Vol 4., No. 1 (Trinity)

Editors’ Foreword

Dear reader,
As managing editors, we are excited to present the fourth issue of the Oxford Middle East Review (OMER). The journal was founded in 2016 at St Antony’s College, Oxford, by two Middle Eastern Studies students, who sought to create an engaging forum for students and aspiring scholars to critically discuss issues pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Today, the journal provides a platform for young aspiring academics and hopes to provide them with a platform by publishing their best work.

While continuing OMER’s interdisciplinary approach, the current issue features articles around the theme of Identity and the Middle East. Undoubtedly, the study of identity has long been a staple of the field, from the early studies of Arab nationalism to the contemporary focus of sectarianism in the Persian Gulf. In the current issue however, we have tried to challenge our contributors to provide new perspectives on this much treaded terrain. With articles covering topics from inter-religious solidarity and tribal identity to issues of identity in education and sexual violence, we believe this has been a fruitful endeavour. The articles of the current issue will undoubtedly advance the academic debates within their respective fields.

Another feature of this year’s issue is the inclusion of three shorter policy pieces that engage with the current affairs of the region. By doing so, we hope to expand OMER’s relevance beyond academic circles and make it more accessible to policy makers and observers of current affairs in the Middle East.

Like everything in our world today, OMER has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of our editors have not been able to remain in Oxford and the many complications related to the pandemic have led to a delay in publication. The current issue will therefore be published online without the launch event normally held in May every year. The launch event would have given the authors an opportunity to present their work and we are deeply saddened that it had to be canceled. While the current issue has been published online, we hope to produce printed copies at a later point when academic life in Oxford returns to normal.

Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we are delighted that this year’s issue is published without impediment and hope that it will stimulate our readers with fresh insights on the Middle East.

The managing editors,

Nia Clark, St. Antony’s College
Eirik Kvindesland, Balliol College
Zein Nasser, Mansfield College

Contributing Editors

Frederike Brockhoven, Thomas Coyne, Mazen Loan, Gilang Lukman, Nadine Lutzelschwab, Mathew Madain, Michael Memari, and Piotr Schulkes.


Shaykhs and tribal entrepreneurs: Tribal hierarchies, governmental development policies, and the struggle over representation in Petra’s tourism economy
Nicolas Reeves

Remembered One Hundred Years Later: Al-Salt, Transjordan, and the First World War
Mathew Madain

#Masaktach: Social Media and Sexual Violence Against Women in Morocco
Ella Williams


The JCPOA is dead, long live the JCPOA: Understanding Iranian foreign policy thinking
Mahshad Badii

Policy Implications of Alternate Medical and Nursing Education in northwest Syria
Adrienne Fricke, Valerie Dobiesz, Rahaf Safi, Bharathi Radhakrishnan, Timothy Erickson and Phuong Pham

Teacher identity formation in the Arab region: A key to renewal
Amin Marei

Policy Implications of Alternate Medical and Nursing Education in northwest Syria

by Adrienne Fricke, Valerie Dobiesz, Rahaf Safi, Bharathi Radhakrishnan, Timothy Erickson and Phuong Pham*

Abstract: Political identity in armed conflict can significantly impact access to basic state services. In Syria, access to higher education has been restricted, denied, or, in some cases, resulted in physical danger for individuals criticizing the regime and for those suspected of disloyalty. Journalists and NGOs have documented how, since 2011, the state conferred opposition identity on healthcare workers providing patient services to injured civilian protestors. Effectively, the provision of medical services has become “militarized.” In 2019, researchers from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) conducted qualitative interviews with health educators, administrators, and students in northwest Syria and observed a trend of reports documenting restricted access to official medical and nursing programs due to political identity. Facing a shortage of healthcare providers in opposition areas, educators developed alternate teaching institutions for medical and nursing students. These efforts, unrecognized by the state, directly align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education,” even in war-affected settings, with policy implications for the international community.


