Bridging Academia and Meaningfulness in the MENA region

Meaningful Societies

 On September 15th, 2022, Voluntas and the Arab Master’s program in Democracy and Human Rights, “Global Campus – Arab World” signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), laying the foundation for a new era of cross-sector collaboration in the MENA region.

The Arab Master’s program in Democracy and Human Rights (ArMA) – hosted and coordinated by Saint Joseph University of Beirut – is one of seven regional programs of the Global Campus of Human Rights (GCHR). It offers a unique cross-regional and interdisciplinary program, combining research-oriented courses with insights from practitioners from across the MENA region. The ArMA program is implemented by the Institute of Political Science at Saint Joseph University of Beirut, in cooperation with Birzeit University in Palestine, the International University of Rabat in Morocco, the University of Carthage in Tunisia, the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Saint Joseph University is a private Lebanese university established in 1875. The Global Campus of Human Rights brings together around a hundred universities around the world, seeking to advance human rights and democracy through regional and global cooperation for education and research on these themes. Aligned with this, Voluntas’ Center for Applied Meaningfulness rests on the belief that meaningfulness is a better way of measuring societal well-being or human progress than existing indexes such as GDP or happiness. Whilst Voluntās has already measured and explored the impact of meaningfulness across organizations, the Center for Applied Meaningfulness investigates meaningfulness across all aspects of life – including within education. The MoU between Voluntas and the ArMA is therefore closely aligned with the overall purpose of Voluntas and the Center for Applied Meaningfulness. 


of students struggle to maintain their well-being

World Economic Forum (2022)
Meaningful Societies

Based on the MoU, Voluntas and Saint Joseph University will collaborate to uncover the anatomy of meaningfulness amongst students of the ArMA. This will be done through the implementation of meaningfulness surveys throughout the program where the core drivers of meaning will be measured. Furthermore, Voluntas will be actively participating in the elaboration and preparation of lectures related to democratization, applied research in human rights, and transition processes in the MENA. The partnership will also offer ArMA students the opportunity of completing internships at Voluntas, as well as see the implementation of events on applied meaningfulness in Beirut.

As an initial phase, the Voluntas-ArMA MoU will be active until 2025. As such, Voluntas and ArMA pledge to create more avenues for meaningful academic cooperation, while emphasizing the importance of fact-based research in the areas of democratization and human rights.

This project is another testament to the opportunities created through the bridging of academia and the private sector. In late august 2022, Voluntas was also part of the announcement of the world’s most meaningful university in Esbjerg having participated in the design of the concept and curriculum. As such, at Voluntas we humbly approach education as not only a universal human right but also as a pathway to realize human potential, across all disciplines and pathways of life.

More and more students suffer from loneliness, stress and unhappiness. All learning starts with self-understanding and insight into who you are and want to become, as well as what you can and cannot do. We therefore need to educate people for life skills through a culture that stimulates self-insight and self-respect and thus the foundation for a healthy and meaningful life.

Morten Albæk

Founder and CEO of Voluntas

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