Balamand, November 15, 2023 – The University of Balamand proudly announces its recognition at the inaugural Times Higher Education Awards MENA 2023, held in Abu Dhabi on November 14, 2023. This prestigious event celebrated the outstanding achievements of universities across the Middle East and North Africa, with the University of Balamand emerging as a winner for its exceptional Contribution to Environmental Leadership.
The Times Higher Education Awards MENA 2023 marked a significant moment, bringing together over 300 submissions from 17 countries or territories, with 75 finalists competing for recognition in 10 various categories. The ceremony, hosted at the St Regis Abu Dhabi, saw 10 winners selected, showcasing the strength and diversity of institutions in the region. The University of Balamand stood out among winners from six different countries and territories, including the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, and Qatar.
The University of Balamand's achievement was attributed to the Faculty of Engineering’s "1 Million Action Postcard" (1MAP) initiative, spearheaded by Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Yasmine Jabaly. This project, developed under Dr. Jabaly's leadership as the UOB LEWAP Student Chapter advisor, aimed to raise awareness and foster positive action on water challenges by connecting solutions across generations.
The message received from THE’s Chief Global Affairs Officer was heartening: “We are delighted to bring the “Oscars of higher education” to the Middle East and North Africa for the first time. Times Higher Education is proud to have played an integral role in recognising, supporting and incentivising excellence in global higher education and research since our foundation in 1971. One of the ways we do this is through our prestigious THE Awards, which spotlight the truly exceptional achievements of universities, teams and individuals in some of their most critical areas of focus, holding them up as beacons of best practice. The THE Awards have been a major part of the university landscape in the UK for almost 20 years, and for several years we recognised much of the MENA region as part of our THE Awards Asia. But it is inescapably clear that the area deserves its own showcase, and thus its own, dedicated annual awards. So this year represents a landmark moment for THE: our first Awards focused exclusively on this vibrant, rapidly changing and ambitious part of the world. The scale, diversity and quality of the entries we received clearly justifies our decision to single out the region for special attention. This year is just the beginning. We hope that by giving our inaugural award winners their own space to shine, we will help not only to celebrate and showcase the good practice developed in the region, but also to spread it to neighbouring areas and beyond. We very much expect these awards to provide the case studies to inspire action in others and to help further supercharge one of the most exciting and innovative regions in global higher education.”
The judges noted the project’s focus on empowering young people, who are particularly affected by water challenges, to assume an influential role in driving sustainable and innovative solutions. They said the expansion of the initiative from a regional project to one that has gained significant international support and is making an impact globally in just six months was “very impressive”
Dr. Elias Warrak, President of the University of Balamand, expressed his profound pride in the university's remarkable achievement, underscoring its commitment to environmental issues and the unwavering dedication of its faculty members. Dr. Warrak remarked, "The recognition of the University of Balamand at the Times Higher Education Awards MENA 2023 is a testament to our institution's dedication to environmental leadership and sustainability. We are not just making a mark locally; we are showcasing the strength of our commitment on a global stage. This achievement is a source of great pride for our university and reinforces our ongoing commitment to fostering positive change in the world through education and impactful initiatives."
Prof. Rami Abboud, Vice President for Internationalization and Engagement and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Balamand, commended Dr. Yasmine Jabaly for her exceptional dedication and invaluable contributions to her discipline and the success of the 1MAP initiative. Prof. Abboud remarked, "Dr. Jabaly's leadership and commitment have played a pivotal role in the success of the 1MAP initiative. Her ability to inspire positive action on water challenges and her dedication to fostering international collaborations have significantly contributed to the achievements we celebrate today. This accomplishment not only reflects the outstanding efforts of Dr. Jabaly but also highlights the caliber of faculty within the Faculty of Engineering as a whole."
It is worth noting that the 1MAP initiative, was created in response to the UN Gamechangers Challenge. It has already garnered significant support from international partners, including Wavemakers United from the Netherlands, showcasing the University of Balamand's commitment to impactful global collaborations and to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, more specifically, goal number 6: Clean Water & Sanitation.
For more information about the 1MAP initiative and related Faculty of Engineering water projects please visit: