Skip to main content

2020 | Book

Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility—Volume 2

Proceedings of the 2nd American University in the Emirates International Research Conference, AUEIRC'18—Dubai, UAE 2018


About this book

This book gathers high-quality research papers presented at the 2nd AUE international research conference, AUEIRC 2018, which was organized by the American University in the Emirates, Dubai, and held on November 13th-15th, 2018. The book is broadly divided into two main sections: Sustainability and Smart Business, and Sustainability and Creative Industries. The broad range of topics covered under these sections includes: risk assessment in agriculture, corporate social responsibility and the role of intermediaries, the impact of privatizing health insurance, political events and their effect on foreign currency exchange, the effect of sustainable HR practices on financial performance, sustainability integration in the supply chain and logistics, gender inequality in the MENA economies, the panel data model, the model of sustainable marketing in the era of Industry 4.0, micro-enterprises as a tool for combating unemployment, the impact of financial education and control on financial behavior, measuring financial and asset performance in agricultural firms, a comprehensive strategic approach to sustainability in the UAE, sustainability and project finance, HR analytics, FaD or fashion for organizational sustainability, a conceptual framework of sustainable competitive advantages, psychology of organizational sustainability, Blockchain technology and sustainability, veganism and sustainability, institution building from an emotional intelligence perspective, sustainable concrete production using CWP, occupants’ behavior and energy usage in Emirati houses, the effect of shop lighting on consumer behavior, multimedia applications in digital transformation art, integrating biomimicry principles in sustainable architecture, experimental sustainable practices in fashion education, technology-assisted student-centered learning for civil engineering, and a 10-step design process for architectural design studios. All contributions present high-quality original research work, findings and lessons learned in practical development.

Table of Contents

A Novel Nondestructive Ultrasonic Velocity and Attenuation Approach for Sustainable Quality Prediction of Wheat-Based Products

This paper presents a nondestructive novel approach for predicting the quality of wheat-based products using ultrasound longitudinal ultrasonic waves operated at 50 kHz, which are transmitted through various wheat samples. The velocity and attenuation coefficients were calculated using a signal processing technique based on measuring the transit time and amplitude changes of the signal. The acoustic parameters were then related to the mechanical properties of the wheat samples and correlated to the mechanical parameters determined from the mechanical testing micrograph, farinograph, and micro-extension tests. The results obtained in this study indicated that ultrasonic measurements at low frequencies allowed us to discriminate among wheat samples with a reasonable degree of confidence. Correlations between ultrasonic results and mechanical tests such as mixograph, farinograph, and micro-extension were found to be significant (P ≤ 0.05) and in good agreement with the definitions of the parameters studied. To further explore the potential for ultrasound to be employed as a screening tool, the effect of the water content in different processes was investigated. Noticeable variations in both velocity and attenuation coefficient were observed. The results indicated that ultrasonic parameters (longitudinal phase velocity and attention coefficient) and the calculated longitudinal storage modulus were sensitive to differences in compositions of wheat samples, and hence, it can be used as a tool for sustainable quality prediction of wheat-based products.

Hussein M. Elmehdi
A Variable Neighborhood Search-Based Method with Learning for Image Steganography

Image steganography is a security technique that used to hide secret information such as text or image in another cover image. The cover image, including the secret information, seems to be unchanged, and the hidden information can only be recovered by using a particular decoding technique. This paper proposes a variable neighborhood search (VNS)-based method for image steganography. The proposed VNS is combined with the least significant bits method (LSB) and enhanced with a learning process. LSB is the process of adjusting the lower bits of the pixels of the cover image. The least significant bit which is the eighth bit of some or all bytes inside the cover image is replaced by bits of the secret information. We improve LSB by combining it with VNS. The VNS method is a local search meta-heuristic working on a set of different neighborhoods. The basic idea is a systematic change of a certain number of neighborhoods combined with a local search. The objective is to explore the search space efficiently in order to locate the appropriate positions in the cover image where inserting the secret information. Further, a learning process is added to VNS in order to enhance the performance. The proposed methods are evaluated on some series of images. The numerical results are exciting and demonstrate the benefits of the new techniques for image steganography.

Dalila Boughaci, Hanane Douah
Achieving SDGs Through Higher Educational Institutions: A Case Study of the University of Bahrain

This paper explores the role of higher educational institutions (HEI) in achieving sustainable development goals approved and promoted by the United Nations to ensure global sustainability. The paper empirically examines the conformity of Bahrain’s Higher Education Council’s (BHEC) Strategy and its Research Strategy with the norms of Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations. It also maps the performance of the University of Bahrain (UoB) in the context of these national strategies and SDGs. The guidelines published by SDSN Australia/Pacific 2017 have been used as a template to measure the performance of the University of Bahrain on multiple parameters. The University of Bahrain’s transformational plan has a high degree of alignment with the goals of its Higher Educational Council and Research strategy. It also found that the newly developed Ph.D. and MSc programs of the University of Bahrain contributed immensely to the SDGs as recommended by the SDSN Australia/Pacific. Empirical evidence shows that higher education institutions can play a significant role in achieving the SDGs promoted by the United Nations. The study can also explore the possibility of acceleration and funding of programs relating to SDGs through higher education institutions for more sustainable global development.

Ahmed Buong
An Impact of Smart Traffic Sensing on Strategic Planning for Sustainable Smart Cities

In recent years, smart governance in the context of smart city networks has emerged as a new trend for governments to monitor public activities. One of such activities is controlling the traffic lights that have a vital influence on strategic planning in shaping the smart cities. Thus, in this study, our contributions presented in a twofold as (i) solving the problems of using conventional traffic lights as well as reviewing the opportunities and challenges of the traffic sensing techniques, and (ii) innovating a novel model for traffic sensing and smart traffic monitoring called Smart Traffic Sensing Approach (STSA). In particular, regarding the STSA model, we proposed new traffic sensing model using ultrasonic-acoustic and biosensors, in intelligent ecosystem environments involving LED solar cells, for controlling the intensity of cars on the intersections of roads in non-stable situations due to their high accuracy in guided sensors and their modern characteristic in independency on a dynamic time period. Consequently, this technology reduces energy consumption, solves the problem of congestions, and increases productivity and flow on intersections in a more adaptive mode. In addition, it exploits the ecosystems to facilitate monitoring the mobile phone violations on the city’s roads and highways. As a result, the STSA approach is being served as a next-generation framework for computing in smart traffic, having an effect on smart cities infrastructure planning, and achieves sustainable development chances.

