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Mai 2017

Dr. Hakim Al-Nagah, advisor in the Libyan ministry for education: „I am in love with Marburg!“

In the beginning of May 2017 the DAAD Tunis organized the third network meeting and information seminar for leaders of international offices and Libyan higher education institutions. The Libyan ministry of education was represented by senior advisor Dr. Hakim Al-Nagah. Dr. Al-Nagah is a German alumni: he studied, researched and worked in Germany, speaks German very well and stands up for the German-Libyan relationship.

 
 

Dr. Al-Nagah, we are pleased to welcome you here in Hammamet at the 3rd DAAD seminar for Libyan higher education institutions.

You are an international expert with experiences in the academic and economic field: please present the focus areas of you work.

I have studied cultural sciences and international marketing at the University of Marburg and the University of Kassel, I taught and researched at Libyan universities and as the director of the economic office of the German embassy in Tripoli. Until today, I see myself as a facilitator between Germany and Libya. I worked as a translator for delegations and in my function as the advisor of the Libyan minister of education, I currently work for a closer German-Libyan cooperation within the areas of education and professional training.

Concerning your position as the senior advisor of the Libyan minister for education: since when do you hold this position and where do you see the greatest problems and challenges for Libyan universities at the moment. Does a strategy for higher education institutions in Libya exist?

I am the senior advisor of the Libyan minister for education since one year. I see the greatest need for improvement in the management of Libyan universities: there is a lack of a functioning management-structures, the administration is poorly trained, inadequately equipped, and the system misses the know-how of modern management and good governance. Already under Gaddafi, Libya missed to foster international cooperation and to connect with the international scientific community. Networking and the development of partnerships was neglected. Now, we would like to catch up on this by attending conferences and participating in international forums, associations and MENA activities. Together with our partners in the region and from Europe we want to collaborate on global issues such as water, energy and nutrition. For instance, we were represented at the German-Arab Education Forum in Berlin/ October 2016, at the World Education Forum in London/ March 2017, and at the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference in Malta/ May 2017.

How could Germany and the DAAD support universities and your work in Libya?

Jointly with the ministries and universities, Germany and the DAAD can help to develop administrative- and management-structures, where Germany can serve as a role model. There are programs of the DAAD, the GIZ and universities to develop competences and structures and to train a new generation of administrators. German funding associations can contribute to capacity building, support the internationalization of Libyan universities and can help to modernize the curricula and to enhance practical application within the programs of higher education institutions. Moreover, Libyan students shall have the possibility to study and research in Germany and to use their knowledge back in Libya. The exchange with Germany and Europe is very important for a cosmopolitan society.

You have studied and researched in Germany yourself, therefore, you know the German as well as the Libyan system of higher education: where do you see potential and areas for collaborations?

In Germany, I was stunned by multidisciplinary and critical approaches within the study programs. I find this very important as you learn to scrutinize, to think discursively and to take a view from multiple angles. This influenced me. I see potential in development cooperation and collaborations concerning global issues such as energy- and education management. For example, the programs INEMA or PPGG can help us to train qualified personal for NGOs and to build up structures. Region related study programs are also interesting renewals that could suit the Libyan system. Furthermore, there are 14 centers for technology in Libya – reaching from solar- to biotechnology –, these could be interesting partners for German research. Thus, German-Libyan cooperation agreements would be an important signal.

You joined the 3. DAAD seminar with your colleges for Libyan higher education institutions: what will you take with you from this meeting?

For us Libyan colleagues the opportunity to receive firsthand information, to exchange ideas and to meet in person is really important. We are taking home many valuable suggestions. Moreover, the workshop international networking was not only very interesting but also important in order to connect Libyan education institutions and actors on the local, regional and international level.

Would you like to share a view words about the current situation in Libya? What’s the meaning of the political instability for higher education institutions and the young generation who is trained at the universities?

Since 2011, the political crisis left Libya with weak state structures, instability and security issues which have a negative impact on the work in the areas of higher education and international cooperation. The state is bankrupt due to military confrontation and corruption, there is almost no financial support for the education sector, appropriate equipment is missing and wages are not paid. However, there are still tutors and administrators who work to educate and qualify the generation of tomorrow. We are striving to disengage young people from militia units and to bring them back to the universities, in order to offer them a peaceful and constructive future. Social integration is very important to accustom militia soldiers and devotees of DAESH back to a “normal” life. Furthermore, therapeutic aid is necessary to overcome traumata. Here, a special role is attributed to studies of social sciences. We have a great demand for well-trained social scientists who can fulfill this task.

And a brief conclusion…? What would you like us to take along?

“I am in love with Marburg!” – This little, but cosmopolitan town has impacted me with its intercultural atmosphere. Libya and Germany shall not only cooperate on a political- and economic level, but also in the cultural and academic field. I would be pleased to see more people learning the German language in Libya through the support of the Goethe Institut and a vivid German-Libyan relationship.

Dr. Al-Nagah, thank you very much for the interview!

 

Credits: Beate Schindler-Kovats