Queen Rania Foundation Partners with edX to Create First MOOC Portal for the Arab World
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan announced today the creation of Edraak, an education initiative of the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF). Edraak, a partnership with non-profit online learning initiative edX, will be a MOOC portal for the Arab world and will bring quality education to millions of Arabic-speaking students around the globe. Her Majesty Queen Rania witnessed the historic signing of the agreement by QRF CEO Haifa Dia Al-Attia and edX president Anant Agarwal at edX’s Cambridge offices.
“Using edX’s technology and tapping the best talent from our region and the Arab diaspora, we’re proud that we will be launching a MOOC platform for the Arab world,” said Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah. “Engaging, fresh, relevant – and, most importantly, in Arabic – MOOCs on Edraak will open up a world of possibility for intellectually hungry Arab youth.”
“EdX was founded on the belief that education should be freely available for everyone, like the air we breathe. We share Her Majesty Queen Rania’s vision to bring opportunity to those who need it most, through education, and are honored to join her in delivering the world’s best and most accessible learning experiences to the Arab world,” said Anant Agarwal, president of edX.
Powered by edX’s open source platform, Edraak will offer Arabic translations of select courses from the 29 xConsortium partners to Arabic-speaking students at no cost. In addition, Edraak will develop its own courses in Arabic with leading Arab faculty members as well as world-renowned Arab professionals in a variety of fields.
These offerings will provide Arab students and professionals with a world-class educational experience with wide ranging courses, including courses that address contemporary issues and challenges in the Arab World through Arab perspectives.
The announcement of this Arabic-language portal follows the launch of two other global MOOC websites – XuetangX (China) and France Universite Numerique (France). Each of these portals uses Open edX, the open source platform supported by Stanford University and Google among other global partners, including the members of the xConsortium.
The Edraak initiative is an expansion of Her Majesty Queen Rania’s education advocacy. Queen Rania is UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for Children. She is also a member of the United Nations Foundation (UNF) board, and a member of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s high-level advisory panel assigned to advise on the post 2015 development agenda. In Jordan, Her Majesty founded the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) dedicated to improving the livelihoods of families and communities and protecting children from abuse, as well as a number of education initiatives.
About The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF) QRF was established to support the 8 different education and development institutions that are directly affiliated with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan (HM Queen Rania). QRF works with these affiliations to help align their work with HM Queen Rania’s vision for the development and enhancement of educational services for all Jordanians. QRF supports the affiliations’ efforts to effectively translate that vision into projects and initiatives, thereby strengthening their contribution, individually and collectively, to the various educational and development needs of the country, and eventually the Arab region.
About edX EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise composed of 29 leading global institutions, the xConsortium. Founded byHarvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, edX is focused on transforming online and on-campus learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like experiences and cutting-edge research on an open source platform. EdX provides inspirational and transformative knowledge to students of all ages, social status, and income who form worldwide communities of learners. EdX is focused on people, not profit, and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA.
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Ray Hanania is the Managing Writer of the Arab Daily News online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions.In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also writes for Al Jazeera English. Hanania has written for the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.