The SSRC's Middle East and North Africa Program has undertaken an initiative to explore the role of the Arab university. We are focusing in particular on the efforts being made by academic communities to secure critical spheres of autonomy (vis-à-vis teaching, research, and publishing)--a process that is crucial for a functioning higher education sector and a lively public sphere. Another area of focus is Arab university governance: how has it evolved in response to national, regional, and global restructurings, and what impact has this had on the role of the university?