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IREG Forum 2017:

Excellence as the University Driving Force

organized by: IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence and Qatar University

12-14 March 2017, Doha, Qatar
[venue: University Library, Campus of Qatar University]
See map

As of 6 March 2017


Sunday, 12 March


Executive Committee of IREG Observatory [closed meeting]

[venue: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel]


Welcome Reception

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel West Bay Lagoon, Doha, Qatar


Monday, 13 March




Opening Session: Welcome and opening remarks followed by keynote address

  • Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory
  • Hassan Rashid Al-Derham, President of Qatar University

Keynote Speakers:

  • HE Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, Board member at Qatar University and Economic Advisor for H.H. the Emir of Qatar at Amiri Diwan:
    Excellence in Higher Education and its role in Qatar National Vision 2030
  • Francisco Marmolejo, Lead, Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education and Lead Education Specialist for India, The World Bank:
    Benefits and excesses in the use of rankings

First Session: Excellence as a "set of standards and guidance" for functioning and development of the university

Chair: Mukash Burkitbayev, First Vice-Rector, Al-Farbi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan


  • Andy Martin, Founder and Director of Firetail Limited, United Kingdom:
    Challenge from Mid-Ranking Universities: Findings of Firetail Report - Class of 2030: Which Universities Will Rise – And How Will They Do It?
  • Ying Cheng, Center for World-Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China:
    How is Ranking Adopted in Setting WCU Policies in China?
  • Shadi Awwad, Elsevier Regional Solutions Manager – Turkey, Middle East and Central Asia Scientific Research in the Arab World: An internal look and a comparative analysis with the rest of the world



Coffee Break


Second Session: Excellence as “a framework” for teaching and organization of studies in the context of the needs of a country or a region

Chair: Marko Marhl, Professor, Faculty of Education & Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Member of the Executive Committee of IREG Observatory, Slovenia


  • Narimane Hadj-Hamou, Chief Executive Officer, CLIKS – Center for Learning Innovations & Customized Knowledge Solutions, United Arab Emirates: Redefining Excellence for Higher Education in the Arab Region: Strategies and Lessons Learned
  • Marek Kwiek, Director, Center for Public Policy Studies; Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, Poland: University Rankings and the Competition for Prestige, Excellence, and Funding - in the Context of Central Europe and Its Reform Agendas
  • R. Lizzie Wahab, International Education Expert and former AVP at the University of New Haven, USA: Education Modalities: challenges of international frameworks for non-traditional learning environments in MENA countries





Poster session open


Third Session: Excellence in the context of cultural and economic transformations

Chair: António Rendas, Rector, University NOVA of Lisbon, Portugal


  • Karima Mariama-Arthur, Founder and CEO, WordSmithRapport, USA:
    Why Excellence Is the Best Place to Begin: The Transformative Power of Effective Leadership In Professional Contexts
  • Luiz Costa, Academic Vice Rector of IESB University, Former Vice-Minister of Education and former Rector of Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil:
    New Approach in Meeting Challenges of Wider Access and Pursuing Excellence in Brazilian Higher Education
  • Nico Jooste, President, International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA); Senior Director, International Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa:
    Excellence and world class: are university rankings helpful for societies in transition?



Coffee Break


Fourth Session: Principles of “excellence” in various academic disciplines and institutional settings

Chair: Khaled AL-Rasheid, Professor and Director of the Distinguished Scientist Fellowship Program, College of Science, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia


  • N.V. Varghese, Director, Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE), India:
    Ranking System Framework for Higher Educational Institutions of India – Empowering Tool for Enhancement of Quality
  • David Pendlebury, Senior Analyst, Clarivate Analytics, formerly the IP&Science business of Thomson Reuters, United States:
    Bibliometric Indicators of Research Excellence: Their Uses and Limitations
  • Amin Noaman, Vice-president for development, King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Saudi Arabia:
    Universties’ commitment to excellence in knowledge transfer and social entrepreneurship: KAU case study



Conference Gala Dinner

Venue: The Ritz-Carlton West Bay Lagoon, Doha, Qatar


Tuesday, 14 March


Fifth Session: International rankings and their regional variations: Experience of the Arab Region rankings [and beyond]

Chair: Mazen Hasna, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Qatar University

Speakers from invited global and regional ranking organizations:

  • Ben Sowter, Head of the QS Intelligence United Kingdom [QS World University Rankings];
  • Murat Perit Cakir, Middle East Technical University, Turkey [URAP - University Ranking by Academic Performance].
  • Richard Holmes, University Ranking Watch, International Rankings and the Assessment of Teaching: A Regional Perspective



Coffee Break


Sixth Session: New rankings and rankings-related initiatives

Chair: Daniel Guhr, Managing Director, The Illuminate Consulting Group, USA


  • Waldemar Siwiński, President, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Vice-President of IREG Observatory, Poland:
    IREG Inventory of International Rankings
  • Xuejun (Snow) Wang, Ranking Manager, Shanghai Ranking Consultancy Ltd, China:
    Shanghairanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2016: New Methodological Elements
  • Riri Fitri Sari, Professor, Chairperson of UI GreenMetric Rankings of World Universities, University of Indonesia:
    Trends in Sustainable Universities: 2016 UI GreenMetric World University Rankings Report

Invitation to IREG-9 Conference: presentation from the host institution

Closing remarks


General Assembly of IREG Observatory
[for members of IREG the organization]


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