American University of Beirut

Collaboration to enhance employability for youth in the region

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications,​

AUB held an online conference with the aim to facilitate a collective reflection on the role of institutions of higher education in relation to employability as well as partnership with regional employers to prepare students for future jobs. Addressing the job-skills mismatch in the MENA region, the conference was organized by the Office of the Provost at AUB, in partnership with Emerging, a human resource consultancy that works with organizations worldwide to enhance employability and an understanding of higher education markets.

The conference shed light on the role of higher education in boosting employability in the region and brought in the perspective of leading employers in the region. The conference also included an unprecedented presentation of the results and findings of this year's GEURS, which placed AUB once again among the top universities in the GEURS global ranking.

Bringing crossed perspectives from key employers, leading higher education institutions, and young professionals, the conference allowed for an exchange of experiences and expertise, and showcased employers' opinions on universities' employment performance and the way forward, with much-needed insights on bridging the job-skills mismatch in the region. It brought together representatives from MENA region universities ranked in the Global Employability University Ranking and Survey (GEURS), students, scholars, education specialists, NGOs and government entities related to education, recruitment organizations in the region, and education content creators and journalists.

“AUB prides itself in scoring at the top of employability indices in the region, and in being a competitive international player," said Dr. Fida Afiouni, associate provost and conference organizer. “The future focus of education and career development is learning to learn and adapting for the future. Reimagining the future of education and empowering youth by graduating highly attractive graduates to employers with relevant skills is the main driver for organizing this conference."

Dr. Afiouni spoke to us of the skill gaps in the workforce that are present and expected within a few years. The need to better understand and address the dynamics and challenges at play, she added, has been exacerbated globally by the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUB was the only Lebanese university to be ranked by this global ranking and survey and has maintained its position at the top of employability indices in the region and its edge as a competitive international player. The survey recognizes AUB this year for its international focus as well as digital performance. AUB was ranked first in the region and third worldwide for internationality, with Harvard University and the University of Cambridge ranking first and second consecutively. Previously, AUB was recognized for its mission for the advancement of knowledge through research and service to the peoples of the Middle East and beyond.

“As a university whose educational model is grounded in the liberal arts, AUB has set for itself an ambitious goal of preparing its students not only for the jobs that currently exist, but for those that have not yet been created," said Dr. Lina Choueiri, deputy provost. “The GEURS provides us with insights on future employment trends as well as employer expectations of university graduates. We hope that this conference will initiate a dialogue between employers and higher education professionals that we can build on to boost employability in our region."

Published by Emerging, in partnership with Times Higher Education, GEURS is the largest and longest running survey and ranking on employability. The survey exclusively collects the employer's point of view and links it to the market's needs and expectations, providing insights to higher education institutions for better and more relevant employability.

“Good employability scores are a natural result of AUB's conscious effort to graduate servant leaders, with relevant skills that are of use to their direct communities as well as the world beyond them," said AUB President Fadlo Khuri. “AUB's overall campus experience is designed to not only keep up with the fast-growing market and needs but also be a few steps ahead of the game through research and multidisciplinary critical thinking, as we anticipate inevitable change and best prepare for it." 


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