  6. The Workshop on Sustainable Management of Water in the MENA Region (a special topic workshop.)
  7. The Workshop on Energy Use, Production and Consumption in the MENA Region and Perspectives on the Next Decades (a special topic workshop.)
  8. Group Project: Designing Institutional, Technical and Business Innovations for Sustainable Development united research teams of five students from different academic backgrounds and nationalities collaborated on case studies. Each case study explored one of the environmental areas covered in the workshops. Each team wrote a research paper analyzing the case study and proposing a sustainable strategy.

Education Leadership Institute (ELI)

July 12-31, 2004
Toledo, Spain

UME held the Education Leadership Institute (ELI) July 12-31, 2004, in Toledo, Spain. The focus of ELI is on directly addressing the systemic challenges in K-12 education in the Middle East and North Africa. The two-week program brought together a select group of alumni of the 1999-2004 Teacher Education Institutes (TEI) to collectively learn to tap the potential of organized, collective action and negotiation techniques, and to facilitate region-wide systemic changes in K-12 education. Participants were selected from among the most involved TEI alumni, on a merit basis.

Objectives of the ELI:

  1. To empower the most motivated and influential TEI alumni with the analytical, leadership, organizational training and negotiation skills to integrate the TEI alumni within their communities and to collectively promote and facilitate curriculum transformation on a national level. Such efforts on the part of the UME alumni within their home countries were designed to induce more discussion, debate and critical thinking into their national curricula.

  2. To integrate TEI alumni across different countries throughout the MENA region by linking them and their students through a cross-national network or NGO that the participants were to plan and inaugurate at the conclusion of the Institute.

Institute in Governance, Public Policy and Civil Society for the Middle East and North Africa (IGPC)

The IGPC Institutes took place in Spain in July of 2002 and 2003. The goals of the Institute were twofold:

  1. To explore and understand issues of good governance, the role of civil society, and prospects for democracy in the MENA region

  2. To create a network that will serve to serve to nurture and sustain the relationships between the participants of the Institute and strengthen cooperation among their organizations and institutions

Both of the Institutes were under the superb academic direction of Professor Denis Sullivan, Chairman of the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University, Boston, USA. Professor Sullivan is a leading expert in the field of political science and the Arab world, and has lectured and published widely.

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