Issue 4 – February 2022

A publication of the METO University Network


by Britt Gronemeyer

Environmental progress has defined this last month in good news from the Middle East. Countries across the Middle East and North Africa have been making efforts towards combating climate change and investing in renewable energy, specifically the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Per usual, we are delighted to welcome you back to the fourth issue of The Bright Side as we delve into some positive news about developments in MENA. (continued…)

Disarmament and conflict resolution

Photo: US State Department

[Iran] Iran’s nuclear negotiator says deal “closer than ever”. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said Wednesday that Iran and relevant countries are “closer than ever” to reaching an agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal at the ongoing Vienna talks. (Xinhua Net)

Photo: OCHA / Philippe Kropf

[Yemen] UK hosts Yemen ‘peace’ meeting. The British government has hosted a meeting with senior officials from Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US to discuss ways to bring peace to Yemen, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has revealed. (Middle East Monitor)


Photo: FlyAkwa on wikimedia commons

[Saudi Arabia] Women apply in their thousands to drive trains in Saudi Arabia. Rail company advertised 30 positions and received 28,000 applications in kingdom where women couldn’t drive cars until 2018. (The Guardian)


[Region] UNRWA and UNICEF renew agreement to further support Palestine refugee children in the region. The two UN agencies renewed an agreement to extend support to Palestine refugee children, adolescents, and women in the State of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. (ReliefWeb)

Migration & Refugees

Syrian refugees in Jordan
Photo: UN Women

[Jordan] Jordan Issued Record Number of Work Permits for Syrian Refugees in 2021. Jordan issued 62,000 work permits to Syrian refugees in 2021, the highest annual number since it started to hand out the permits five years ago, the UNHCR said. (The New Arab)

Photo: GDN Online

[Bahrain] Winter relief for 100,000 refugees. The RHF will provide urgent relief aid that will cover the needs of more than 100,000 refugees during the winter months from January to June this year. (GDN Online)


Photo: HFCM Communicatie on wikimedia commons

[Region] Africa transitioning out of pandemic phase of COVID: WHO. The head of WHO Africa says the continent is transitioning to a phase of managing the virus in the long term. (Al Jazeera)



[Iraq] Olive farmers look to solar power for green energy. In Iraq, a number of farmers are turning from conventional fuels to the green energy produced by the sun, using solar panels to power their agricultural operations. (i24News)

Photo: Bahrain News Agency

[Bahrain] Bahrain launches first solar covered walkway. In a first for Bahrain, the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) has launched the Solar Energy Trees project. (Bahrain News Agency)

Food and Water Security

Photo:Government of Israel

[Israel & UAE] Israel and UAE join forces for a greener future. Companies, nonprofits, universities and youth cross borders to initiate collaborative projects in water, energy and natural resource management. (

Photo: Waleed Alzuhair on Flickr

[Egypt] Egypt studying seawater-desalination projects using renewable energy. Companies, nonprofits, universities and youth cross borders to initiate collaborative projects in water, energy and natural resource management. (Arab News)


Photo: Arab News

[Saudi Arabia & Tunisia] Saudi Arabia and Tunisia sign deal to develop renewable energy. The agreement includes cooperation in the fields of demand management for renewable energy, reliable and sustainable operating of energy systems, and standard indicators of energy consumption in the industrial sector. (Arab News)

Photo: UNFPA Sudan/Sufian Abdulmouty

[Sudan] Powering local Sudanese hospital with solar energy to boost maternal health care. UNFPA piloted a renewable energy project in Abu Jebiha, South Kordofan by partnering with Global Aid Hand to install a solar power system in Abu Jebiha Hospital. (Reliefweb)


Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank

[Morocco] Women students break their silence on ‘sex for grades’ scandal. Almost five years after lawmakers in Morocco first introduced a measure to prohibit violence against women, the policy is coming into effect. (Middle East Eye)

Photo: The National Library of Israel

[Israel] Arabic digital resources of National Library of Israel find audience regionwide. The library, founded in Jerusalem in 1892, has digitized its collection of rare Islamic books and manuscripts. (Arab News)


Photo: Amir Hazim

[Iraq] Baghdad’s cultural scene sees new beginning. With new galleries, renovation projects and live performances, the arts are making a return to the Iraqi capital after decades of war. (Arab News)

Photo: Netflix

[Lebanon] Netflix film Perfect Strangers challenges Middle East taboos. Netflix’s first Arabic movie has quickly become the most watched on the streaming company’s website in the region after it was released on January 20. (Al Jazeera)


Photo: Al Jazeera English on wikimedia commons

[Palestine] Roman-era burial site discovered in Gaza City. Workers were digging out the terrain in order to begin construction on an Egyptian-funded housing project when the ancient ruins were discovered. (The Jerusalem Post)

Previous issues

Our Team

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

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

Yutong Zhang (Environment)
Arwa Syed (Food & Water Security)
Tamyra Selvarajan (Energy)
Molly Pimm (Education)
Harshul Singh (Culture)
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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