Abu Dhabi: The challenges of raising third culture kids in a global world took centre stage as Abu Dhabi championed the role of parents at its first global conference on parenting.
Speaking as part of a panel on the first day of Parenthood: The Unconference, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology, said it is essential for parents to identify and impart nuances of their own cultures that they want children to absorb, even as children gain exposure to a range of cultures in multicultural societies.
The opening was attended by Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, and other government dignitaries and officials, including Sara Musallam, chairman of the Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), and Neo Masisi, first lady of Botswana.
Following the opening, Sheikh Khaled met with international child development and education experts participating in the event, which runs from until November 4.
The three-day conference will feature more than 60 sessions focussing on various topics related to parenthood, and is being organised by the Adek. It aims to empower parents in their journey to raise thriving, resilient children.
Call for parenting information
“A survey of more than 89,000 parents in Abu Dhabi emirate this year found that nearly 40 per cent want access to more guidance on parenting. So this event is designed to start those conversations,” Mariam Al Hallami, director of early childhood at the Adek, told Gulf News.
She added that the conference complements the UAE leadership’s emphasis on improving early childhood care and education.
“We know there is an appetite for more parental support and this event is our first line of response, aligned with the UAE’s goals to deliver an even higher quality of life for all. We are bringing together old and new knowledge to support and empower parents, families, caregivers, educators and ultimately, the children and youngsters whose lives we influence. We are here to reframe the entire parental debate by putting children’s needs at the very center,” Musallam said in her opening address.
Organised at the Etihad Arena, the conference features sessions on parent mistakes, bilingualism, and packing healthy lunchboxes for children. Regional experts will also methods like conscious parenting and mindfulness in raising grounded children.