A shared commitment to education

London, 10 July 2014 – At a dinner arranged for the Alexandria Trust by the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) in London, Ambassador Frances Guy delivered remarks on the current state of education and academia in the Arab world.

Ambassador Guy, who also serves as a trustee for the Alexandria Trust, went beyond merely presenting the problems facing Arab countries as it pertains to levels of literacy and unemployment, to propose approaches for what can be done. According to her, “one approach is the direct one of encouraging the private sector to sponsor education specifically for employment, building on the idea of the importance of vocational training but extending it to university education”.

Another crucial approach is encouraging critical thinking at the university level and recognising the value of liberal arts to the teaching of science and engineering, she said. “An engineer needs to know about society and the environment, an architect about how families and society interact and a doctor about how hospital management works.”

Ambassador Guy’s remarks were very well received by the distinguished guests at the dinner and a lively discussion ensued. The evening was chaired by Youssef Khlat, CLS board member.

The success of this event was such as to prompt the planning for a follow up event this autumn.

Ambassador Guy is currently Representative for U.N. Women in Iraq. Until May 2012, she was a member of the British Diplomatic Service where she held numerous roles since 1986, including most recently, as the Foreign Secretary’s envoy to the Syrian opposition.

The CLS is an independent academic research institution whose purpose is to promote international understanding of Lebanon and the issues facing it.