Posted on March 23, 2019

To celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness, Qatar Foundation International (QFI), a US-based member of Qatar Foundation, has joined partners including Salzburg Global Seminar, ETS, and Microsoft Education to promote the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) for all children.

In a Salzburg Global Seminar statement released on March 20 on SEL, there is a shared understanding that for adults to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world, children require ‘soft skills’ such as communication and collaboration in order to foster dignity, respect, and a sense of connectedness that also benefits communities and nations. The statement was compiled by over 75 education leaders, academics, and practitioners, and has been translated into Arabic by QFI.

Maggie Mitchell Salem, Executive Director, QFI, said: “We believe it is essential to advance SEL, given our mission of building cross-cultural understanding across geographic boundaries. If SEL is more explicitly included in all types of learning, individuals are better able to confidently navigate an increasingly interdependent world, and communities become more resilient.” Within the statement, Salzburg Global Seminar – a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting current and future leaders by connecting local innovators with global resources – also cites its main focus as being to make a case for the systemic application of SEL in curriculum and to promote best practices for transformative education reform around the world.

Dominic Regester, Program Director, Salzburg Global Seminar, said: “The skills and competencies that SEL programs can help all learners develop are valuable for the economies of tomorrow; for fairer, kinder, more inclusive societies; for psychological wellbeing; and for helping to achieve better learning outcomes for all students, but especially the most vulnerable.” Dr. Carine Allaf, Senior Program Advisor, QFI, said: “We translated the statement into Arabic in recognition of the needs of millions of refugees and migrants, especially those who are Arabic-speakers, who have suffered severe trauma, including the loss of family and friends. SEL can be used by humanitarian workers and volunteers in home and host communities to help displaced children and adults.”

This is the third year that QFI has supported Salzburg Global Seminar’s ‘Education for Tomorrow’ program. Additional program partners include the British Council, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Porticus, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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