The Educational Affairs Office of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi announced that His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, will deliver a keynote speech on the first day of the Qudwa 2017 Global Teachers’ Forum.

To be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on October 7 and 8 at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the event is set to draw the participation of 900 education professionals from over 80 countries.

Ahead of the second edition of the forum themed, ‘Teaching for the Future’, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said “The U.A.E. spares no effort in helping its young people unlock their creative abilities and in empowering them to achieve their full potential so that they can lead their country towards a prosperous future for generations to come. The UAE is proud of its global reputation as a visionary nation and an incubator for future ideas aimed at developing human capabilities and building a society that is rich in knowledge, science and culture.”

Stressing the importance of the event, that places teachers in the spotlight, he added: “The role of teachers as role models for all generations shall not change regardless of what tools and techniques science and technology may create to facilitate the learning process. These are only means to enable teachers to engage the new generation that uses different methods to acquire knowledge, but still needs a human being to look up to, to instil values ​​and ethics, to stimulate creativity, and to drive home the importance of contributing to the advancement of society.”

Furthermore, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan praised the forum’s mission and objectives that reflect the U.A.E.’s approach to building a society that prioritises knowledge and peace and is deeply aware of its responsibility to participate in global socio-economic development.

UAE in the Spotlight

During the forum, renowned speakers, including several leading U.A.E. officials, will highlight the country’s achievements in the education sector in line with the National Agenda of the U.A.E. Vision 2021. On the first day, His Excellency Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, will deliver a special address on the country’s progress in developing its education system throughout its history.

A series of sessions titled Meet the Mentor is set to host, among other eminent prominent personalities, Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, who will elaborate on how to empower students with critical thinking, innovation and cultural skills as part of the digital revolution. Meanwhile, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, will discuss the role of teachers in formulating initiatives that enrich the cultural and scientific content of the U.A.E.’s National Tolerance Programme.

On the second day, Her Excellency Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education and H.E. Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, will participate in a plenary session on equality in education to deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 4. The session will also host Julia Gillard, Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia. Dr Amal Belhoul, Community Affairs Advisor at the Watani Al Emarat Foundation, will explore the role of teachers in instilling a sense of identity, belonging and connectedness in students.

International Speakers

The list of international speakers at Qudwa 2017 includes Michael Horn, Co-founder and Distinguished Fellow of Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a U.S.-based non-profit think tank, who will address the topics of teaching for tomorrow and reinventing education on the first day of the event. In a plenary address to Qudwa teachers on Day 2, Ron Clark, Founder of the pioneering Ron Clark Academy in the US will argue why environments that prioritise academic rigour and discipline, while celebrating self-expression and creativity, should serve as benchmarks for the way teachers teach and students learn.

In a special address on the second day of Qudwa 2017, Andreas Schleicher, Director of the Directorate of Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), will discuss factors driving innovation in teaching and the characteristics of a creative teacher. In addition, he will highlight international tests TALIS and PISA, and the outcomes of the directorate’s collaboration with the U.A.E. education authorities regarding the performance of its teachers.

In a series of sessions titled Inspirational Stories, Hon. Dalton McGuinty, former Premier of the Canadian province of Ontario, will recount his educational journey and share his insights on making changes in government and schools to support teaching and learning.

The Inspirational Stories sessions are set to convene a group of international personalities who have contributed to fundamental changes in the educational development process, such as Haif Bannayan, CEO of the Queen Rania Teacher Academy, who will explore strategies to support teachers and the importance of preparing teachers in improving education on a national scale. Adam Braun, CEO and Co-founder of MissionU, a debt-free college alternative for the 21st century, and founder of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organisation that builds schools in developing countries, will discuss the role of teachers in motivating students to pursue noble goals.

Victor Ochen, founder of the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, will use his own experience of overcoming conflict to demonstrate how teachers can incentivise contributions from the younger generation to set peace and justice in motion. Dr Naif Al-Mutawa, the founder of the Soor Center for Professional Therapy and Assessment in Kuwait; award-winning serial entrepreneur; and clinical psychologist, will focus on creating culturally relevant narratives for a generation of students inundated with multiple formats of entertainment.

Omar Samra, Egyptian adventurer, serial entrepreneur and UN Goodwill Ambassador, will examine how teachers can inspire students to look beyond the walls of the classroom and open a new world of possibilities. Aggeliki Pappa, founder and CEO of I Love Dyslexia (ILD) school that teaches English as a foreign language (EFL) to students with learning differences, will share her experience in finding solutions to the challenges of dyslexia.

21st Century Skills

As part of Expert Masterclass sessions, Daniel Lerner, bestselling author and professor at New York University (N.Y.U.) will explore the essential elements of happiness and their role in achieving success in and away from the classroom. Dr Ramsey Musallam, science teacher at the Sonoma Academy in the U.S. will discuss tools and techniques that can be most useful to teachers to spark imagination and creativity in the classroom.

In a session on awakening a passion for reading, Ariel Sacks, teacher, author and founder of the website ArielSacks.com, will demonstrate how teachers can blend the best in literacy theory and classroom practice to develop lifelong reading skills in students.

Heather Roy, Technology Teaching and Learning Coach at the American School of Dubai and Google Certified Trainer, and Rania Hadi, Regional Lead – MENA at Google for Education, will introduce the Google for Education Professional Development Masterclass. Moreover, they will provide an overview of the best strategies for integrating Google into the classroom.

Dr. Jan Peter aus dem Moore, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, and Carine Abi Akar, Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, will discuss educational programmes that hone students’ skills and examine how to create lessons that achieve best results. World-renowned educational psychologist Dr. Michele Borba will share character-building strategies and practical tips that any teacher can apply in the classroom to confront bullying, extremism and hatred.

Integrated Learning Strategies

Held in collaboration with O.E.C.D., Teacher Talk sessions will host teachers, technology and entrepreneurship experts, writers and international opinion leaders. Meanwhile, a series of workshops titled Teacher Lab will provide a platform for teachers to share best practices to enhance the quality of education.

Designed by teachers, for teachers, Qudwa Global Teachers’ Forum aims to serve as a global knowledge platform on current and future educational trends. The event offers an ideal opportunity for education professionals from around the world to exchange experience, knowledge and perspectives on teaching for the future, and to build a broad network of relationships to help solve the challenges they face.

In the run-up to the second edition of the forum, organisers developed a mobile application that allows teachers to propose topics they wish to discuss at the forum and vote on issues that are a priority for them.