More than 1200 delegates, including representatives of international organisations, politicians, eminent professors from international universities, business executives, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations from 100 countries worldwide, participated in the WISE -World Innovation Summit for Education* on the topic ”Reinventing Education for Life”, which took place in Qatar from 29 to 31 October.
The purpose of the Conference was to demonstrate the growing gap between the learning we have and the learning we need, as well as to seek solutions so that education can help persons respond in a satisfactory manner to modern challenges.
The participants focused, exchanged views and made proposals on the need and manner of delivering further and supplementary education enabling people to acquire knowledge, skills and tools to improve their personal, professional and social life.
The Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation, HH Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, delivered the opening address. Emphasizing the role of education in human life, she said: ”Education should pave the way to respond to emerging challenges in life, and keep pace with the requirements of a fast developing world. We should bring all our efforts towards innovative solutions to education. When we innovate in education, we innovate in all aspects of life”.
The Chairman of WISE, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, Ph.D., said that ”We must bring life to learning so that education is a means for people to learn in all stages of life. Education and modern life must keep abreast of each other and the mission of WISE is to contribute to making this need come to life. In the last 5 years, the WISE conferences were able to draw attention and garner international recognition; however, we are fully cognizant of the fact that there are still a lot of things to be done”.
Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, attended the Summit as an official guest from Greece. Mrs. Vardinoyannis collaborates with HH Sheikha Mozah on matters of education and broader actions on supporting children and families.
Mrs. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, Mr. Koichiro Matsuura former Director General of UNESCO, Mrs. Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, Mrs. Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education of South Africa, Mrs. Androula Vasileiou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth and many others participated in the Summit.
During the Conference, the 2013 WISE Prize was awarded. WISE Prizes were established in 2011, with the laureate receiving an award of 500,000 dollars, with the purpose of reinforcing the institution of education. The prize enjoys the same standing as other similar international prizes in literature, peace and economy. This year the 2013 WISE Prize was awarded to Mrs. Vicky Colbert, founder of ”Fundacion Escuela Nueva” in Colombia, for creating the educational model of the same name, which improved the quality of basic education in underprivileged schools across Colombia and beyond. This is a programme based on teaching methods, which besides the teachers and pupils, involve families, as well entire communities, bringing learning to people’s everyday life. The educational model Escuela Nueva has become part of the national educational system of Colombia and has been recognized by UNESCO, as well as by the World Bank as one of the most important educational actions in developing countries internationally.
Mrs. Vicky Colbert, upon being presented the prize by HH Sheikha Mozah, said: ”I am very honoured and humbled to receive the 2013 WISE Prize for Education. This Prize recognizes that bringing education to all children and empowering them for lifelong learning is an important foundation for human development, and it is something that can be achieved when teachers and children are given the right tools to lead change”.
The keynote lecture delivered by eminent French sociologist and philosopher, Mr. Edgar Morin, on the first day of the conference, drew a lot of attention. He discussed the necessity for students to learn life skills and not just master subjects. He stated characteristically “It is important for teachers to let learners understand what knowledge is about, not just impart knowledge and underscored the importance of seeing the bigger and complex picture, teaching learners how to navigate a world of uncertainties and mistakes to find truth”.
* WISE was established by Qatar Foundation in 2009 an initiative of HH Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, wife of the Emir of Qatar and UNESCOs Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education. It is an international multilateral platform for creative thinking, dialogue and action aiming at building the future of Education through innovation. It promotes international collaboration in building education for the future by organising conferences and implementing programmes. Its founders ambition is to encourage the formation of alliances so as to seek innovative methods, facilitate access to knowledge and information related to education and, finally, reinforce and spread the messages of its community. WISE has put into implementation a set of programmes that reflect its commitment to encourage innovation in many ways: the Educate A Child mission launched a year ago by HH Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, the WISE Prizes for recognizing people who apply the best educational methods, The Learners Voice Programme, the publication of books and the annual WISE Prize for Education.