Posted on November 21, 2019

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, today attended the opening ceremony of the WISE Summit 2019, held under the theme of UnLearn ReLearn: What it means to be Human.

Also in attendance were Dr. Armen Sarkissian, President of the Republic of Armenia; Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation; ministers; first ladies; dignitaries; and global education leaders; alongside 3,000 participants from more than 110 countries – signifying a record number of attendance.

Taking place from November 19-21, speakers, education specialists, and thought-leaders will participate in more than 150 plenary sessions and debates across the two-day conference. Among the questions at the heart of the discussions this year are: Should schools teach students how to be happy? Will artificial intelligence make teachers obsolete? Can the latest discoveries in neuroscience make our kids smarter? Do students care about what they are learning? Should schools get rid of grading systems? Should students pledge a percentage of their future salary to fund their higher education?

“Education is a very important aspect of our lives. Education is for everybody, and I am hoping to walk out of these doors a little wiser,” said Dr. Armen Sarkissian, President of the Republic of Armenia. “I don’t have a comprehensive answer to what and how to educate our children. I am here to learn from you; but I would like to add a few points to your discussions today. “I believe education should have one important function – to find talent. Every child is born with some talent, and as educators, your job is to nurture it. Secondly, you must remember that not everyone has the same privileges as you – many are deprived of basic rights such as education. So, never forget to share. And finally, I want to tell the youth to believe in themselves.”

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His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education for the State of Qatar, noted that WISE is an important international platform where discussions on innovation in education have been taking place over the last 10 years. “WISE is gathering an international spotlight among those who take a keen interest in discussing education in a holistic manner, and who see education as a core for human development and a tool for the upliftment of societies,” said His Excellency Dr. Al Hammadi. “Human development is the cornerstone of Qatar's National Vision 2030,” His Excellency Dr. Al Hammadi added, referencing the national curriculum. 

“The values of tolerance, mutual respect, cultural understanding, understanding of the pillars of global citizenship, renunciation of intolerance, violence, terrorism, and commitment to sustainable development have become the foundation of Qatar's educational curriculum and an integral part of its construction. “The presence of such a large group of policymakers, thought-leaders, researchers, teachers, and youth sends the message that education is not the responsibility of a particular institution, but a responsibility that we all share, because education has an impact on our world and our future as human beings.”

The opening ceremony saw Her Highness Sheikha Moza present Larry Rosenstock, CEO, High Tech High, with the 2019 WISE Prize for Education Laureate. Stavros Yiannouka, CEO, WISE, in his announcement of the 2019 WISE Prize for Education, said, “The WISE Prize was established in 2011 under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Moza. The prize is the first of its kind to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contributions by an individual or a team in the field of education. As a long-standing advocate of education – as an essential human right – Her Highness Sheikha Moza understood the need for such a recognition.

“As noted at the time, the aim of this prize to raise global awareness of the crucial role that education plays in all societies, and create a platform for innovative and practical solutions that might help alleviate some of the challenges that education faces around the world. The work of the 2019 Education Laureate encapsulates the essence of this prize.”

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During his acceptance speech, Mr. Rosenstock said: “I want to thank Her Highness Sheikha Moza and Qatar Foundation not just for recognizing my work but for creating this prize which elevates the work of educating young people globally. “For me to be in the company of past winners of this prize, who have now made an impact in education around the world, is very moving. I have been most fortunate to be surrounded by passionate educators who engage students naturally, develop their skills and help them set their sights higher.”

The opening plenary session of WISE 2019 Summit was moderated by Yalda Hakim, Presenter-International Correspondent, BBC World News. Other speakers at the opening plenary session were Max Tegmark, Co-founder, Future of Life Institute; Nicholas A. Christakis, Professor, Yale University; and Najat Vallaud Belkacem, CEO, Global Affairs, IPSOS; Former Minister of Education, France. Established 10 years ago, more than $28 million donations and investments raised by startups have been supported by WISE. During this time, WISE has also served 150 organizations, projects and start-ups, and has represented more than 254 million beneficiaries.

Ever since WISE was established, it has been committed to advancing quality education and emphasizing its role in empowering individuals and enabling societies to thrive – not just in Qatar, but throughout the world. WISE is a worldwide community of partners, thought-leaders, and change-makers established as a leading global forum.

For more information about the summit, please visit: www.wise-qatar.org/wise-2019/

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