Tareq T. Krishan, Rami S. Alkhawaldeh, Issam Al-Hadid, Rula Al Azawi, Saleh H. Al-Sharaeh
Corporate Social Responsibility in the United Arab Emirates: Principles and Communication Strategy

This study aims to identify the factors and principles upon which social responsibility (CSR) has been established in the UAE. Despite the recent introduction of CSR in the UAE, beginning in the early 2000s, the initiative has expanded in the Middle East and internationally into an active and innovative experience through various programs. The UAE experience is unique in the Arab region because it combines the specificity of the local community with the requirements of globalization, the market economy, free trade, economic competition, and e-governance. The Dubai Chamber CSR Label, launched in 2010, is one of the most important initiatives to lead organizations into adopting sustainability and CSR programs. The conceptual paper also discusses the communication strategy adopted by the organizations in the UAE to introduce programs and plans for sustainability and CSR.

Khaled Zamoum, T. Serra Gorpe
Corruption-Specific Security Challenge

Corruption in ancient Greece or Rome was usually expressed through bribes. It can even be said that as the state progressed and gained new forms, corruption developed alongside with it. This paper addresses the corruption-specific security challenge in Europe. Today, there are no societies that morally or lawfully accept abuse of power or think that the political position or public service should be used for personal gain through commercial contracts involving public interest. The moral categorization of this behavior is not questioned anywhere. However, the secondary efficiency of the legal system for the detection, prosecution, and punishment is being questioned. Newer times bring up something new: a large offer and the intent of global traders to get new business opportunities and sell products through corruption, destroying people with moral and circumventing legal barriers, making corruption the part of a system. Such behavior makes the public getting used to bribe and weakens the efficiency of the rule of law. Corruption is the opposite of all fundamental modern postulates in capitalism. Capitalism justifies wealth through hard work and property is considered sacred, just like the protection of private property and equity. Public services are considered something that does not belong to an individual but serves everyone else. Criminal forms of corruption occur through bribing and acceptance of bribes, as well as through abuse of power and financial frauds, unlawful mediation, and fraud. Someone using his function for personal gain threatens the foundation of the governmental and economic structures. In some countries, especially in developing countries, corruption is a serious economic and political problem. There are expression tendencies that characterize corruption: organization, participant’s status, protection of individuals, important benefits of the unlawfully gained advantages, wealth without any fundamentals, connection to influential social factors, and problems in the detection and securing of evidence.

Dusko Tomic, Eldar Saljic
Developing a Green Curriculum for Introduction to Information Technology Course

No one can deny that information technology courses can be an excellent initiative for increasing the awareness of environmental and health problems. Hence, information technology instructors play a critical role in spreading awareness of green technology and reinforcing sustainability. The Introduction to Information Technology (IIT) course contains many topics that can be directed in an intelligent way to spread awareness about sustainability. In this paper, we suggest a detailed curriculum for the IT course that converts a standard curriculum into a green one. The goal of this curriculum is to produce a new generation that is aware enough about the role of technology in our life and its impact on the environment. The course topics will be the answers to the following questions. First, how to avoid the negative impact of technology on health and the environment. Second, how to decrease the negative impact that cannot be avoided or find a solution for it. Finally, what are the alternative green computing techniques that can be used to increase sustainability? The proposed curriculum should involve the instructor and the students. Both should collaborate in a set of activities that will give society a generation with high awareness of green computing and sustainability.

Sanaa Kaddoura
Eco-certification in the Montenegrin Tourism as a Response on Climate Change

The adoption of eco-certification standards should provide for Montenegrin tourism industry positive effects both on supply and demand side. On the supply side, eco-certification should improve the efficiency of resource management in operations of all elements, such as energy, water, employee management, waste, cleaning as well as disinfection materials. At the same time, on-demand side, according to best practices, potential consumers are willing to pay up to 40% more for services of eco-certified units, since their principal benefit is in added value. To estimate the level of the low-carbon tourism development, its current level, and potentials for further development, the field survey was conducted in Montenegro during summer 2015, as a part of UNDP project “Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism in Montenegro,” led by the authors of this paper. The survey involved three target groups: (1) relevant central and local authorities in the area of tourism and environmental protection; (2) the travel and tourism sector businesses; and (3) visiting tourists. Travel and tourism business entities were at a certain level using mitigation measures for the reduction of CO2 emissions, but some incentives are needed and a systematic approach led by the national institutions. Relevant public institutions were aware of eco-labeling schemes, and there were some intentions for providing assistance to the travel and tourism sector in applying it in their tourism offerings. Most of the tourist business entities (89%) agree with the statement that ecotourism will be important in the future, as well as 81% of them agree with the statement that climate change has a significant impact on the tourism sector development. More than two-thirds (68.7%) of tourism business entities, did not apply any environmental standards scheme or have certified accommodation unit. However, more than half (58%) of them are willing to pay for eco-certification. Tourism industry representatives (66%) are interested to learn more about eco-certification in Montenegro, as well as to be further informed about climate change and tourism in the future (75%). For the transfer of general knowledge, this research was limited only to one country, but further research could show the potential spread of positive ideas from Montenegrin tourism to other countries, especially where UN or other global institutions have plans for implementation of the similar projects.

Jelena Janjusevic, Nikola Perovic
Evaluating Application of Information and Communication Technology in Patronizing Guidance and Counseling Services Among Undergraduate Students in Selected North-Western Universities in Nigeria

The paper evaluates the application/usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in patronizing guidance and counseling services among undergraduates students in selected North-western Nigerian Universities. Three research questions were raised, and two hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The population of the study comprised two universities with 351 students from the Department of Education, 190 students were sampled out proportionately. The researcher developed questionnaire tagged “Students questionnaire on application/usage of ICT in patronizing guidance, and counseling service (SQAICTGCS)” was used for data collection. The instrument was validated, and it has reliability index Alpha of 0.776. Percentage, frequency mean, and standard deviation were used to answer research questions while an independent sample t-test was used to test the hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. It was found that the majority of the undergraduate students in North-western Nigeria universities are not applying/using electronic tools in patronizing guidance and counseling services with the highest frequency of 130, 70%, mean 1.3481, and standard deviation of 0.47788. It was concluded that there is generally low application/usage of ICT in patronizing guidance and counseling services by undergraduate students in Northwestern Nigerian. Based on the findings, the research recommends that awareness campaign should be made by Universities counselors to the students for them to understand the importance of application/usage of ICT in patronizing guidance and counseling service.

