Posted on February 29, 2016

A Creativity Center inspired by Doha Architecture, Bedouins with a Beat, robots and bears... all descended upon the Conference Hall at Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) to participate in a giant brainstorming adventure – Destination Imagination (DI). Hosted by AlFaisal Without Borders (ALF), the Destination Imagination Qatar Invitational Tournament is held at QNCC. DI is held in partnership with Ministry of Education and supported by Social Media Solutions, Qatar Volunteers, Amlak and QNCC.

More than 2200 participants and over 315 teams from Qatar and 13 teams from 7 countries are competing in the Tournament to earn a trip to the global finals in May. DI is an educational competition where teams compete with each other to solve challenges they are given. Each one of the eight challenges (Technical, Scientific, Structural, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Service Learning, Early Learning and Instant Challenge) is different from the other, but they all aim at spurring creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork spirit among the students.

For the “Technical” challenge, teams have to design and build a vehicle able to carry at least one team member across the presentation site multiple times. While in the “Scientific” challenge, students have to research the many ways that camouflage is used by organisms in nature, showcase that and then create and present a story with a plot twist that is caused by the use of camouflage. For the “Service Learning” challenge, teams have to use the creative process to identify, design, plan, and carry out a project that addresses a real community need.

Other Teams are required to engage in quick, creative and critical thinking in the “Instant Challenge”, which details are kept confidential until the day of the tournament. The team members must think on their feet by applying appropriate skills to produce a solution in a period of just five to eight minutes. As part of the “Structural” challenge, teams have to build a structure that can hold weights and at the same time, could produce musical tunes. All that should be done within limited budget and by using materials such as paper, straws and wood, etc.

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For the “Fine Arts” challenge, teams must present in the style of traverse staging a mystery story, then discover, live on stage, which of the three suspect characters is responsible for the mystery. While in the “Improvisational” challenge, teams have to create and perform a four-minute improvisational presentation within a confined space. “Early Learning” challenge is specially designed for youngsters of 5 to 7 years old, whereby teams can learn about maps and how they are helpful to people. Improvisational acting, costumes, props, budgeting, project management, engineering and construction all go into solving those various challenges.

Teams from Qatar opened the four day event with a parade of over 100 schools in the Conference Hall at QNCC. The inaugural ceremony was attended by His Excellency Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ALF, Abdulatif Al Yafei, General Manager of ALF, Ali Mar’e, Executive Director of ALF, Ayed Alqahtani, General Manager of RAF; Mr. Mansour Alsaady, Turkish Ambassador, Ahmet Demirok; Dr. Hessa Sadiq, Dean of Education College at QU; Dr Chuck Cadle, CEO of DI; and Pamela Schroeder, Chair of Board of Trustees of DI. They were joined by teams from around the globe, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco, Poland and USA for the competition. After the ceremony, the VIP guests attended the DI Qatar 2016 Expo opening where they were able to experience activities that instigate innovative learning. The talented sand artist Shayma AlMughairy did an amazing representation of the event in art.

Stressing on the importance of this educational event, His Excellency Sheikh Faisal said: “The ALF Foundation had the opportunity to bring very talented and creative students to our country. They are able to learn more about our culture and this provided us an opportunity to reinforce the time and energy that these young people have invested in a mind-challenging competition that will better prepare them for high school and college.” “We as the private sector, together with private institutions, charities and foundations are doing our best to come up with ideas that serve and improve our country. We are equally proud of the achievements of both Qatari youth as well as educational system of our nation.”

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Mr. Abdullatif Al Yafei General Manager for ALF said: “In adopting this program, we are working very hard to achieve the Qatar 2030 Vision, which aims to build an education system that keeps pace with the modern world. This system encourages students to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating science, technology, engineering, mathematics, the arts and service learning. It is through this unique program that ALF hopes to shed light on the importance of providing an opportunity for students to experience and develop imaginative and original ideas.” “We also express gratitude that with the directives of His Excellency Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, the Foundation could adopt the implementation of this educational tournament,” he added.

International visitors are participating in an extreme challenge where they have 24 hours to understand and solve a challenge being faced. Teams this year have to dream, design and build a Creativity Center inspired by Doha Architecture. They are required to create a blueprint and participate in a mock bartering souq to obtain required materials for building. During the presentation, their meters tall structures had to withstand a simulated Doha sandstorm. In all, the tournament includes presentations from over 300 teams in nine different challenges. They showcase all they had learned about creative problem solving, project management and collaboration with remarkable talents and skills.

Ali Mar’e, Executive Director of AlF, said: “The event is a success in a number of ways. We have students and teachers from across the globe. So, this year we have the prospect of sending of 220 students from 31 teams to the global finals in the US, as DI has really captured the imagination of schools, students and their parents across the country. We also involved over 100 volunteers to help make this event run smoothly along with 160 appraisers, which shows how widespread this program has become. Further, we have enlisted 20 schools in Jordan to participate in DI, involving students in 60 teams, underlining our commitment to operate across borders.”

Many special participants such as College of the North Atlantic, Build a Bear Workshop, Mad Science, Bricklyn, Nirmala’s Creations, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassem Sports Academy, Girnaas, Youth Art Center, International Gold Bookshop, Magic Village, Carbon wheels, Schoolastic, Sky dome, Stenden University Qatar, The Little Engineer Qatar, Vetosis QSTP, Compass, High Touch and High Tech, are involved in the DI Qatar 2016 Expo, and they are providing their interesting experiences to the students during the four days. 

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