Mass peaceful demonstrations demanding political change in Syria began in March 2011. Syria’s President, Bashar Al-Assad, rapidly employed the political identity of protestors to justify violence against them. The regime created a strict binary identity: those who are “with the regime” and were unharmed by state violence, and those who “oppose the regime” and were targeted. As discussed below, in time this binary became conflated with religious identity. Eight years later, multiple competing foreign entities have entered the conflict, reinforcing this polarization in a complex narrative that lies outside the scope of this brief but merits further scholarly attention.

Sustained fighting has led to the displacement of over half of the pre-war population of twenty-two million. Approximately six million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries, while a similar number are displaced internally throughout Syria.[1] In this context, the regime’s well-documented attack on healthcare facilities and personnel has deeply impacted civilian populations, particularly in opposition-held areas.[2]

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) study, in which researchers conducted qualitative interviews with health educators, administrators, and students in northwest Syria, was designed to collect information about the needs, priorities, challenges, and successes of educational initiatives created in response to conflict conditions. Respondent groups included students, educators, and administrators at alternative medical and nursing institutions. Programmesrepresented include the Free Aleppo University (FAU); FAU’s nursing affiliate, the Omar Ibn Abdelaziz Nursing Program; and the Syrian Board of Medical Specialties (SBOMS) residency programme.  A bilingual member of the interdisciplinary team at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) conducted remote interviews in Syrian Arabic with respondents in northwest Syria using a survey to assess the impact of war on healthcare education in April and May 2019.[3] The purposive sample included respondents in opposition-held territory in Idlib and Aleppo because these areas sustained heavy aerial bombardment.

The central research question of this study is how conflict affects the teaching and learning of medicine and nursing. The findings indicate that two primary factors influenced access to official health education programmes, in addition to triggering state violence in the form of beatings, detention, and torture. The first was whether the respondents’ chose to identify as protesters; the second was the nearly automatic imposition of an anti-regime identity by the regime on healthcare workers based on their status as providers, and their real or perceived involvement in treating opposition members. Consequently, Syrian medical and nursing personnel residing outside of regime-held areas created an alternative medical and nursing education system to provide opportunities for young people to become healthcare providers. These findings demonstrate the potential policy impact of political identity on access to higher education, and the attendant effect on access to medical services in contravention of United Nations (UN) mandates.

Political Identities and the Syrian Context

As identity scholar Christopher Phillips has detailed, academic debate rages over the nature of political identity in the Middle East.[4] He notes that while the conflict in Syria is commonly described as sectarian, references to sect by all parties to the conflict have developed in a complex political, social, economic, and ethnic context.[5] He outlines how religious “sub-state” identities developed over time in parallel with the Syrian national discourse, noting that “[s]ectarianism has been deliberately and subconsciously encouraged by elites as a ruling strategy… alongside a successful attempt to promote a sense of Syrian national identity.”[6]  Phillips argues that structural shifts, such as the collapse of the regime in certain areas, allowed a variety of political responses by local elites, with some embracing an inclusive Syrian national identity and others employing an ethnic or sectarian discourse. He therefore asserts that the conflict is only “semi-sectarian” because of “multiple other fault lines of contention, notably class, ideology and… sub-state ties.”[7] The findings from this study suggest that an additional ‘fault line of contention’ applies: the status of being a healthcare provider or medical/nursing student, as discussed below.

Access to Higher Education in Syria: The Role of Identity

In wartime Syria, the political binary of being either anti- or pro-regime can impact survival, with populations in opposition-held areas subject to airstrikes and sieges. However, residing in such areas does not always correlate to political affiliation. Regime-area critics faced with the decision of security or liberty may feel forced to live in regime-held areas to protect their families. Native residents of besieged Aleppo and Idlib may not have professed loyalty to either side, but were caught in geographic polarization. The imposition of political identity on the basis of geography falsely assumes equal opportunity of choice.

“I could not leave the hospital because it would be looted, but if I stayed in it the regime would consider me an enemy. I decided to stay in the hospital to take care of it and its machines and the operations. The staff who stayed with me, we stayed together. All of us were seen as enemies. We could no longer visit our families” (SYNU01, Male, Nursing Educator).

