Issue 3 – January 2022

A publication of the METO University Network


by Arwa Syed

Happy New Year, and welcome back to the third issue of The Bright Side! Like always, we aim to bring you the most positive stories from the Middle East and North Africa region, stepping back from stories of political turmoil and social unrest in mass media and we’ll bring you even more positive developments in the region this year, from conflict resolution to food and water security, and beyond. (continued)

Disarmament and conflict resolution

Photo: Saudi Press Agency

[Yemen] Saudi project clears 303k Houthi mines in Yemen. The Saudi government has deactivated more than 303,000 landmines in Yemen laid by Houthi militia, to clear routes for much-needed humanitarian aid aimed at supporting that country’s embattled citizens. (UAE Daily Post)

Photo: Algerian News Agency

[Algeria] Algeria facilitates the peace process in neighbouring Mali. Algeria plays an important role in the peace and reconciliation process in Mali, in particular by ensuring that Mali’s unity and territorial integrity are preserved so that the brotherly Malian people can regain the conditions for lasting stability and peace. (Algérie Press Service – article in French)


[Saudi Arabia] Saudi mother-of-six finds sweet success with her ‘kingdom of bees’. “A female beekeeper in Saudi Arabia is a rarity, one of the factors that helped Al-Shimmari find business success in the area where she lives on the outskirts of the city of Hail” (Arab News)


[Israel] Israel to allow surrogacy for same-sex couples. “In February 2020 it was ruled that excluding same-sex couples was illegal and the Israeli parliament was given until September to create a new law.” (Attitude Magazine)

Migration & Refugees

[Lebanon] UN launches $1.6bn appeal to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. “The number of Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria to Lebanon had decreased from more than 40,000 to 18,000, according to a census by the Palestine Liberation Organization.” (Arab News)

[Syria] Iran urges resolving refugee, sanctions issues to help Syria out of crisis. “Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Sunday called for resolving the refugee issues and anti-Syrian embargoes as means to help settle Syria’s crisis, according to Iran’s Foreign Ministry.” (ahramonline)


Photo: Daily News Egypt

[Egypt] Health Ministry to develop electronic healthcare platform for people with special needs. “The electronic system for people with special needs comes within the integrated service cards system, which includes updating the website, expanding the medical committees, and the governance it’s work mechanisms, in a way that contributes to ensuring that services reach those who deserve it.” (Daily News Egypt)


Photo: Oman Daily Observer

[Oman] The Sultanate of Oman celebrates Environment Day. “Approximately 52 projects and initiatives were implemented in various environmental sectors” (Oman Daily Observer)

[Morocco] Morocco’s Al Boraq Trains To Start Using Clean Energy. “Morocco’s National Railways Office (ONCF) has announced that its Al Boraq lines of high speed trains will start using renewable energy, as part of the ONCF’s plan to transition to cleaner energy sources.” (Morocco World News)

Food and Water Security


[Egypt] Egypt to become largest country in the world in water reuse: ministry. “High salinity wastewater has been transformed from a problem into an opportunity for development and to meet the growing needs.” (Egypt Independent)

[Saudi Arabia] With an eye on future food challenges, KSA invests millions in vertical farming. “The global market for vertical farming is rapidly growing, especially in some developed countries with high population densities.” (Arab News)


Photo: SATBA

[Iran] Iran brings 150MW solar cell factory online. “Last week saw the opening of a 150MW silicon cell production line close to the city of Khomeini in western Iran.” (pv magazine)

[Saudi Arabia] Saudi Arabia plans to generate over 15,000GW/h from renewables by 2024. “The projects, to be implemented under the National Renewable Energy Program, aim to provide 7,870 job opportunities by the end of 2024. (Arab News)


Photo: Baladi News

[Syria] Expected Increase in Northern Aleppo Teachers Salaries to End Strikes. “Authorities in Syrian opposition-controlled areas of rural Aleppo revealed their intention to increase the salaries of teachers by 40%, after a strike.” (The Syrian Observer)


Photo: Saudi Ministry of Culture

[Saudi Arabia] Diriyah in Saudi Arabia named Capital of Arab Culture for 2030. “Revered as the birthplace of the Kingdom, it was chosen ‘in recognition of its centuries-old history and eternal cultural significance’” (Arab News)


Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

[Israel] Gold Rings, Ancient Coins and Early Christian Art Found in Shipwrecks Off Israel’s Coast. “Israel Antiquities Authority discovered the two shipwrecks, separated by nearly 1,000 years, off the coast of Caesarea (Haaretz)

Photo: ticiaverveer/Twitter

[Oman] Archaeologists discover 4,000-year-old stone board game. “The joint Polish-Omani team found the rare item at the site of an ancient settlement in the sultanate’s Qumayrah Valley.” (Middle East Monitor)

Previous issues

Our Team

This bulletin is bought to you by the following members of the METO University Network:

Giada del Russo (Coordinator & Environment)
Soukaina El anaoui (Women & Children)
Lara Rendl (Disarmament and Conflict Resolution)
Aayushi Sharma (Migrations)
Britt Gronemeyer (Healthcare)

Arwa Syed (Food & Water Security)
Tamyra Selvarajan (Energy)
Hilda Ariastuti (Archaeology)

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The articles selected for publication in this bulletin have been specially chosen to highlight the good work done every day across the region to improve the quality of life for citizens. It also highlights the advances in culture and the new archaelogical discoveries made, underlining that this region really has been a cradle of civilization for millenia.

The views expressed in the linked articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the Middle East Treaty Organization and their inclusion in our bulletin should not be interpreted in any way other than we think they’re interesting stories that should be more widely known. We will never intentionally include articles that promote or condone violence and discrimination in any form.

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