Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Spotlights

Spotlights

Dr. Ikram publishes an article on the severity of COVID-19 effects in Asian countries

Dr. Muhammad Ikram, assistant professor at the AUI School of Business Administration (SBA), has recently published on the severity of COVID-19 effects, titled “Intensifying effects of COVID-19 on economic growth, logistics performance, environmental sustainability and quality management: evidence from Asian countries,” in the Journal of Asian Business Studies (JABS). JABS is a double-blind peer review journal that welcomes high-quality conceptual, empirical, and literature review papers. JABS is indexed in various databases such as ABS, ABDC, Web of Science, and Scopus.

This study develops a framework and investigates the intensifying effects of COVID-19 effects on economic growth, logistics performance, environmental performance and quality production processes. A novel grey relational analysis models’ approach is used to examine the inter-relationship between COVID-19 economic growth and environmental performance. In addition, the authors applied a conservative (maximin) model to investigate which countries have the least intensifying effects among all of the top affected COVID-19 Asian countries based on the SS degree of grey relation values. The data used in this study was collected from multiple databases during 2020 for analysis.

Results indicate that the severity of COVID-19 has a strong negative influence on the exportation of goods and services, logistics performance, and ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications in all the six highly affected countries during the pandemic outbreak. Although the adverse effects of COVID-19 in exporting countries persisted until December 31, 2020, their magnitude decreased over time in Indonesia and Pakistan. During the COVID-19 outbreak, Pakistan showed comparatively better performance among the six top highly affected Asian countries due to its smart lockdown strategy and prevented severe damages to its economy. On the other hand, Indian and Iranian exports drastically reduced due to a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

The research findings produce indispensable policy suggestions for leaders, world agencies, and governments to take corrective measures on an emergent basis to prevent more damages to their economies and to improve their logistics, environmental, and quality performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

More details about the article can be found at https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JABS-07-2021-0316/full/html

 

Dr. Muhammad Ikram publishes paper on Green Technology in the Journal of Cleaner Production

Dr. Muhammad Ikram, assistant professor at the AUI School of Business Administration (SBA), has recently published an article titled “Assessing green technology indicators for cleaner production and sustainable investments in a developing country context” in the prestigious, leading Journal of Cleaner Production (JCP).

The Journal of Cleaner Production (JCP) ranks #1 in the Sustainable Development category and #33 in the top 100 journals category with 200 (H-index). JCP is indexed in various databases such as ABS (2), ABDC (A), Web of Science (SCI), and SCOPUS, with a 9.297 Impact factor. 

This study contributes to academic research in the field by developing an integrated framework comprising the analytical design of green technologies, three layers of green technology platform, and the organizational structure of green technologies in the developing country context. In this study, the authors develop an integrated green technology framework to fill a gap in the literature by prioritizing green technologies' most critical attributes in Pakistan. Initially, the authors focus on eight leading green technology indicators: Environmental Quality, Resource Utilization, Agriculture & Forestry, Green Building, Energy Utilization, Green Transport, Life Health, and Ecology Safety, with the help of the fuzzy Delphi method. The Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchy Process (FAHP) is employed to find the relative importance of primary and sub-indicators. 

Within the study, the authors used a systematic literature review approach to help identify the current state in the literature. The authors used the following keywords (applying all time period): a) “Green technology” AND “innovation”; b) “Green technology” AND “sustainable development”; c) “Green technology” AND “cleaner production”; d) “Green technology” AND “Pakistan”. Results from the exploratory phase of the literature provided interesting findings. In all searches, the #JournalofCleanerProduction proved to be the leading source in the field.

Practical implications include looking at how green technology investments create different forms of value for the country's economy. The value that comes from investing in green technologies requires triggers related to tangible resources (e.g., financial capital). Our study contributes to the field by identifying how sustainability engagement can lead companies to invest more in green technologies. According to our findings, an integrated, basic understanding of investments' potential to impact environmental, social, and economic performance allows companies to invest in green technologies in practice through each studied sustainability dimension. Thus, the green technologies suppliers/providers must consider the sustainability dimensions stressed in our research when considering green technologies' development and trading.

This study's outcomes can help scholars, managers, government agencies, and decision-makers understand the importance of green technologies to achieve SDGs while simultaneously improving sustainability practices.

