Higher Education in the Arab World

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Higher education in the Arab region has been witness to a prolific history. Long intertwined with major religious, intellectual, political, social, and economic movements, institutions of higher learning have occupied a central place in Arab societies. The university in the contemporary Arab world can be conceptualized as a global, universal institution located within a region with particular histories and cultures of learning. The Arab region, which contains 5% of the world’s population and consists of 22 member states of the League of Arab States, spans the Southern Mediterranean, Northern and Central Africa, and Western Asia. Arabic is the dominant—albeit not the only—language in the region, and Islam is the majority religion for some 90% of the population, with Christianity accounting for much of the remaining 10%1 The region contains a great deal of diversity, yet despite significant differences, a number of features—including the prominence of numerous pan-Arab political and economic organizations, a shared language, majority religion, political systems, common history, and experience of regional politics—allow for a coherent treatment of the Arab region.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Higher Education
EditorsJames J. F. Forest, Philip G. Altbach
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781402040122
ISBN (Print)9781402040115, 9789400705623
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringer International Handbooks of Education
ISSN (Print)2197-1951
ISSN (Electronic)2197-196X


  • Academic Freedom
  • Arab Region
  • Arab World
  • High Education
  • United Nations Development Program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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