AURORA – Sustainable AgricUltuRe and sOcial-ecological systems approaches in higheR education in the MENA region


German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Program Subject-specific Partnerships in Higher Education

Pro­ject ti­me pe­ri­od

2021 - 2024

Project partner

University of Kassel, Germany
INRGREF, IRESA, ESA Mograne, Tunisia
IAV Hassan-II, Marocco
American University of Beirut, Lebanon


The aim of the AURORA project is to anchor the analysis of social-ecological systems (SES) of agri-environmental systems in the curricula of universities in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). Agricultural production systems in this region face numerous challenges in terms of the use of natural resources and socio-economic conditions, which can best be analysed through complex explanatory approaches. SES analysis offers an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to understand these problem areas and thus contribute to the provision of solutions.

It is to be assumed that a stronger reception of SES approaches in higher education will bring great benefits for the region, and thus make a contribution to sustainable development and improved food security. In addition, the AURORA project will strengthen existing development-related capacities of the University of Kassel and the other partners and contribute to the expansion of specialist networks that exist beyond the duration of the project and can be expanded regionally.

The AURORA partners have set themselves the goal of further develop approaches to the SES analysis, adapting them regionally and anchoring them in the corresponding academic curricula. University lecturers should be enabled to convey the approach. Furthermore, the partners want to make educational content digitally available to a broad interested public and work closely with other partners such as GPN (coordinated by the University of Kassel), with IASC and GIZ.

In order to achieve the goals, four modules are to be developed over the four-year project period and integrated into the curricula of the universities involved. Other planned activities are conferences, lecturer training courses, and multilateral professional exchanges between individuals, including South-South mobilities. As a recurring element, topical excursions are carried out to one of the partner countries, which establish the empircal reference and focus on the production of inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge.