In the past two years, the Middle East Professional Learning Initiative (MEPLI) at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) has flourished to become one of the largest international initiatives at the school. Based in Professional Education at HGSE, MEPLI aims to support teacher educators and system-level leaders in developing practices, programs, and structures to help improve student opportunities to learn and achieve productive, sustainable lives.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Amin Marei, the Associate Director of MEPLI to learn more about MEPLI’s achievements and upcoming projects.
“It’s been a tremendous journey of learning from and working with remarkable educators from the Middle East,” says Amin. “MEPLI’s strategy focuses on fostering the educational ecosystem in the Middle East by supporting the learning of the various stakeholders in the region including teachers, teacher-educators, and system-level leaders.”
MEPLI’s strategy involves using different tactics that target these various stakeholders. One of these tactics is the MEPLI Fellowship. “Our MEPLI Fellowship targets teacher educators. It is a one-year job-embedded experience that provides educators with scholarships for Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Education programs. The Fellowship also supports Fellows in incorporating their learning into existing work and promoting the dissemination of knowledge within their learning communities,” adds Amin. “This year we had 45 educators from Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine, and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Fellows and all those involved with the Fellowship.”
MEPLI is also launching Harvard’s first professional education course in Arabic this February. “We are currently developing several contextualized courses. These courses are developed with the support of educators and faculty members in the region,” he says. “We are always doing our best to make sure that whatever we develop builds on the wealth of knowledge and expertise in the region.”
One of MEPLI’s tactics also involves developing case studies about education in the region. “We are currently developing a book of educational case studies with the support of Queen Rania Teacher Academy. Through this publication, we hope to highlight the stories of educators in the Jordanian education sector,” says Amin. “We’re also working with Prof. Andres Alonso to develop two case studies about the education sector in Lebanon.”
The growth of MEPLI is the past two years has also supported the HGSE’s aspirations in expanding its outreach. “In the past two years, we have supported the learning of more than one thousand educators. We hope this number grows in a way that supports a high-quality learning experience” insists Amin. “Our ultimate goal is not only to support education in the Middle East but to create a model that can be replicated in other regions and through other schools and universities.”