More details about the article can be found at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.129090

New publications by the AUI School of Humanities and Social Sciences

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences recently published four new books:  

  • Social Sciences and Societal Transformations: Methodological and Thematic Problems showcases the works of the first scientific symposium, organized within the framework of the first session of the Spring of Social Sciences, hosted by AUI from the 9th to the 11th of April 2021, with the participation of more than 70 specialists in social sciences from various Moroccan institutions, including professors and Ph.D. students.  
  • Field Research in the Social Sciences: Comparative Experiences presents the work of the second scientific symposium, organized within the framework of the first session of the Social Sciences Spring, hosted by AUI from the 9th to the 11th of April 2021, with the participation of more than 70 specialists in social sciences from various Moroccan institutions, including professors and Ph.D. students.  
  • Rituals and Agricultural Practices: Ethnographic of the Intangible Heritage was coordinated by Dr. Abdelkrim Marzouk, Dean of the SHSS and Dr. Abderrahim El Attri, from Mohamed V University. The book amounts to a 457-page volume, rich in monographic, ethnographic, sociological, geographical, historical, and anthropological studies. The different contributions concerned various rituals and agricultural practices, which reflect important aspects of the immaterial heritage. University professors and doctoral researchers from various Moroccan universities have contributed to this important achievement, stressing for Al Akhawayn University the need for networking and convergence in order to advance the study of social sciences. 
  • Migration in Cinema: Manifestations and Connotations will soon be released by the Ibn Khaldoun Center for Migration and Citizenship Studies of the University of Al Akhawayn in Ifrane in the framework of a fruitful partnership with the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad. This book deals with the question of immigration, its manifestation and presence in Moroccan films, as well as its symbolic, artistic, and societal connotations. 

Dr. Boulahnane Publishes Article on Methods for and the Struggles of Learning English as a Japanese Speaker

Dr. Saad Boulahnane, a lecturer at the Language Center at Al Akhawayn University, recently published an article titled "Immersing Japanese students into English language learning: Songs, games, and cultures" in the journal Cakrawala Pendidikan. The journal is indexed in Scopus, and Dr. Boulahnane has also been published in Web of Science in the fields of education, Islamophobia, and discourse. 
 
The study aimed to understand how the teaching methods of various Japanese English teachers differed from other non-Japanese English teachers. The interest in learning about methods used to teach Japanese speakers is because the author states that learning English is not as easy for Japanese speakers, and immersion in the language has proved to be a crucial method for engaging learning in this context. The study collected data from twenty students and ten teachers around the world. The study found that both Japanese and non-Japanese teachers used methods such as drilling techniques, gaming, singing, using cards, playing outside, and grouping, and all along, the teachers helped encourage the students' learning by motivating them and using by motivating them and using positive reinforcement techniques. Some of the barriers students had in speaking English that the study identifies include pronunciation, anxiety, grammar, vocabulary, and lack of practice.  
 
More details about the article can be found at: https://journal.uny.ac.id/index.php/cp/article/view/37153

Dr. Seilstad Publishes Chapter in Refugee Education across the Lifespan: Mapping Experiences of Language Learning

Dr. Brian Seilstad, Director of the Office of International Programs, published a chapter titled "Learning Together: How Ethnography and Discourse Analysis as Practice Influence Citizenship Classes with Nepali-Speaking Bhutanese Refugee Elders Living in Superdiverse Central Ohio" in the volume Refugee Education across the Lifespan: Mapping Experiences of Language Learning and Use edited by Dr. Doris Warriner of Arizona State University.  This volume demonstrates how an educational linguistics approach to inquiry is well positioned to identify, examine, and theorize the language and literacy dimensions of learners’ experiences who are from a refugee background. 

Dr. Seilstad's chapter draws on empirical data from a year-long study of citizenship classes to demonstrate how ethnography and classroom discourse analysis are particularly useful approaches to educational linguistics to document micro-level social activities, analyze their structures, and then draw connections to meso or macro-levels. In addition, the chapter argues that culturally responsive pedagogies and translanguaging, while critical to valuing the languages and cultures of learners and essential for working with refugee communities, are insufficient if conceived of only as a narrow range of classroom practices. Thus, the chapter demonstrates the exponential power these pedagogies take on when paired with a broader ethnographic project designed to openly explore the histories, lives, languages, and cultures present within a certain group of people. 

More details about the article can be found at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-79470-5_19