Salisu Yunusa
Factors Affecting the Cost of Production of Electricity and Desalination Plant for Sustainable Operation at the Libyan Iron and Steel Company

This research addresses the contribution of proper and scientific management of the energy economy of the electricity and desalination plant at the Libyan Iron and Steel Company for a sustainable operation. A descriptive and analytical approach has been used to interpret and analyze the data on fuel consumption in combustion and obtained from the station. This paper presented several results related to the importance of the efficiency of combustion, the type of fuel used, the development of cadres, maintenance and attention to the environment, and other measures that contribute significantly to reduce costs and manage the economics of energy production. Besides, the development of the performance of maintenance teams as one of the essential factors to maintain the old equipments and extend the standard operational life of the equipment. Moreover, the emphasis on regular maintenance and prevention. The results address the sustainability of operation, which is affected by the absence of accurate readings of the company’s registered emissions, and the gain of the generating units increases the size of the problem caused using heavy oil, especially with no real treatments for the environment adjacent to the station.

Salim Mohamed Hebrisha, Ahmed N. Al-Masri
Guided Inquiry Strategy as Panacea for Students Poor Academic Performance in Biology for Sustainable Development

This study determines the effect of guided inquiry strategy as panacea for students poor Academic Performance in Biology for Sustainable Development in teaching and learning. The research design used for the study was quasi-experimental design. The study population consisted of one thousand two hundred and twenty five (1225) SS II Biology students drawn from the twenty nine senior secondary schools in Ringim Educational zone of Jigawa state, Nigeria. The sample of the study was made up of one hundred and thirty seven (137) SS II students randomly chosen from two schools in the population. The two schools selected were pretested to establish their equivalence in academic performance in Biology. One school was randomly assigned as experimental group and was taught using guided inquiry strategy while the other school was used as a control group and was taught using lecture method. The two schools were both posttest and post posttest to determine students’ performance and retention of Biology. data were collected and analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions and t-test to test the hypotheses at 0.05 levels of significance. Finding from the study revealed a significant difference between the students exposed to guided inquiry strategy (experimental group) and those exposed to lecture method (control group) with respect to academic performance and retention. There was, however, no significant difference in academic performance between male and female students exposed to guided inquiry strategy. Based on these results, it was concluded that the guided inquiry strategy enhances academic performance and retention of as well as gender friendlily among Biology students than the lecture method at senior secondary schools.

Abdulrahaman Ibrahim
HEIs Practices and Strategic Decisions Toward Planning for Delivering Academic Programs for a Sustainable Future

Higher Education Institutions around the world are facing various challenges with the dynamic market demand and quality assurance standards and regulatory requirements. The higher education sector is in dilemma of what should be the main focus of their operations, research, and community or fulfillment quality requirements and catching up with the ranking system. The similar argument took place by various authors, should HEI develop researcher, innovators, employees, practitioners, or entrepreneurs. The arguments mentioned above lead to one questions do HEIs deliver education in a way that enables a sustainable future? This paper demonstrates various HEIs practices in Bahrain and strategic decisions toward planning for delivering academic programs for a sustainable future, the paper also demonstrates strategic measures and outcomes with summarized facts and figures that enabled the HEIs to develop distinguished graduate with lifelong learning skills that allow sustainable future.

Esra Saleh AlDhaen, Mohamed Mahmood
Innovative Pedagogy for Higher Educational Institution: The Teacher Point of View

Information, communications, and technology change both teacher–learner experiences in the past 30 years. These trends and updates will forever transform how content delivery of teaching pedagogy will enhance and prepare millennial students. To use these tools, require knowledge, skills, and abilities on the part of the teacher in order to establish learning and development for students. This paper discusses the rationale of information, communications, and technology (ICT) while meeting knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) model for readiness and enhances the student experience. This will prepare millennial students for the next generation of learning pedagogy that is well equipped and in demand in the industry/corporate. Learning is continuous processes to the information, communications, and technology (ICT) which will determine their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) in facing the real-world challenges and adversities. The next generation of learner needs innovative pedagogy that will adopt their generation as millennial learners.

Fermin G. Castillo
International Law and the Challenges of Transboundary Watercourses Governance: The Blue Nile Dam Controversy

Water—as an international public good—is at the core of sustainable development, and it is critical for socioeconomic development, healthy ecosystems, and for human survival itself. Many of river basin international organizations have been established by riparian States with the purpose of more effectively and sustainably govern their shared water resources. However, their achievements in ensuring sustainability in the use of water resources in their respective basins vary considerably: while some seem to be more successful in solving water-specific collective action problems and sustainability challenges, another fail. In international law, States enjoy sovereignty to exploit natural resources on their territory, insofar as such exploitation does not cause harm to neighboring States. The 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses entered into force on August 17, 2014. However, three of upstream and downstream African States: Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have not yet joined it. Sudan and Egypt have been advantaged by the 1959 Treaty signed between the two countries, thus totally excluding the other Nile Basin States. The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Blue Nile Dam) is now a national pride for Ethiopia which will generate power and constitute a better supply in electricity. If it is considered as a significant step in terms of sustainable development for the country and Africa as well, it is regarded in Egypt as an imminent danger to its Nile water. This study analysis the principles of international law related to transboundary watercourses governance in analyzing the 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UNWC) (Part I), and in focusing on the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the mutual relations between the Nile river riparian States (Part II).

Mahir Al Banna
Investigating the Function of DM “Like” in Authentic Discourse and the Importance of Incorporating It in ESL Curriculum

In daily communication, the lexical items “like”, “well”, and “you know” can serve as discourse markers (DMs). Research on DMs has revealed a various functions as different types of particles, such as the conjunctional use of “like” and the semantically unidentified phrase “you know”. However, there are no formal indications in the ESL grammar books that address the function of the DM “like” as a conjunction. In their book How English works: A grammatical practice book with answers, Swan and Walter define “like” as a preposition that comes before nouns or pronoun (Swan 1997). Some given examples are as follows: He runs like the wind. She looks like me. However, they refer to the conjunctional function of “like” as informal and cannot occur in writing. This paper investigates the function of the discourse marker “like” in actual discourse and the possible criteria that determine the status of “like” in the present day. Additionally, the paper examines the prescribed grammatical function of “like” in ELS grammar books. Finally, the paper suggests specific pedagogical recommendations that could be considered in a sustained ESL field of learning and teaching.

