Posted September 20, 2022

Collaborating on an international level

Trip to Middle East provides Temple University President Jason Wingard and an academic delegation with the opportunity to further explore new and existing research and academic exchange opportunities with international university partners.

Elham Kateeb pictured.
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Elham Kateeb, dean of scientific research and associate professor of Dental Public Health at Al-Quds University’s College of Dentistry, recently visited the Kornberg School of Dentistry to discuss a tobacco cessation workshop that she has led in her native country.

More than 50 students and faculty members at Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry look on as Elham Kateeb, dean of scientific research and associate professor of Dental Public Health at Al-Quds University’s College of Dentistry, discusses a tobacco cessation workshop that she has led in her native country. 

“Tobacco use is a very big problem in my country, and what makes this program special is that it can be used across all medical specialties,” Kateeb said. “We plan to bring this workshop here to Temple.” 

Kateeb is visiting the university as part of a new partnership between Temple and Al-Quds. It’s a partnership that was just strengthened when Temple University President Jason Wingard and an academic delegation visited Al-Quds University leadership during an academic journey to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan in June. 

“This is the first activity in this new collaboration, and it’s starting with us having students (from Al-Quds) come and visit Temple. We discussed projects that we will work on with the dental school, like the refugee oral health and the tobacco cessation projects. I was also introduced this morning to the different research areas here at Temple, which I will now carry back to Al-Quds to discuss how we can build even more collaboration,” Kateeb said. “We expect Temple also to help us by organizing dental missions and implementing interventions here in the U.S. This is a big area where both schools are very interested.” 

The partnership officially began several years ago when the Kornberg School of Dentistry signed agreements with both Al-Quds University and Hadassah Hebrew University in an effort to bring students and faculty together on campus. Temple continues to maintain and bolster its relationship with both universities, with the recent visit from Kateeb serving as the latest example of this.   

The impetus for this visit came following a meeting between Wingard and Imad Abu Kishek, president of Al-Quds University. As part of the collaboration, the two schools agreed to launch a student and academic exchange between their dental schools, which officially began with Kateeb’s visit. President Wingard and President Abu Kishek also discussed further ways to expand the partnership, stressing the importance of joint cooperation in the fields of academic exploration and research while also brainstorming ways in which they can here prepare students for the ever-evolving workplace. 

The new exchange program is one of many joint research and academic opportunities that emerged from the recent trip to the Middle East. In addition to visiting Al-Quds’ leadership in Ramallah, the delegation traveled to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), located in Be’er Sheva; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, located in Jerusalem; and Bar Ilan University, located in Tel Aviv. 

“One of our strategic pillars is community engagement, and that was one of the drivers behind making this trip,” Wingard said. “Community engagement means engaging with our North Philadelphia neighbors and business and industry partners, here locally, but it also means collaborating with international partner universities such as Al-Quds. By working together, we can identify new best practices, helping to create additional pathways to careers while also driving innovation and fostering new entrepreneurship and research.” 

Promoting the value of the tobacco cessation workshop was one Kateeb’s primary focuses during her recent visit to Temple. More than 25% of Palestinian men smoke some form of tobacco, and the workshop has been key in working to reverse that trend. In the United States, 1 in 20 Americans reportedly vape, and this is an area where Kateeb believes the tobacco cessation workshop could be particularly effective. 

During her recent visit, Kateeb also brought with her three students from Al-Quds University’s College of Dentistry. That is one of the additional benefits that come from international academic collaborations like this. 

“Exchanges like this are the window for those students to be opened up to the world,” Kateeb said. “When they come here, they find students from different backgrounds and different nationalities, and they can’t find that in Palestinian territories. This is the way for our students to be exposed to different cultures, and we are really excited for this collaboration because 90% of all of our collaborations are with European countries and with European universities. That is what makes this so unique.” 

Building new partnerships and strengthening existing ones

During the trip, Wingard and the academic delegation also met with Asher Cohen, president of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his colleagues. The Temple group was introduced to the concept of “start-up nation,” and learned about Hebrew University’s collaboration with both Microsoft and Apple on significant projects, as well as the recent purchase by Intel of the Mobileye invention that netted Hebrew University $288,000,000. 

Hebrew University is another institution that will soon be entering into a formal partnership with Temple. On Aug. 9, Avi Zini, dean of the faculty of dental medicine at The Hebrew University, visited the Kornberg School of Dentistry and presented to students and faculty and also signed a collaborative agreement between the two schools. 

The trip overseas also provided Temple with an opportunity to revisit its existing collaborations, like the one it holds with Ben-Gurion. In 2017, the two institutions signed a dual PhD program agreement, and they have also developed a student exchange program. 

Such collaborations are but one aspect of Temple’s truly global reach. Spread on three continents, Temple has international campuses in Rome and in Tokyo, as well as degree-granting programs in China, Colombia and Jamaica. Established in 1966, Temple Rome is among the first American campuses abroad and has been welcoming students from Temple and partner institutions in a wide -range of disciplines.  

“Temple is committed to leveraging its global reach and international presence to serve students from across the world and the U.S. Educating students with a global mindset, multi-cultural competencies, and to be internationally competitive is among our highest priorities,” said Emilia Zankina, dean of Temple Rome and interim vice provost for global engagement. 

Exchange programs also continue to become more common thanks to the university’s presence in Japan. Just this past March, Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) and Meiji University agreed to enhance their student exchange program starting this August to enable more students to flow between their respective campuses. Moreover, Meiji University President Kosaku Dairokuno visited the Main Campus on Aug. 31 to discuss strengthening student mobility between the schools and to explore the use of online programs, particularly in international exchange during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Temple University’s commitment to international education has been headlined by its full-scale campus in Japan,” said Matthew J. Wilson, head of TUJ. “Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Japan campus draws upon its global orientation, multicultural environment, and dynamic location in the heart of Tokyo to equip hundreds of today’s students for tomorrow’s workplace. Collaborating with Meiji University, Showa Women’s University, and other academic partners, allows us to provide an immersive international education and cross-cultural experience through joint programs, student exchanges, and even dual degrees.”