WISE holds its 10th summit to mark human skills

Over 3,000 educators, charities, dignitaries, businesses, entrepreneurs and not-for-profits gathered from 100 countries for the largest WISE event yet.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser presents Larry Rosenstock with the WISE Prize for Education

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser presents Larry Rosenstock with the WISE Prize for Education

Last week, the richest country in the world according to IMF used its bustling and historical city of Doha to promote education, skills and professional development.The eyes of the world have been on Qatar these past months. The country will be home to the FIFA World Cup in 2020 for the first time in its history and the first Arab nation to do so. Meanwhile, the rapidly developing peninsular with a population of just over two million has also been the subject of diplomatic and trade disputes in the MEA region.

WISE 2019: What it means to be human

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the conference held at the Qatar National Convention Centre on 19-21 November boasted a diverse programme. The overarching theme of WISE 2019 being Unlearn: Relearn: What it means to be Human.Inspiring talks, insightful reflections and star-studded appearances were the order of the day, with a powerful keynote from the President of Armenia H.E. Armen Sarkissian on lifelong learning and equality. While Qatar’s Minister of Education, Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi, Grammy-award winning musician Shakira and the First Lady of Paraguay, Silvana Lopez Moreira, discussed challenges and solutions in meeting each of their country’s development goals.

Qatar’s Minister of Education, Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi

The minister went on to state that special needs education and integration has been an important priority for Qatar and that its universities are opening their doors and focused on scientific research. ‘We know that the main wealth of Qatar lies in its human resources,’ he said.

IPSOS: young people expect companies to train them

Interesting sessions included a Q+A with the CEO of Global Affairs at IPSOS, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who gave her views on technology advances and how rapid information sharing is altering education and employment practices.Quoting a recent IPSOS report, she noted that the vast majority of 16-25 year olds thought the main stakeholder who should train them for the future of work are employers. “There is now a huge expectation among young people for private sector companies to upskill them.”

AI and disruption: more needs to be done to understand new skills required

As former education minister of France, Vallaud-Belkacem expressed concerns with AI and suggested there was more to be done to understand disruption and the specific new skills required. The role of schools in an AI world was also explored, as well as the need “for citizens to retain free will and not be manipulated by technologies.”
Throughout the event was a refreshing focus on practitioners from different fields learning from each other to find creative solutions for acute social, economic, environmental and technological challenges.

Champions of Skills

Other standout seminars included Champions of Skills. The 75-min forum featured six unique talks on how to teach employees and/or students character skills to improve their personal and professional settings. Among the speakers were interesting perspectives and case studies from executive director Gilad Babchuk of social enterprise Groundswell, Jeremy Lamri – entrepreneur and co-founder of Monkey Tie, The HR Lab and Hub France AI to Bhutan’s visionary Minister of Education, Thakur S Powdyel.

Wise Prize for Education

The final day of the summit closed with a stirring speech from Wise Prize for Education winner CEO and founding principal Larry Rosenstock who was earlier presented an award by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser for his technical training schools. High Tech High provides young people with ‘project-based learning’ in San Diego so that they are prepared to work as soon as they complete study.“The world is changing and schools are not,” said Rosenstock. A message that was echoed by educators to business leaders right till the end of the summit. But as founder and CEO of Amwal and Al Waab City Real Estate Development Sheika Hanadi succinctly put it: “education is a multi-stakeholder affair,” and is enhanced when “we view ourselves as global citizens”.

Read more on WISE in our reports on the future of work and international mindedness and the shifting role of international schools.

For more news and features, visit our Education section.

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