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Expectations and Aspirations: A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa

November 13, 2018

Cairo, Egypt

Investing in Human Capital


    Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have invested heavily in education for decades but have not been able to reap the benefits. Education can play a vital role in building human capital and contributing to economic growth, and as a means for young people to meet their aspirations. Yet all MENA countries - regardless of their geography, demography, economy, or society—have not been able to fully reap the personal, social, and economic benefits of education. This has contributed to one the world’s highest youth unemployment rates, with rates especially high for educated youth. The frustrated aspirations of this population have been a source of turbulence in the recent past and could pose risks for the region’s future. The current situation in MENA requires a renewed focus on education, not just as a national priority for economic growth and social development but as a national emergency for stability, peace, and prosperity. 

    Please join us for the launch of the World Bank’s new MENA Education Flagship, Expectations and Aspirations for a discussion on unlocking the potential of education. The report identifies four key sets of tensions that are holding back education in the region: credentials and skills, discipline and inquiry, control and autonomy, and tradition and modernity. These tensions are shaped by society and reflected in schools and classrooms. If not addressed, MENA will continue to operate below its potential. The report outlines a new framework with a three-pronged approach that can help address these tensions. Unleashing education’s potential will require a ‘push’ for learning, a ‘pull’ for skills and a new ‘pact for education.

  • 2.30 – 3.20

    Opening and Welcome Address

    Dr. Tarek Shawki, Minister of Education

    Samia Msadek, World Bank Director of Strategy and Operations MENA and Acting Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti

    3.20 – 3.45

    Presentation of the MENA Education Flagship Report “Expectations and Aspirations – A New Framework for Education in the Middle East and North Africa”

    Safaa El Tayeb El-Kogali, World Bank Education Practice Manager

    3.45 – 4.20

    Panel Discussion on “A New Framework for Education in MENA”

    Moderator: Amina Khairy, Journalist

    Panelists: Dr. Tarek Shawki, Minister of Education,

    Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Senior Director for Education,

    Safaa El Tayeb El-Kogali, World Bank Education Practice Manager,

    Dalia Abdel Kader, Chair of Sustainability Committee, Federation of Egyptian Banks, Nermin Abo-Gazia, Executive Director, Al Alfy Foundation

    4.20 – 4.50

    Open discussion and Q&A

    4.50 – 5.30



  • Dr. Tarek Shawki

    Minister of Education, Egypt

    H.E. Dr. Tarek Shawki was appointed Minister of Education and Technical Education in February 2017. Prior to his appointment, he was the Secretary General of the Specialized Presidential Council for Education and Scientific Research. In addition, Dr. Shawki served as the Senior Strategic Advisor to the President for Education and Outreach at the American University in Cairo. Dr. Shawki had a longstanding academic career in engineering, as well as tenure as the Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Arab States between 2008 and 2012.

    Samia Msadek

    Director of Strategy and Operations for the Middle East and North Africa and acting Country Director for Egypt, Djibouti and Yemen, World Bank

    A Tunisian national, Ms. Msadek joined the World Bank in 1998 as a Financial Management Specialist. Since then she has held various positions, including Manager Financial Management in Middle East and North Africa (MNA) and East Asia Pacific regions and Director Operation and Quality in the Europe and Central Asia regio, with her most recent being Practice Director, Governance Global Practice. In her role as Director, Strategy and Operations for the MNA region, Ms. Msadek works closely with the Vice President in all aspects of leadership and management of the region.

    Jaime Saavedra

    Senior Director for Education, World Bank

    Jaime Saavedra leads the Education Global Practice at the World Bank Group. He rejoined the World Bank Group from the Government of Peru, where he served as Minister of Education from 2013 through 2016. During his tenure, the performance of Peru’s education system improved substantially as measured by international learning assessments. Throughout his career, Mr. Saavedra has led groundbreaking work in the areas of poverty and inequality, employment and labor markets, the economics of education, and monitoring and evaluation systems. He has held positions at several international organizations and think-tanks.

    Safaa El-Kogali

    Education Practice Manager for the Middle East and North Africa, World Bank

    Ms. Safaa El Tayeb El-Kogali is the Manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the Education Global Practice of the World Bank. A leading expert with over 20 years of experience in international development, Ms. El-Kogali has occupied a number of positions across regions at the World Bank over the past 18 years including Lead Education Specialist, Human Development Sector and Senior Economist. She was also the Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Population Council and . She is the author of several books and studies including the current report.

    Nermeen Abou Gazia

    Executive Director, Al Alfy Foundation

    Ms. Abou Gazia is the CEO and board member of Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development (AAF). Al Alfi Foundation is one of the prominent NGOs in Egypt that aims at developing people with high capability in order to improve their surrounding social and economic environment. The Foundation is a celebration and continuation of the family legacy of the very well-known businessman, Moataz Al Alfi, the CEO of Egypt Kuwait Holding Co. and the Vice Chairman Board of Trustees at the American University in Cairo. Together and through the Foundation, Moataz Al Alfi and Nermeen Abou Gazia have paved promising futures for students who aspire to be reality changers, through education and capacity building.

    Dalia Abdel Kader

    Chair of Sustainability Committee, Federation of Egyptian Banks

    Ms. Kader is a recognized expert in the fields of sustainable finance and branding financial institutions. Currently, General Manager and Director of Sustainability & Marketing Communications at Arab African International Bank, she is also a Founder, Vice Chairman and Board Member of “We Owe it to Egypt” foundation, the first of its kind to be established in 2007 by a financial institution in the Middle East that started a trend for other financial institutions to join track. Dr Kader is Chair of the Sustainability Development Committee at the Federation of Egyptian Banks. As adjunct professor at the American University in Cairo, she designed and instructed a Sustainability Marketing course for the MBA program.

    Amina Khairy (Moderator)

    Journalist, al-Hayat

    Amina Khairy is a journalist and Features Editor at Al Hayat International Daily Newspaper, Cairo, Egypt. She has an MA Degree in International Journalism from City University and a BA degree in Political Science from The American University in Cairo. She spent a year doing postgraduate studies on Political Islam at the American University in Cairo. In addition to her full-time job with Al Hayat, she contributes a weekly column for El Watan, Al Masy al Youm dailies, Masrawy News and Ahram Online websites and Ahram Weekly newspaper. She also teaches Journalism, Writing for the Mass Media, New Media and Arabic Editing Skills at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Faculty of Languages and Communications. She is also a part time media trainer. Khairy is a member of the Jury for both the annual Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate Excellence in Journalism Award, and the Samir Qassir Award for Freedom of the Press, EU.