Heba Ibrahim Elbahwashy
Machine Learning for Flipped Teaching in Higher Education—A Reflection

Machine learning is one of the revolutionary fields in present days that being successfully implemented in many areas. It enables a machine or a system to learn from various data input by the end-user and provides the next set of possible outcomes. Almost all the search engines and commercial sites have implemented various algorithms for commercialization purposes as well as customization of user data for prediction. Machine learning has a significant role in the education sector to explore various possibilities through which, the system can perform a cognitive analysis based on a given set of input data by the end-users, who can be the students or the teachers. Especially in a flipped classroom model, where the student-centric approach is adopted; machine learning can be a revolutionary approach to find the requirements of learner based on their existing skills. This paper provides an analysis of various types of machine learning that can be implemented through a learning management system for flipped classroom activities. In this paper, a new framework is proposed which can be implemented for effective flipped teaching in higher education in order to reduce the manual tasks of the teachers. The successful implementation of this approach can play a vital role in the community of learners.

Vikas Rao Naidu, Baldev Singh, Khadija Al Farei, Noor Al Suqri
Multiple Tools for Innovative Interdependent Learning Techniques in Higher Education to Foster Employability Skills

The need to use interdependent methods of teaching and learning in higher education institutions is becoming inevitable. As several undergraduate students face the problem of lack of job opportunities when they graduate arises from a saturated market that needs innovative generations of capacity building knowledge and spirits of lateral thinking that fortifies the talents of students on both the academic side and the soft skills required in our labor market century. An increasing number of employers criticizes the higher education institutions for failing to bridge the gap between theory and practice in real-life work experience. This paper investigates the employability skills that employers require trespass the academic ranking to a new benchmark in the market, relying on experienced and talented employees. The British University in Egypt—BUE—depends on knowledge delivery and assessment for the students from their foundation year to their graduation year on a set of interdependent learning techniques both in the lecture hall and outside the campus. Sustaining the BUE graduate with employability skills is an objective of the university and its staff members gifting the job market a generation who learn how to think not what to think.

Zeinab Younis
Novice Learning Programming Languages in Omani Higher Education Institution (Nizwa University) Issues, Challenges and Solutions

In general, students do not know how to program, mainly due to their lack of general problem-solving abilities.This study discusses student difficulties in programming and propose possible solutions to enhance student learning pedagogy, use Omani higher education institutions as a case study. Several approaches and tools have been proposed aiming to support learning programming in different ways. Unfortunately, the majority of the reports, which we found in the literature, do not tackle the problem in its general aspect. In this paper, we conduct intensive questionnaires and research to discover the causes behind the weakness of novice learning programming languages in Omani higher education institutions focusing on Nizwa University. Based on these tasks and results, we will propose our solutions to overcome these problems and issues.

Mohamed Aissa, Mouza Al-Kalbani, Saleh Al-Hatali, Ahmad BinTouq
Optical Simulations and Analysis for Single and Double Layer Antireflection Coatings on Si Solar Cells

Single and double layer antireflection coatings on silicon-based solar cells were simulated and tested using Lumerical software for optical analysis in this paper. Solar spectrum AM1.5 was used in the simulation. In addition, wavelengths of interest were 300–1100 nm to match the bandgap of the absorber layer Si. The simulated ARCs of theoretical values and original materials were built and evaluated in terms of average reflectance, weighted reflectance, and short-circuit current. Si3N4 based SLAR on Si cell achieved the highest Jsc of 39.42 mA/cm2. The DLAR coated cells based on SiO2/ZnS and SiO2/TiO2 obtained Jsc of 39.07 and 37.87 mA/cm2, respectively. Through analyzing the results, it was concluded that the 2nd/bottom layers of both DLARs materials had noticeable absorption at short-wavelengths of the solar spectrum, which is considered optical losses. Thus, it was recommended to have DLAR’s 2nd layer as an absorber layer in the solar cell, and ZnO is a candidate for this design.

Mohammed Alhashemi, Omar Albadwawi, Ibraheem Almansouri
Patient-Centered Smart Healthcare Information System

Healthcare is a complex system with many actors involved such as Patient, General Practitioner, Hospital, and Pharmacy. The focus is on the Patient, however, actors collaborate to deliver the best healthcare service to the patient. Each of the elements of the healthcare system is a separate complicated system. This paper proposed a patient-centric smart healthcare information system (PCSHIS) integrates and orchestrates Patient Records Repository, General Practitioner Information System, Pharmacy Information System, and Hospital Information System to optimize the expenses of health service delivery and to ensure the best possible healthcare. All systems are built and integrated into a prototype PCSHIS with a software platform for building applications dOS of dWare company.

Kamen Spassov, Denisa Chekresi, Gerta Dervisi, Enduena Lleshanaku, Maria Velichkova
Proper Use of Concord in the Written English Essays of Diploma Students as a Means of Sustainable Development in Nigeria

The purpose of the study was to identify and analyze the concord errors committed by part-time Diploma student of Jigawa State College of Education, Gumel and Jigawa State Polytechnic. It examined the error types, frequency of occurrence, and provide strategies and recommendations to minimize their reoccurrence. One essay test and one structural test were administered, and the identified errors analyzed. The concord errors by the sampled students were obtained. For data analysis, the percentage was used. A descriptive research design was also used. The study area has a population of 265 for 2016/2017. A sample size of 155 (Diploma 1 students) was used for the study. Two researcher-designed instruments were modified and used from J.S. Digga (1990); Concord Error Structural Test (CEST) and Concord Error Written Test (CEWT). The data were presented in tables and simple percentages accompanied by explanatory and descriptive analyses based on which conclusions were drawn. Students tended to avoid the use of passive voice and phrasal verbs. The frequencies of errors committed have a direct negative effect on the academic achievements of students. The study concludes that the remedial measures and strategies could be used to improve the situation were recommended.

