19 February 2023
MENA Writing Centers Meet in Multiversity Conference at Education City
More than 50 delegates participated at the biennial conference, which opened with remarks by Dean Amir Berbić. The three-day conference was a platform for teachers, tutors, peer tutors, center directors, and other professionals supporting student writers in the MENA region to share the innovative practices they have explored and report on their efficacy
The Middle East-North Africa Writing Center Alliance (MENAWCA), took place in Doha, at Education City recently.
More than 50 delegates participated at the biennial conference, which opened with remarks by Dean Amir Berbić. The three-day conference was a platform for teachers, tutors, peer tutors, center directors, and other professionals supporting student writers in the MENA region to share the innovative practices they have explored and report on their efficacy.
The theme for this year’s conference was: Writing Centers: Multidisciplinary and Multimodal Spaces for Engagement, and it covered topics including Multimedia Resource and its Impact on Foundation Learners' Motivation, Developing Effective Online Strategies for Multilingual Learners, and Writing Center Challenges: Supporting Students from Multiple Disciplines.
The MENAWCA Executive Board also recognized Asmae Nakib, Northwestern University in Qatar student, with the “Outstanding Tutor Award.” Nakib is the first EC student recipient of this award, which recognizes tutors who provide exemplary service to students, writing centers, and institutional communities. Nakib is an empathetic tutor, and her first step in a session is to ease the student’s anxiety, as she describes in her personal tutoring statement.
Keynote speaker Dr. Paul Kei Matsuda, Arizona State University, said, “Last few years have been tough for all of us, but I'm glad we are here together to exchange insights. I've enjoyed sharing my perspective with writing center tutors and directors from the region—I hope my talk has inspired everyone to keep asking questions that can facilitate students’ writing and learning processes. I'm looking forward to learning more about what exciting things have been happening in this part of the world!"
Participant Zachary Shellenberger had the following to say about the conference: “My experience here has been nothing less than fabulous! The program is incredibly varied while sticking to the theme of the conference and an incredibly timely topics within any field. If anything, I feel affirmed by the work I’ve done and comfortable by this extended family to which I belong and the hospital they have afforded me. Thank you so very much.”
The conference is a multiversity initiative, co-organized by VCUarts Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, and Texas A&M University at Qatar.
Sahar Mari, MENAWCA president, said, “I am grateful to all Education City partner universities for their support in hosting this conference. MENAWCA has an important role in the region in connecting Writing Center professionals, providing relevant resources, and advancing the field of Writing Studies in the MENA. The conference has been a wonderful opportunity to build community and learn from each other. These interactions mostly revolve around how we can better support students.”