MEDITERRANEAN: Unimed elects Tunisia to presidency

The Mediterranean Universities Union (Unimed) has elected Abderraouf Mahbouli, head of the University of Tunis, as its President, reports La Presse of Tunis. It is the first time a country south of the Mediterranean has headed the union, which has 84 member establishments in 20 countries mostly in the Mediterranean basin.

Professor Mahbouli was elected at the end of Unimed's two-day annual general meeting held in October in Tunis, where members discussed cooperation in the Mediterranean region with particular reference to the Bologna Process and the European Union programmes TEMPUS and the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window.

Founded in 1991, Unimed aims to promote multi-disciplinary collaboration in inter-university research and education in the fields of tourism, environment, health, economics and new technologies within the region. Countries where it has members are Albania, Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, France, Jordan, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Montenegro, Palestine, Portugal, Syria, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.

Unimed likens itself to a "university without walls - a university network providing civil society with large know-how and the best specialists of the area".

It holds that the "circulation of knowledge, primarily through educational activities, represents...the best guarantee for realisation of an effective Euro-Mediterranean integration process which goes far beyond economic terms" and is "both a process of social and cultural growth and a political tool for a better and more profitable collaboration between the two shores of the Mediterranean".