Sani Jafar
Proposing Revised KHDA Model of School Improvement: Identification of Factors for Sustainable Performance of Dubai Private Schools

This paper investigatesthe school’s organizational environment and identify the missing links in the current Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) framework. It is an identification of the new factors which can contribute toward better employees’ performance and students’ achievement. A high score on these factors justifies the high standards of educational service and the low score indicates the presence of conditions disabling the school improvement efforts of schools. Initial investigation on the KHDA school’s data has indicated the inconsistent performance pattern among Dubai private schools. The presence of at least five distinct performance patterns has encouraged in conducting a study to identify the reasons which promote such inconsistent performance behavior. Three cultural factors—the sub-culture of collective leadership, sub-culture of creativity and innovation, and the sub-culture of the learning organization—were identified from the past literature, and the proposed model was examined by applying structural equation modeling techniques. Therefore, two research hypotheses that the performance of employees in good schools is better than the employees working in the struggling schools, and that the difference of the performance is due to the difference in the success factors of organizational culture in schools, were established. Findings have confirmed that school culture plays a vital role in the success of KHDA efforts of school improvement. Good Quality Schools (GQS) are successful because they can provide an environment to its employees which enables them to perform effectively, whereas the employees in Poor Quality Schools (PQS) are struggling due to the unfavorable organizational culture and work environment. The study provides valuable information to struggling schools on how to come out of the vicious circle of poor performance quality. It also highlights the importance of the preexamination of the cultural conditions in the schools before applying any systemic school improvement framework. It is recommended that extending advise and support to underperforming schools for promoting conducive cultural conditions in the school environment will help them to obtain better performance results on the KHDA inspection framework.

Muhammad Azeem, Leonardo Jose Mataruna-Dos-Santos, Rabeb Ben Abdallah
Sidewalk Challenges in Amman, Jordan, and the Urge for Context-Specific Walkability Measurement and Evaluation Tools

Toward achieving urban sustainability, research argues that society’s dependence on automobiles must be reduced. In a city like Amman, Jordan where citizens heavily rely on private motorized vehicles in their everyday commute and to tend to their everyday needs, factors including safety, convenience, comfort in addition to pedestrian accessibility and sidewalk connectivity, among others, have gained less attention in city planning efforts, and as a result, walkability—which is increasingly becoming recognized as a fundamental right to people in their cities and an indicator to improved quality of life—has been compromised. Whether interrupted by poor planting choices or equally by misplaced litter bins, ambiguously transformed into extensions to adjacent businesses or private residents, or, suddenly interrupted, sidewalks in a large segment of the city of Amman are increasingly becoming less walkable. Through looking at a number of assessment and evaluation tools designed for the purpose of examining walkability and sidewalk designs in urban neighborhoods, this paper aims to shed the light on this urban complication in the case of Amman as part of the broader mobility and transportation theme toward achieving urban sustainability goals and suggests the development of new tools—or the appropriation of existing tools—in ways that take into account Middle Eastern context particularities and adhere to its specific walkability problems and key concerns. As a result, and in an attempt to further the understanding of the urban phenomenon and in order to develop the suggested tools, this paper preliminarily evaluates the status quo of sidewalks in Amman and identifies the key challenges to good sidewalk design practice that does not look at sidewalks as mere mediums for walking as a physical activity or for arriving to destinations, instead as catalysts for achieving better built environments and better health through promoting an active lifestyle among numerous other benefits. To conclude, this paper aims to contribute to the growing body of discussions on walkability and urban sustainability from a Middle Eastern perspective; it suggests framework interventions and policy recommendations and recognizes the need to develop context-specific walkability and sidewalk design assessment and evaluation tools that take into account Middle Eastern contextual considerations.

Deyala Tarawneh
Simulation of Grey Wolf Optimization Algorithm to Distinguish Between Modigliani’s and His Contemporaries

The process to identify the real painting of an artist is considered a difficult task and needs expert and time to do this operation. This paper presents an automated system to simulate Grey Wolf Optimization Swarm Intelligence Algorithm to distinguish between Modigliani’s paintings and his contemporaries is designed and tested. An automated system to distinguish between Modigliani’s painting and his contemporaries consists of three processing steps. In the first step, the digital paintings for Modigliani and his contemporaries are processed automatically, the second step is feature extraction step, and the last step is the recognition step used Grey Wolf algorithm. An automated system that simulates the Grey Wolf Optimization Algorithm to distinguish between Modigliani’s paintings and his contemporaries has been developed and tested. The testing results show that the rate of the difference is 91.5%.

Laheeb Mohammed Ibrahim, AbdulSattar Ahmad Al-Alusi
Skills Engineering in Sustainable Counter Defense Against Cyber Extremism

This article identifies and classifies the core and additional soft skills required not only by engineers that design the security measures against cyber extremism but by other professionals in the field of cybersecurity. Furthermore, it recommends steps in how these competencies may be developed and evolved. IT-based solutions rely on the process of cognition-extrapolation-algorithm-programming from problem identification to the final product delivery. In all approaches to problem-solving, regardless of the nature of the challenge, the end product is only as good as the parameters that define the programming scope. The program capability and scope are defined by the creativity of its creators. Thus, when creating robust security measures that are designed to guard against cyberattacks by extremists, IT measures are only as useful as the creativity of the designer in the cognition-extrapolation phases of product design. Unexpectedly, this implies that the technical-based capabilities of technologically engineered solutions rely on soft human skills in order to have a practical application Additionally, as engineered products become more complex, work packages are broken down even further to more significant numbers of programmers and thus are even further devoid of individual creativity which is grounded and substantiated by soft skills.

Vladimir Tomašević, Tatjana Ilić-Kosanović, Damir Ilić
Slow Tourism Insights Inspiring Fast Travel Forms via Sustainable Development, the Triple Bottom Line, and Environmental Communication

This research first develops slow tourism as rooted in various social and sustainability movements, concepts and practices of multicultural studies, and lifestyle philosophies. Second, it places slow tourism in the context of worldwide sustainability concerns, substantiated by the business triple bottom line, here placed within the framework of the global travel and tourism industry. Third, it compares two modes of fast tourism, namely, airline and business travel, to two modes of slow tourism, namely, student and religious travel. This comparison prepares the ground for suggestions of how slow travel models and philosophies could inspire and transform fast travel forms regarding their business practices and sustainability implementations in the interests of the global tourism industry. Fourth, those slow tourism inspirations, triple bottom line substantiations and fast tourism transformations are connected to the dynamically evolving field of environmental communication, presented beyond concerns of global warming and environmental protection, and based on media principles such as discursiveness, subsidies, balance and objectivity, frames and agendas, news holes, and environmental reporting. The conceptual contribution of this research lies in connecting slow and fast tourism, sustainability, the triple bottom line and environmental communication. Its practical contribution is the development of action and reflection models as well as transformation motivations for fast tourism forms and expressions. Its overall contribution is a first step toward a new framework of public discourse that now unites global travel and tourism practices and philosophies, worldwide environmental concerns, sustainability substantiations, and their open and fruitful sharing and discussion in global media communication.

Konrad Gunesch
Smart Visa System with Improved Security Features

With the growing number of fake and fraudulent companies that issue visas to UAE, people abroad seek a reliable system application to apply for UAE visa. Wasting money on non-creditable resources pushed people to complain about the non-trusted companies that deliver visas.This paper aims to mitigate the risk of being subject of fraudulent or suspicious ways of getting the visa. This research is about building a visa application system, which allows its users to apply for a UAE visa through a mobile application insecure manner. The Mobile App provides a list of trusted companies in UAE, which through them users can apply for UAE visa. It aids its users to apply for a new visa without compromising their confidentiality. The App is built with high-security features and to be able to integrate with other platforms through many API layers.

Adel Khelifi, Saleha Hashmi, Feras Darwich, Sarah Ali, Ali Al Tenaiji
Students’ Assessment of Electronic Waste Environmental Management and Sustainability at an Emirati Federal Institution

With the ever-shortening lifespan of electronic devices due to advancements in electronics and attractive consumer designs, a dramatic rise in the electronic waste magnitude has been reported as a severe challenge worldwide. These devices do contain not only valuable recyclable materials but also toxic chemicals which can impose human effects and environmental pollution. This paper investigates the awareness among UAE educated people about the electronic waste magnitude. Regionally, UAE generates 17.2 kg of e-waste per capita every year. It ranks among the highest producers of e-waste in the middle-east. As such, in efforts to develop guide strategies and extend awareness among UAE population, a diagnostic survey was conducted and spread among 562 government undergraduate students (202 males and 360 females). One significant finding revealed that despite only one-quarter of the students are not genuinely aware of e-waste definition and its environmental effects; those who are aware are not effectively practicing appropriate e-waste disposal potentially due to the lack of motivation and willingness. Finally, recommendations for engaging students in environmental sustainability through in-campus standards and operations are followed.

Lama Mahmoud, Maisa El Gamal, Wafa Zoghbor
Sustainability Across Generations: What Can We Learn from the Elderly Generation About Sustainability in UAE?

In order to understand sustainability implies, among other factors, to grasp cultural perceptions of the environment and our impact on it. Both sustainability and anthropology are, therefore, intrinsically intertwined and growing numbers of studies have been conducted to examine this relationship (Al Musharrekh 2015). Sustainability and anthropology where they stand include cultural competencies. This research is comparing and contrasting the word sustainability to intergenerational and transgenerational perspectives, aiming to define the term from a United Arab Emirates (UAE) perspective. Fieldwork methods used for this research were anthropological such as Participant Observation (P-O), informal interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The data was collected through surveys distributed to eligible students at the American University in the Emirates (AUE), focus groups with the sociology and anthropology students, and eight visits to the Thukher Social Club for Elderly (males and females). In this research, the focus was sustainability from a cultural perspective: how did the cultural competencies (socially and religiously) influence the lifestyle of elderly UAE generation and the new UAE young population (AUE students). The research results aim to teach the UAE millennial generation how to be sustainable from the elderly about the new modern times. In the end, we intend to reconsider/reimagine our contemporary practices and our relationship to the environment by drawing inspiration from the knowledge of the elders. Based on the data analysis, we offer three recommendations: open a Baraka club in schools, integrate the elderly in higher education and create cross-generational workshops, and lastly, learn from the past when it comes to architecture, reusable materials, and energy.

Casiana Pascariu, Leslie Vandeputte
Sustainability Behavior at the University of Sharjah: A Gender Comparison

Universities around the world have an important role in sustainability which encourage them to conduct campus sustainability studies to measure their sustainability performance. This study aims to assess sustainability performance and compare the level of behavior between males and females at the University of Sharjah. We developed and distributed a questionnaire to all the university populations to measure sustainability behavior. We used a Likert scale and hypothesis testing to analyze the questionnaire. By the end of the questionnaire duration, we received 646 responses, where 238 were males, and 408 were females. To analyze the questionnaire, the sign test was applied to determine the level of sustainable behavior of the males’ and females’ respondents. The results of this test showed that both males’ and females’ behavior levels are high. This is a good sign that both males and females are practicing their daily activities in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, the Wilcoxon–Mann–Whitney test was applied to compare the males’ and females’ behavior levels. As a result, it was found that males have better sustainability behavior. It is recommended that the University of Sharjah organizes more events and activities to boost the behavior level of female respondents. Also, the university may define some rules and regulations to monitor the sustainability behavior at the campus by providing rewards, incentives, and penalties in case of violation.

Anwar Hamdan, Nada Murad, Marah Abdelrazeq, Sadeque Hamdan, Imad Alsyouf, Maamar Bettayeb
Sustainable Energy Development and Nuclear Energy Legislation in the UAE

The MENA region has been experiencing the highest population growth rate in the world since the last century. Concomitantly, energy needs in the region are projected to exceed 50% of the current demand in the upcoming two decades. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the newest addition to the countries that utilize nuclear energy for electricity production. For MENA countries, UAE constitutes the model in operational and regulatory actions in their pursuit of nuclear power. UAE’s principles of transparency, nonproliferation, safety, and security, as well as its willingness to provide full operational access to international organizations, have been the key factors for this development. This study analyzes UAE’s regulatory framework with the emphasis on the organizational structure of FANR, the country’s nuclear regulatory body. Comparisons are made with USA and France, which have mature institutional structures and suggestions are provided for improving FANR’s organizational chart. Our article also discusses issues of independence and accountability of regulatory bodies, pertinent to MENA countries’ agencies.

