The UAE experience as a role model for building ‘Global Citizenship’ was highlighted during the closing plenary of the fifth Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai on Sunday.
Eight key ingredients to the UAE success story were shared by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.
GESF, a Varkey Foundation initiative, is held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Shaikh Nahyan outlined the main ethos of the UAE experience: “Welcome the rest of the world, educate young people so that they can intelligently and confidently engage with the world with curiosity and respect, build a knowledge society, create an environment where people can live without fear, encourage dialogue across all cross-sections of the society, supplement study of native language with other world languages, reward the talents of the entire community – both women and men, join forces with intellectual enterprises worldwide, especially science and technology, and promote universal moral values,” he said, adding that “these will go a long way in making global citizens.”
Hanan Al Hroub, a Palestinian teacher who won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize in 2016, announced the launch of the ‘Teachers for Peace’ initiative, to be financed by Varkey Foundation and Interpeace, with the goal of providing education in emergency situations during and after wars, and to serve as a centre for exchanging best practices.
British adventurer Bear Grylls shared his experience of pushing himself to scale Mount Everest. He said: “It is not about scaling a mountain but about you all [the educators]. You are extraordinary people in a truly extraordinary profession. And you instil in young people vision, courage, hope, humility and kindness, that tenacious spirit that zeal for life, and by doing that again and again, together we can change the world.”
Thomas Friedman, the author of ‘The World is Flat’ and The New York Times foreign affairs columnist, highlighted how education must adapt to today’s age of acceleration defined by three forces – digital globalisation, ‘Mother Nature’ and Moore’s Law.
For companies, this means, turning artificial intelligence to intelligent algorithms so that people can learn faster. For parents, he said the advice for children must be to “think like new immigrants – as we are all immigrants in the age of acceleration…”
Four winners of the Varkey Foundation Challenge Fund, which aims to support education projects that have the potential to achieve significant lasting impact, were announced at the session. The four recipients of the grants are: Invincible Me, a UK children’s mental health charity; Teach for Uganda; Komensky Institute (Slovakia), and Arab Campaign for the Education of All (led by the Teacher Creativity Centre).