Transforming Educational Reform in the Arab World | Rima Karami Akkary
Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 6:00pm to Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 8:00pm
Transforming Educational Reform in the Arab World | Rima Karami Akkary

About the Event

Thursday, November 7, 2019

6:00 - 8: 00: Lecture + Q & A

2nd Floor Gallery, Urban Center Building, 506 SW Mill St (between 5th and 6th Avenue), Portland State University

Free admission; Open to the public

Tea & Cookies Provided.


About the Lecture

Well intentioned efforts at educational reform throughout the Arab region have often failed to translate into improved learning experiences that prepare Arab students to the economic, social and political challenges awaiting them after graduation. Particularly, the educational system in the Arab Middle East region keeps graduating either disengaged citizens, angry rebels apt to cause destruction, and or potential immigrant longing to leave their society behind chasing the dream of integrating in the idealized version of the “other” that they associated with moral and technological superiority. 

Twelve years ago, TAMAM was launched as a joint initiative through a memorandum of understanding between the Arab Thought Foundation and the American University of Beirut to build leadership capacity for sustainable school-based improvement. The project is currently funded by the Arab Thought Foundation, LORE Foundation, and Taawon Association and currently has 67 school partners across Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Sudan, and Qatar, as well as Palestinian camps. In Lebanon Jordan and Oman, country hubs are forming that include in addition to school teams, representatives from ministries of education, local NGOs, and researchers from local universities in an attempt to increase cooperation among educational reformers in similar socio-cultural context.

Designed as a research and development project, TAMAM (which means complete in Arabic) uses emancipatory collaborative action research as a methodology to design contextually grounded capacity building strategies that enhances the ability of all stakeholders to effectively initiate, design and implement school based innovative initiatives that respond to the needs and priorities of schools. To date, 350 educators have participated in the job-embedded capacity building program and are actively engaged in leading school-based initiatives. 

While the design approach TAMAM follows is informed by best international practice, its main contribution is that it goes beyond introducing these practices to Arab schools. Rather, it attempts at challenging and transforming the existing paradigmatic and structural arrangements that are generating barriers to sustainable improvement and consequently to effective educational reform. It also adopts a bottom up systemic approach that calls for coordinated concerted efforts to be performed by key stakeholders at all levels to support the improvements initiated by practitioners at the school level.

This presentation will outline the journey of the project steering team highlighting the aspects of the design that exemplify this paradigm shift, providing stories of the success experienced as well as the challenges faced. The project’s vision and strategic goals will also be shared presenting TAMAM as a promising approach that can inform international donors’ agencies as they initiate large scale reform in the Arab Middle East region.

About the Speaker

Rima Karami-Akkary is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration, Policy and Leadership in the Department of Education at the American University of Beirut. Her research mainly focuses on understanding the current practices of school leaders and designing approaches to build capacity among them to lead school improvement initiatives. Dr. Karami-Akkary is the director and the principal investigator of the TAMAM project. She holds a Bachelor in Science, Diploma for teaching science at the secondary level, and Master of Arts in Science Education from the American University of Beirut (AUB), and a Doctorate in Education from Portland State University with a specialty in [K-12] Educational Administration and Supervision with a focus on school principalship and organizational change.