UME was founded in 1996 by a group of graduate students at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Boston University, Boston College and other universities in the Boston area, all of whom were originally from the Middle East or North Africa. Through the common search for knowledge, this unlikely group fostered lifelong friendships despite the walls and tensions between their communities of different national, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. From their discussions, they conceived the idea to establish open and accessible centers of higher learning devoted to critical thinking, cooperation, and cultural exchange within the MENA region and between the MENA region and the rest of the world.
UME’s first twenty years have been a period of intense work, analysis, and collaboration. Through a highly focused effort, we have developed an impressive track record—both qualitatively, in terms of empowering our program participants with the best educational tools, and quantitatively, in terms of our growing number of alumni. We have expanded our foundational programs, increased our number of applicants, heightened the selectivity of admissions, and set forth a new agenda for the future. Yet, there is so much more we can and hope to do.
To our alumni, our faculty, our staff, our committed Board of Directors and Advisors: we are asking you today for your full support. Together, we can give hope and knowledge to a new generation of young people. We can inspire hearts and minds worldwide with love of learning, the arts, friendship, and openness. Most of all, in contrast to rampant violence and thoughtlessness, we can raise a loud, brimming, convincing call for a better future. If you share this ambitious vision for the Middle East and the world, then join us today in making it a reality.
At UME, our academic planning is rigorous and our leadership sound. Our sights have never been higher. We are confident that, with your support, we will succeed in accomplishing our goals.