The Arab Network for Early Childhood Development held a workshop to initiate the “Arab Working Group for ECD Research” from May 26th to May 28th, 2023 in Amman, Jordan.
The workshop was attended by committee members, comprising a group of researchers from several Arab countries. From Jordan, participants included Dr. Asmaa AlKhatib – Project Manager and Regional Focal Point for Early Childhood Development and Early Childhood in Emergencies in the Middle East at Plan International; Dr. Fathi Lhmeideh – Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Hashemite University; May Sultan – Director of Childhood Affairs at the National Council for Family Affairs; and Dr. Ali Al-Aliemat – Professor at the Hashemite University. From Lebanon, Bochra Kaddoura, a consultant in early childhood issues and sustainable development goals; Dr. Hiam Lotfi – Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rafik Hariri University; Dr. Fadia Hoteit – Professor at the Lebanese University; Dr. Nael Alami – Head of the Center for Excellence in Research, Education, and Cultural Studies (CEREC), and Deputy Head of the Modern University for Business and Science (MUBS). From Egypt, Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Amara – a researcher at the Arab Council for Childhood and Development. From Palestine, Dr. Mohammed Matar – Researcher at the Palestinian Network for ECD; Dr. Elham Nasser – Senior Advisor on Education for Development at Creative Associates International. Dr. Bo’ad Khales – Dean of Hind Al-Husseini College at Al-Quds University; Dr. Ali Shaar – director of the Palestinian Institute for Childhood at An-Najah National University. From Morocco, Dr. Fatima Ez-Zahra Monsef – a senior researcher at the Moroccan Foundation for Early Education Promotion. From Tunisia – Dr. Nizar Fares, the General Coordinator at the Amen Childhood Network Tunisia.
The workshop was also attended by Giulia Barnhisel – Director of the Regional Fund for Early Childhood Development Network, and Eldin Bajrić – the fund’s coordinator. Dr. Gloria Abdo, who was the workshop facilitator, is an expert in team-building and leadership. Dr. Ghassan Issa, the General Coordinator of the ANECD and the network team in Beirut were present.
Dr. Joan Lombardi also participated in the workshop through a recorded speech followed by a discussion via Zoom. Dr. Lombardi is a visiting researcher at the Center for Early Childhood affiliated with the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. She also holds positions on the Executive Council for Early Childhood Development and the Board of the Global Child Fund, among others related to early childhood development. Her speech focused on global trends in ECD research and Climate Change. Other speakers at the workshop included Dr. Mohammed Matar, whose intervention focused on policy-oriented ECD research at the regional and global levels, and Dr. Ghassan Issa, who presented the Strategic Research Model alongside ECD research done in ANECD/ARC in addition to global partnerships and initiatives of the network.
After intensive and rich discussions, the group outlined future steps at the service of ECD research, including:
This workshop rounded off three virtual meetings of the research committee, during which it was agreed that the committee’s work falls within the following main axes: mapping previous ECD research, capacity building, advocacy and lobbying, and knowledge production.