Evan K. Paleologos, Abdel-Mohsen O. Mohamed, Eric Canal-Forgues
The Character Traits of Polyglots What Can Be Learned from and About Polyglots for Sustainable Foreign Language Learning and Education?

Despite the fact that no scholarly research has been conducted until now on polyglots, or extreme language learners, or on polyglottery, namely the process of enthusiastic language learning that leads to becoming and being a polyglot, investigative journalists commonly report that polyglots display a pattern of specific character traits. A pioneering survey was designed that asked detailed questions about both general character traits and language learning habits. This was distributed to attendees of an International Polyglot Conference. Using cluster analysis based on two questions (number of languages known and number of languages studied), the 640 respondents were divided into three groups (low, middle, and high). These were then compared both which each other and with the random probability among the general population of displaying various character traits in order to test two counter hypotheses. Hypothesis A was that an extreme language learner has a more-than-random chance of being a gay, left-handed male on the autism spectrum, with an autoimmune disorder, such as asthma or allergies (i.e., their success is due to immutable traits). Hypothesis B was that the successful and sustainable language learning achievements of polyglots are due to mutable factors such as time spent studying, discipline, and systematic study habits. Although hypothesis A was proven wrong in many of its specific claims about immutable character traits, other immutable character traits were discovered that polyglots do display more commonly than these are prevalent among the general population. Hypothesis B was substantiated, suggesting that normal learners can learn successful and sustainable habits by emulating those of polyglots.

Alexander Arguelles
Sustainable Modes of Mobility in New Urban Neighborhoods in UAE: Assessing Walkability and Bikability

Sustainable modes of mobility within local communities are not only enhancing the physical and mental health of the residents, but they have significant social benefits. As residents are encouraged to abandon using their cars to access locally provided amenities, they develop more cohesive social relationships within their local communities. UAE has recently adopted a sustainable development agenda that endorses eco-community development where the conventional car-dependent sprawl urban forms are being transformed into more compact ones. This new trend has been reflected in recent new designs of urban communities in which it is claimed that sustainable urbanism principles, including sustainable modes of mobility, have been considered. However, there is a lack of reliable evidence that can assess the prospective performance of these new urban forms in terms of walkability and bikability. This study compares ‘walkability’ and ‘bikability’ scores, that range from 0 to 100, in both a conventionally developed urban sprawl neighborhood, and a recently designed more compact urban neighborhood. For investigating the two modes of mobility, the UMI urban modeling simulation tool has been utilized in this study to test walkability and bikability proximity to the points of interest for the provided local amenities in each of the two case studies. Walkability and bikability scores were obtained through constructing a pedestrian/cyclist travel network and performing a series of shortest path calculations using Dijkstra’s algorithm. It has been surprisingly found out that the new neighborhood achieved lower walkability and bikability scores despite being more compact where walkability scored 61 versus 66 for the conventional sprawl case study. The same result has been found out for bikability, where the score was 85 for the former and 96 for the later. These unexpected results indicate that the new ‘compact’ design has not reached to a sufficient and appropriate degree of compactness that takes into consideration not only the Floor Area Ratio, but also other important walkability/bikability factors including catchment distances, variety and sufficiency of provided amenities, global and destination weights of amenities, street intersection densities and average block length.

Khaled Galal Ahmed
Sustainable Tourism Development in Historical Cities Case Study: Karak, Jordan

Cultural tourism is essential in conserving and realizing the value of our heritage. Furthermore, in Jordan, the tourism industry was set as a priority, and the urban heritage of Jordanian cities has been identified as one of the country’s valuable assets. The Jordanian government is working to working to develop, or attract investment in the tourism sector; to improve productivity and living standards; and create and sustain a vibrant economy. This study discusses the Jordanian experience in sustainable tourism development of historical cities, such as the historic city of Karak, as in this case study. This study aims to preview the emergence of the sustainable cultural tourism industry in Jordan; analyze sustainable tourism development strategies in Karak; study the obstacles to the application of sustainable solutions; and determine ways of activating sustainable tourism strategies. This study concludes with the importance of increasing efforts toward the application of sustainable tourism strategies in Jordan and encouraging the participation of the local and private sectors to ensure the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Jawdat Goussous, Oraib Al-Jaafreh
The Criminal Offense of Tax Evasion in the Law of the Republic of Serbia and International Standards

This paper addresses the challenges of Tax evasion and the degree to which the Republic of Serbia’s laws have been harmonized with international standards in this area. Tax evasion is a problem faced by every country in the world to a greater or lesser degree. Crimes of tax evasion are often followed by money laundering and other methods of financial fraud, which creates an even more significant problem. These financial crimes, which jeopardize the financial systems within countries, have led to the establishment of international instruments in which countries cooperate to combat these crimes. The Republic of Serbia is also faced with this problem, leading to its formal criminalization under the Criminal Code. However, the use of this criminalization in practice causes numerous problems related to differing interpretations of tax codes on account of the complexity of the financial laws and regulations.

Aladin Šemović, Šaban Gračanin, Dženan Koca
The Legal Status of Nuclear Energy in the United Arab Emirates: Great Ambitions, Great Partnership, Sustainability and Complete Respect of International Law

The UAE’s peaceful nuclear program has a strategic position and an essential and dynamic role in supporting the country’s growth by promoting energy security and diversifying the economy. This paper describes the current status of the legal aspect of nuclear energy in the United Arab Emirates in light of international multilateral and bilateral agreements. As the industrial progress of societies increases in the UAE, the need for nuclear energy becomes a major priority. Interest in nuclear power has been revitalized as a result of unpredictable fossil fuel prices. For the Emiratis, the traditional energy of sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas, will be depleted in a century, as well as the traditional sources constitute a significant risk for the environment both when extraction and transport or when producing energy. In this direction and since the traditional sources are limited, officials in the UAE believe that it is necessary to find new alternatives to energy, so the UAE has turned its attention to nuclear energy. The United Arab Emirates is one of the leading countries in the Arab region that has realized this importance and has started to speed up the process by installing many projects to establish peaceful nuclear reactors that comply with international legal standards in terms of safety, environmental protection, security and non-proliferation. In 2009, the UAE President approved Federal Law by Decree No 6 of 2009, Regarding the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

Amer Fakhoury
The Role of General Education in Students Perspective: The Case of Higher Education in Dubai, UAE

General Education is part of the curricular structure of any program in any colleges and universities around the world. Its contribution to the principal/concentration and courses makes the students more aware of the ethical, moral, and societal well-being of the society they are in. Thru the years, we have seen that General Education started to evolve on what it is today because of modern development, migration, multicultural diversity, competition, and more. The purpose of this study is to assess the students view on the significance and relevance of General Education. Also, it explores the areas for improvement in General Education and how it can be sustained and linked to the social responsibility of students. This paper serves as an eye-opener on the value and importance of General Education in molding responsible and ethical students.