Moreover, when students were displaced by violence to opposition-held areas, they lost access to regime-controlled institutions. Students also described how previous political protest restricted their access to education:

“[W]e were a part of the revolution, so it is not possible for us to go back to the regime even though we were the lowest resisters” (SYME12, Female, Medical Student).

In response to the provider gap, Aleppo University faculty and administrators critical of the regime founded the Free Aleppo University (FAU). FAU “started [as a result of] the number of students displaced to a certain area because of their opposition to the regime,” including “students in their first and second year of medical school, [and] some who just graduated high school” (SYME06, Male, Educator). A student explained, “[W]hen I was studying the baccalaureate [the final high school examination], there were no universities, so when [the FAU] opened [in the opposition-held area], it was a window of hope for a lot of students – not just me” (SYME12, Female, Student).

Political identity also foreclosed opportunities for medical residents – graduates of medical schools hoping to specialize – in much-needed areas, notably in trauma surgery and obstetrics and gynaecology. Consequently, “a large number of doctors [were prevented] from specializing in residency programs. It is because of [fear of] arrest…. [M]ost residents moved from accredited hospitals in regime-controlled areas to continue their training in field hospitals that are not accredited” (SYME04, Male, Faculty).  A resident indicated that “Before the conflict… we were all enrolled in [official] programs… the regime chasing us required us to go to areas that did not have programs. These programs were established because we were no longer able to access education [in] regime-controlled areas” (SYME17, Male, Resident).

Some prospective students reportedly moved to regime-controlled areas because they were unsure of the quality of the FAU program. One student explained, “[T]his was still a new program, and they believed it would not be able to provide the necessary medical education” (SYME 02, Male, Medical Student). This indicates that some individuals, whose identities were presumably not clearly known to regime agents, retained physical and academic mobility. Accreditation, or government recognition of an institution’s legal authority to grant degrees, is extended to regime-area programmes. Enrolment in accredited programs in regime territory was functionally impossible, however, where intelligence actors knew or believed medical students and residents had anti-regime affiliations. This group risked arbitrary arrest and forced disappearances, tactics commonly employed by the regime against critics and healthcare workers, alike.

Healthcare facilities and healthcare providers have been directly targeted; observers have documented at least 583 attacks on health facilities since 2011.[8]  An administrator explained that “the hospital might at any point be targeted through airstrikes or destruction.” (SYME04, Male). Critically, the Syrian government considers healthcare workers providing patient services to injured civilian protestors, including medical and nursing faculty and students, “terrorists.”[9]  When medical residents treat patients who are anti-regime, their individual political identity is reduced to that of their patient. “When I was working on my residency [in] regime areas, I was filled with fear from the possibility of being arrested because I was treating protesters, so I was a target” (SYME17, Male, Resident). In this way, providing care in a neutral and unbiased manner results in the assignment of an anti-regime identity, and the consequences this may entail.


Collective and individual political identity can impact access to key services in armed conflict settings, as in Syria. While much analysis of Syria focuses on sectarian dimensions of political identity, a focus on the geographic and ideological dimensions of identity is necessary to inform robust policy decisions. HHI’s study finds that medical and nursing students who had taken part in the peaceful opposition to the regime, as well as those residing in opposition-held areas, or treating patients deemed to be anti-regime, faced physical insecurity and other barriers to accessing higher education, particularly in opposition-held areas.[10]

Efforts in northwest Syria to promote equal access to medical and nursing education demonstrate that local actors can develop programmes aligned with the aims embodied in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The fourth goal (SDG 4) is particularly relevant to the findings of this study: “[e]nsure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” A critical target to achieve this broader goal is to “ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university” (SDG Target 4.3).[11] Policymakers should explore practical aspects of political identity to understand how to promote access to higher education in medicine and nursing during conflict.

The findings from this study have greater implications for the Middle East and the international community as regards access to education in conflict-affected settings. Discussions about implementation of the SDGs have been widespread since the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, and the international community is increasingly aware of higher education’s value in promoting long-term positive outcomes for vulnerable populations. Local educators’ endeavours to provide equal access to medical and nursing education, and the role identity plays in determining access, merit further study by humanitarian actors, including UN partners, donors, and governments.


*Adrienne Fricke is a visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health and Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Valerie Dobiesz is a Core Faculty Member of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Bringham and Women’s Hospital.

Rahaf Safi is reading for a Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Bharathi Radhakrishnan is a Post-Doctoral Student at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Timothy Erickson is a Core Faculty Member of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Bringham and Women’s Hospital.

Phuong Pham is an Assistant at the Department of Global Health and Population and Harvard School of Public Health and Director of Evaluation and Implementation Science at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.


[1] UNHCR and the Government of Turkey, “Syria Regional Refugee Response,” Operational Portal Refugee Situations, 2019, https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria, retrieved November 21, 2019; Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, “Syria,” Country Information, 2019, http://www.internal-displacement.org/countries/syria, retrieved November 21, 2019.

[2] Physicians for Human Rights, “The Syrian Conflict: Eight Years of Devastation and Destruction of the Health System,” March 12, 2019, https://phr.org/our- work/resources/the-syrian-conflict-eight-years-of-devastation-and destruction-of-the- health-system/, retrieved November 21, 2019.

[3] Since December 1, 2019, the Syrian government has pursued an offensive in northwest Syria, resulting in the displacement of more than 900,000 people according to UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen. See “Briefing to the Security Council by UN Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen,” February 19, 2020, https://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/2929AC05879D40A3C1258513006157C4?OpenDocument.The UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has noted that violence in northwest Syria has severely damaged civilian targets including health facilities, many of which have been closed. See “Statement on Northwest Syria,” February 17, 2020, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Statement%20on%20Northwest%20Syria.pdf.)

[4] Christopher Phillips, “Sectarianism and conflict in Syria,” Third World Quarterly 36 (2015):357-76.

[5] Ibid, 371.

[6] Ibid, 362.

[7] Phillips, “Sectarianism and conflict in Syria,” 357.

[8] Physicians for Human Rights, “Illegal Attacks on Health Care in Syria,” http://syriamap.phr.org/#/en.

[9] Security forces tortured and killed medical students who had tried to smuggle painkillers through a checkpoint. The security forces then asked their fellow students to collect their corpses, which had holes in their foreheads, tongues and eyes “from a power drill.” Jack Ewing and Karam Shoumali, “Where Doctors are Criminals,” New York Times, December 21, 2019. Available athttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/20/world/middleeast/syria-medical-criminalization.html, retrieved February 20, 2020. See also Physicians for Human Rights, “’My Only Crime Was That I Was a Doctor’, How the Syrian Government Targets Health Workers for Arrest, Detention, and Torture,” December 4, 2019. Available at https://phr.org/our-work/resources/my-only-crime-was-that-i-was-a-doctor/, retrieved 20 February 2020.

[10] The Assad regime is not alone in employing this tactic; respondents reported that local militias allied with the extremist political groups who seized power in Idlib in January 2019 have restricted university access where students do not profess loyalty.

[11] United Nations, “Sustainable Development Goal 4,” Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform, 2019, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg4, retrieved 13 November 2019.

Teacher identity formation in the Arab region: A key to renewal

by Amin Marei* and Dr. Dan Wagner**

Abstract: According to the United Nations, the publication of six Arab Human Development Reports between 2002 and 2016 has become a “milestone” for guiding reform policies in the Arab region. These flagship reports provide recommendations for addressing the enormous challenges faced by Arab countries in the twenty-first century. In this paper, we investigate how human development policies were considered in these Arab regional reports, including various features of teachers’ professional identity in the public education system. Teacher identity formation has been defined as the “set of reifying, significant, and endorsable narratives that may self-define a teacher.” The impact of teacher identity formation has implications not only for one of the largest professions in the Middle East but also for the millions of students that teachers reach daily.

Historical perspectives

Throughout the history of the Arab region, teachers have played a pivotal role in advancing social change through education.[1] Consequently, teachers have consistently tried to navigate demanding sociocultural expectations related to their roles and responsibilities. These expectations, which were, and are, often conflicting, have significantly influenced teachers’ professional identities. Faced by a taxing school climate, often without the necessary incentives and support, many teachers have felt “oppressed” by traditional educational and social structures. Perhaps, as a result, many of these teachers prefer the convenience or comfort of classical teaching methods that adhere to a “banking education” pedagogy.[2] Following what might be called a traditional pedagogical method, many teachers see student minds as blank slates that they could mould and control through “rote” pedagogy.[3]

Encouraged by cultural norms that promote student obedience and silence, teachers following this system can be seen as “oppressors” of their students.[4] This duality in teachers’ professional identities corresponds to what Freire originally defined as the “oppressor-oppressed contradiction.”[5] In this contradiction, teachers–oppressed by the system–are themselves oppressing their students, thus becoming, simultaneously, both oppressors and oppressed. Some researchers have advocated for the critical examination of this contradiction in the teaching profession in order to promote social justice.[6]

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the Arab region has experienced significant economic, social, and political challenges—as widely reported in the press. These developments have exacerbated teachers’ working conditions, employment instability, and more while at the same time elevating the role of teachers as knowledge facilitators and gatekeepers of economic success.[7] Ultimately, these circumstances have considerably influenced policies targeting teachers. To understand how these policies framed and addressed the various features of teachers’ professional identities in the public education system, we closely examined  the Arab Human Development Reports (AHDRs), an influential source of Arab education policy.[8] The AHDRs consist of six major reports published by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) between 2002 and 2016 and provide policy recommendations for addressing multiple challenges confronting Arab countries in the twenty-first century.[9] In the AHDRs, there are diverse–and at times conflicting–policy narratives related to teachers’ professional identities, as discussed below.

Teacher identity formation

A teacher’s professional identity may be thought of as being continuously constructed and reconstructed through interactions with social actors (e.g., students and administrators), structures, and influential narratives.[10] n early AHDR, states “teachers [are] ‘oppressors’ of their pupils, [and] are, in turn, subject to oppression by the educational administration.”[11] Even though this quote highlights the “oppressor-oppressed contradiction,” it is much less clear how the contradiction mentioned in the AHDRs occurs or how it should be resolved. Furthermore, it demonstrates a failure to recognize teachers’ agency, especially as they  face adverse working conditions. Finally, the AHDRs frame teachers as unaware or passive oppressors who  unconsciously subjugate their students and nurture them to become potential future oppressors.

The AHDR policy recommendations, representing a top-down approach, portray teachers as largely passive and unqualified, rather than recognizing their knowledge and ability to influence change. At the same time, even though the policies in the AHDRs advocate for a “radical change” in the teaching profession that involves assigning teachers with more responsibilities, the policies themselves seem to lack a coherent plan to  foster knowledge dissemination and critical thinking skills. In other words, the AHDRs offer generic professional development policies that assume the presence of a homogenous body of teachers across the Arab region.

Yet, the Arab region spans twenty-two states with divergent histories, resources, languages, and sociocultural conditions, and thus teachers across the region come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The AHDR assumptions concerning the homogeneity of teachers’ professional identities and their respective resources operate as a structural constraint on the adaptation of teachers to local contexts, thus overburdening them with responsibilities without offering the necessary means for success. A teacher’s identity serves as a fundamental building block of their profession,[12] within which there exists three broad and significant variations: ethnolinguistic background, gender, and religion.[13] We turn to each of these now.

Ethnolinguistic diversity has influenced teachers’ identities in the Arab region. This, in turn, influences their practices and relationships with their students. For example, Iraqi and Syrian teachers belonging to the Kurdish ethnic minority and living outside of Kurd-dominated areas often experience structural and social discriminatory practices.[14] These practices require instructors to teach in Modern Standard Arabic, adopt a curriculum that may exclude their own identity, and deal with potentially antagonistic student perceptions. Contemporary ethnic conflicts happening in Arab countries, such as Iraq and Syria, have displaced millions of citizens, exacerbating the ethnolinguistic challenges endured (and perhaps also fostered) by teachers. In Morocco, there is a serious issue of teaching in Modern Standard Arabic, since many of the students only speak Moroccan dialect or Amazigh.[15] Many of these teachers are tasked with the daunting responsibility of educating students with different and sometimes opposing identities while negotiating their own ethnolinguistic identity, often with little or no institutional support.

In terms of gender, sociocultural expectations significantly influence perceptions of teachers and their ability to perform their role effectively. For example, in some Arab nations, teaching is increasingly being perceived as a predominantly female job, especially for  early grade levels.[16] This perception influences the professional and personal identities of male and female teachers and their ability to support student achievement. In Oman, many males refuse to work as teachers because it is not a “socially prestigious career.”[17] This scarcity of Omani male teachers poses limitations on the learning experience of male students who may not feel comfortable in an environment where they do not feel represented. Overall, the gender gap in educational equity in many Arab countries may be reinforced by the differences in how females and males perceive and act in their roles as teachers.[18]

Religion is a central pillar for most communities in the Arab region. Consequently, teachers’ religious beliefs deeply influence their worldviews and professional identities. As a result, teachers’ religiosity can impact teachers’ motivation, instructional practices, and interactions with the community.[19] Religion may also shape socio-cultural perceptions of teachers’ identities in a way that limits their ability to teach certain subjects. As the most followed religion in the Arab region, Islam strongly influences teachers’ views. For example, one study revealed how Egyptian science teachers preferred religious over scientific explanations when both views conflicted.[20] This type of instructional decision-making can have profound repercussions, including the way that students’ do or do not understand the compatibility of science and religion.

Even though the AHDRs mention of communal engagement iss imperative to the success of its policy recommendations concerning teachers, they tend to focus on the development of human (economic) capital without addressing the role of teachers’ social and cultural capital in advancing these same policies.[21] In a region that is heavily dominated by a collectivist culture, such policies appear to have missed an influential component of teachers’ professional identities – namely their social capital. In this regard, a study of Emirati special education teachers provided evidence that teachers with consistent social support experienced less burnout and greater achievement.[22] Based on this and similar studies, it is essential for teacher education policies to include additional ways in which a collectivist orientation can contribute to greater teacher resilience in the contested space of schooling.[23]


In a region where more than 200 million citizens have yet to reach the age of thirty and constitute sixty percent of the population, teachers necessarily can and will play an integral role in shaping the educational and economic futures of the Arab region.[24] Accordingly, understanding the formation of teachers’ professional identities is imperative for devising policies and practices that aim to advance the teaching profession and the prospects of future generations of students. When the initial AHDR was published in 2002, it was one of the first reports to suggest reviewing the United Nations Human Development Index by including more indicators on education and knowledge acquisition.[25] The six AHDRs have provoked important public and policy debates about education across the region over nearly two decades.[26]

Future educational policy recommendations should acknowledge the prominence of teachers as drivers of progress. Such recommendations for teachers must take into account the multiple professional identities in a diverse region, including language, gender, and religion, at a minimum. One way to do this is  to include teachers’ voices in professional development policies. Top-down approaches are insufficient. Further, the negative ramifications of leaving the “oppressor-oppressed contradiction” unresolved remains a serious source of tension in the region. The teaching profession, and its future, will necessarily be a key component of any renewal in the Middle East in the years to come.

*Amin Marei completed his M.Ed. in Education in 2017 from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, with a focus on equity in educational technology. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education, Culture, and Society at The University of Pennsylvania. Amin’s research explores the role of teachers’ professional learning communities and technology in influencing student learning in low-income and marginalized settings in the Middle East.

**Dr. Dan Wagner is a Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy, Director of the International Literacy Institute (ILI), Founding Director of the National Center on Adult Literacy (NCAL),and Director of Penn GSE’s International Educational Development Program (IEDP). Dr. Wagner received his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Michigan, was a two-year postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, a Visiting Fellow at the International Institute of Education Planning in Paris, a Visiting Professor at the University of Geneva, and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Paris.


[1] United Nations Development Programme and Arab Human Fund for Economic and Social Development, Arab Human Development Report: Towards Freedom in the Arab World (New York: United Nations Publication, 2004), 147.

[2] Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1970), 72.

[3] Daniel A. Wagner, Learning as Development: Rethinking International Education in a Changing World (New York: Routledge, 2018); Daniel A. Wagner, Rediscovering “rote”:  Some Cognitive and Pedagogical Preliminaries (New York: Plenum, 1983), 179-190.

[4] Sadegh Pordanjani and Laode Guntur, “Investigating the Implementation of Critical Literacy Approach in the Middle-East Education Contexts,” ELS Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities 2, no. 3 (2019); 410-418.

[5] Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1-43.

[6] Kevin K. Kumashiro, Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning toward Social Justice (New York: Routledge, 2015).

[7] William A. Rugh, “Arab education: Tradition, growth and reform,” The Middle East Journal (2002); 396-414; Muhammad Faour and Marwan Muasher, Education for Citizenship in the Arab world: Key to the Future (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011); Emma Dorn et al., Drivers of Student Performance: Middle East and North Africa Insights (Dubai: McKinsey & Company Publication, 2017), 8-55.

[8] United Nations Development Programme and Arab Human Fund for Economic and Social Development, Arab Human Development Report: Building a Knowledge Society (New York: United Nations Publication, 2003), 1-13; Randall Kuhn, “On the Role of Human Development in the Arab Spring,” Population and Development Review 38, no. 4 (2012); 649-683.

[9] “Impact of the Arab Human Development Reports.”

[10] Douwe Beijaard, Paulien C. Meijer, and Nico Verloop. “Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity,” Teaching and Teacher Education 20, no. 2 (2004); 107-128.

[11] UNDP, AHDRs: Towards Freedom, 2004.

[12] Beijaard et al., “Reconsidering,” 107-128.

[13] Khaled Asbah, Muhammed Abu Nasra, and Khawla Abu-Baker. “Gender perceptions of male and female teachers in the Arab education system in Israel,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 10, no. 3 (2014); 109-124.

[14]Abdulkafi Albirini, Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics: Diglossia, Variation, Codeswitching, Attitudes and Identity (New York: Routledge, 2016), 39-43.

[15] Daniel A.Wagner,  Literacy, Culture and Development: Becoming Literate in Morocco (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

[16] Asbah, “Gender perceptions,” 109-114; World Bank, “Primary education, teachers (% female),” accessed November 1, 2019, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.PRM.TCHR.FE.ZS.

[17]  Ali S. Al-Issa, and Ali H. Al-Bulushi. “English Language Teaching Reform in Sultanate of Oman: The case of theory and practice disparity.” Educational Research for Policy and Practice 11, no. 2 (2012); 141-176.

[18] Elbadawy, Asmaa, Dennis Ahlburg, Deborah Levison, and R. Assaad. “Private and Group Tutoring in Egypt: Where is the Gender Inequality?” IDEAS Working Paper Series from RePEc, 2007.; Audrey Osler, and Chalank Yahya, “Challenges and Complexity in Human Rights Education: Teachers’ Understandings of Democratic Participation and Gender Equity in Postconflict Kurdistan-Iraq.” Education Inquiry 4, no. 1 (2013); 189-210.

[19] Kimberly R. White, “Connecting Religion and Teacher Identity: The Unexplored Relationship between Teachers and Religion in Public Schools,” Teaching and Teacher Education 25 (2009); 857-866.

[20] Nasser Mansour, “Science Teachers’ Views of Science and Religion vs. the Islamic Perspective: Conflicting or Compatible?” Science Education 95, no. 2 (2011); 281-309.

[21] UNDP, AHDR: Creating Opportunities, 18.

[22] Osamah Bataineh and Ahmed Alsagheer, “An Investigation of Social Support and Burnout among Special Education Teachers in the United Arab Emirates,” International Journal of Special Education 27, no. 2 (2012); 5-13.

[23] RosieLe Cornu, “Building Resilience in Pre-Service Teachers,” Teacher and Teacher Education 25, no. 5 (2009);717:723.

[24] United Nations Development Programme, Arab Human Development Report: Towards Freedom in the Arab World (New York: United Nations Publication, 2016), 59.

[25] UNDP, AHDR: Creating Opportunities, 15-33.

[26] Kuhn, “On the Role,” 649-683.