Trends in MENA Textbooks: Increasing Moderation and Remaining Radicalism

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Trends in MENA Textbooks: Increasing Moderation and Remaining Radicalism

1st March 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

School education is by far the most powerful tool to puncture extremist influences. Curricula are the key to achieving the tolerant and open-minded societies of the future. But they are also where negative influences: skewed historical narratives, hatreds of the other, gender inequalities and political violence take root.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) is a research and policy organization that analyses education to encourage standards of peace and tolerance as derived from international declarations and resolutions. Founded at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IMPACT-se is an internationally respected leader in the field of textbook analysis and is dedicated to peace-making between peoples and nations by encouraging acceptance of the other and rejection of violent conflict. 

Henry Jackson Society is delighted to welcome you to a panel discussion on education where one of the panellists and CEO of IMPACT-se Marcus Sheff will be presenting the institute’s recent data which includes studies of textbooks in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Houthi materials, The Palestinian Authority and Israel.



Marcus Sheff is CEO of IMPACT-se, a research and policy non-profit that and analyzes textbooks, employing standards on peace and tolerance as derived from international declarations and resolutions.

He has briefed at the White House, National Security Council, US State Department, Congress, the United Nations, European Parliament and Commission, at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British Parliament, the German Federal Foreign Office and Bundestag, the Norwegian and Finnish governments and parliaments and other institutions around the world. He has been appeared on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC and many other networks and been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post and other print media.

A national student leader in the UK, he worked as a political reporter at The Nation, an editor at The Jerusalem Post and as a foreign correspondent. Following that, he established The Word Shop Ltd., a communications firm that became the leader in its field. Subsequently, he became an executive for global communications firms Dow Jones International and Advanstar Inc. He was the Executive Director at The Israel Project from 2007-2014. He is non-executive chairman of a specialist biologicals company.



Dr Alan Mendoza is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, Britain’s leading thinktank fighting for the principles and alliances which keep societies free. He directs strategy for the organisation as well as acting as its main public face in mediums as diverse as the BBC, Sky, CNBC, Al-Jazeera. Bloomberg, LBC and TalkRadio. On the print side, Alan is a columnist for City AM, London’s business newspaper, and has contributed to The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun and a host of international newspapers and magazines.

Having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) and M.Phil in history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Alan completed a Ph.D. at the same institution. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was the Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in the Brent Central Constituency for the 2015 General Election. He is also a Trustee of the President Reagan Memorial Fund Trust.




On the 2nd of March 2022, Marcus Chef, CEO of Impact SE joined Dr Alan Mendoza, president of the Henry Jackson Society, to discuss the topic of textbooks in the MENA region. Mr Chef goes in detail to illustrate the changes that occurred within the school curriculums of nations across the Middle East.

Marcus Chef begins the session by highlighting the positive encouragements that have been made in school educations systems across the Middle East. Chef argues that nations such as Saudi Arabia have made significant improvements. Chef then continues by highlighting, the United Arab Emirates, as a model nation in the region. Chef stresses the highly tolerant and peaceful aspect of the Emirati education system, and how it should be emulated across the region.

Despite the positive developments being made, nations such as Turkey and the Palestinian authority have, in fact regressed in what they are teaching in state schools. An incitement towards hatred, anti-Semitic tropes, as well as, a call for Islamist Jihadism can all found in the respective nations textbooks. Chef calls for more direct action from Western nations to combat this rise in extremist material being taught.

The Q&A then discusses what these observations in MENA education means for the stability and harmony of the wider region.



1st March 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


United Kingdom


Marcus Sheff


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