D. F. Antiado, Fermin G. Castillo, S. Y. Marzouki, M. I. Tawadrous
The Role of Humor in Sustainable Education and Innovation

The information is surrounding us, which is analyzed consciously and unconsciously in everyday routine. The education should be more than a task to be accomplished, and it should be a philosophy to adopt and to follow in each day routine as it is the cornerstone of any development. Therefore, we have to guarantee its quality and efficiency to make this development sustainable. John Goodlad (1997) emphasized the fact that the role of the classroom climate is a significant factor in explaining the difference in the quality of educational establishments. Mitchell Bradshaw (2010) describes the school climate as an essential synergy existing between students, teachers, and administrators. This research demonstrates the importance of the humor in the class dynamic as a Communication Facilitator, a predictor factor of student mental health and an actor of school success. Also, to identify the role of humor in the adolescent process through the study of the functioning of the preconscious, the narcissism, the individuation process, and the socialization. The research conducted through the use of a cross-clinical, quantitative, and qualitative method starting by administrating a humor questionnaire exposing the humor style of the adolescent. Then we took from each group of humor a sample, and we evaluated their personality through the Thematic Apperception Test. Results showed that the type of humor used by the adolescent could be a good predictor of his social relations and his ability to build a stable identity. These findings are of great interest in enhancing classroom climate and improving the learning process.

Mrabet Jihene, Riadh Ben Rejeb, Pascal Le Maléfan
TQM in Higher Education for Sustainable Future

Total Quality Management (TQM) had gained increasing interest and application in higher education over the last decades. This paper presents the concept of TQM in a higher educational institution on how they can sustain TQM for a sustainable future. Higher educational institutions must first understand that in order to function effectively and efficiently, they must determine the exact ends they wish to achieve and adopt the most rational method and style in pursuing them. “From customer satisfaction to customer delight,” is the vital message of Total Quality Management (TQM). There is a need to identify and apply the relevant concepts of TQM to every aspect of academic units; i.e., teaching, research, community services, and administrative supports. The integral part of TQM advocates at the higher educational institutions is primarily top management, senior administrators, and faculty member/staff.

Fermin G. Castillo
Urban Performance and Sustainable Environment: Ajman as a Case Study

Urban Performance is an assessment tool that can achieve a Sustainable Environment, as it can be an effective tool for the decision-makers by highlighting the different physical and socio-economic potentialities and impacts of each district or sector, or even city. However, the ability of existing assessment tools to achieve such objectives is limited, and reduces the reliability of the results and sometimes prevents the realization of sustainable environment. This paper studies the urban performance and sustainable environment in Ajman, UAE. In U.A.E, there is an increased recognition of the need for sustainable environment and the development of assessment tools has begun. The methodology used in this paper consists of defining the indexes of the urban performance at the city level, then by looking at the different districts in Ajman, determining and evaluating each index through the categories for each index and through the attributes that constitute each category. The analysis of these attributes leads us to establish a framework for the assessment of the urban performance.

Bouzid Boudiaf
Use of Advanced Organizers in Learning Conservation Concepts Among Secondary Students for Sustainable Development in Nigeria

This study investigated the effect of advanced organizers on retention and performance in conservation concepts among secondary Biology students in Jahun, Jigawa State, Nigeria. One hundred and thirty-seven (137) students were randomly selected from eleven (11) senior secondary schools that constituted the sample for the study from a total population of one thousand two hundred and twenty-five (1225) SSII students in Jahun zone. The study adopted the pretest, posttest, and post-posttest quasi-experimental, and control group design. The students in the experimental group were taught using the lecture method enriched with advanced organizers while those in the control group were taught using lecture method for 6 weeks. The topic taught was the conservation of natural resources from the senior secondary school curriculum. The instrument used for data collection was the Conservation Concept Performance Test (CCPT) with a reliability coefficient of 0.89. Two research questions and two null hypotheses were formulated and tested using independent t-Test at 0.05 level of significance. Pictorial and textual advanced organizers were developed and also a lesson plan was developed for experimental and control groups. The significant findings from the study include: obtaining a significant difference between the mean academic performance scores of students taught conservation concepts with advanced organizers and those taught without advanced organizers in favor of the former. There is also a significant difference between the mean retention scores of students taught conservation concepts with advanced organizers and those taught without advanced organizers in favor of the former. Based on the findings it was recommended that advanced organizers are used by Biology teachers to teach in senior secondary schools among others.

Auwal Kassim Abubakar
Virtue Ethics, Technology, and Sustainability

Virtue ethics in the West received its first extensive elaboration and defense in ancient Greek philosophy. Requiring the cultivation of true character, both of the ethical and intellectual kind, virtue ethics emphasizes developing character traits such as courage, honesty, and practical wisdom over deploying abstract theoretical principles as a way of contributing to individual happiness and social harmony. With rapid changes in social structures and technologies, ancient and medieval virtues may seem quaint and irrelevant today. Is virtue ethics suitable only for the sort of premodern societies in which great virtue ethicists like Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas lived or does the theory have something essential to contribute to pressing contemporary debates?. This paper argues the situational form of virtue ethics: Some essential virtues are applicable in most times and societies, including our own, but they necessarily are expressed in a variety of ways in different circumstances. I then briefly explore contemporary versions of the virtues that would help us navigate a world of rapidly evolving technology that threatens to undermine environmental and social sustainability. These virtues, suitably updated, are as badly needed today as they were thousands of years ago.

William Cornwell
Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility—Volume 2
Ph.D. Ahmed N. Al-Masri
Prof. Dr. Yousef Al-Assaf
Copyright Year
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN