Posted on June 08, 2015

Al Faisal Without Borders Foundation (ALF) sent 22 teams from Qatar and one from Jordan to compete in the Destination Imagination (Wajeh Wujhatak) Global Finals held in Knoxville, Tennessee, US, in late May. To an audience of over 17,000 the Qatar and Jordan teams competed alongside 1468 teams from 17 countries. The ‘Qatar Pearls’ team from Moza Bint Mohammad School came in 12th out of 50 teams in the Improvisation category and the ‘Supernova’ team from Amna Bint Wahab School took 14th place out of 49 teams in the Fine Arts challenge.

HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of ALF, said:” One of the essentials pillars of our vision at AlFaisal Without Borders is an interest in education, and to provide an improved quality of life for people in our community – “giving people something which no-one can take back”. This is why we brought the DI life skills program to Qatar, to empower students and schoolchildren here. Qatar has become the center of this dynamic program in the region and this year we sent our teams from the region to fly the flag for Qatar.”

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Ali Mare, Executive Director of ALF, said: “We are immensely proud of how our 23 teams from Qatar and Jordan competed with over 1400 teams from 17 countries, pitting their creative, innovative and imaginative talents against each other in the various solutions they performed at the DI Global Finals in the US. The dynamic DI empowerment program that has brought significant personal and social benefits to Qatar’s youth over the past year has grown by 600% growth,capturing the imagination of schools, students and their parents across the country. The two schools that came in 12th out of 50 teams and 14th out of 49 teams proved themselves to be worthy ambassadors for Qatar, highlighting the country’s leadership in innovative education initiatives.”

At the Global Finals, Qatar had a stand at the Passport Party, a major event where teams from all over the world could come and learn Arabic phrases and try on traditional Qatari dress. Qatar pins were very popular and trading pins with teams from other parts of the world, saw the Qatar and Jordan teams sharpen their communication and negotiation skills. The Global Finals were also livestreamed for all to watch on DITV, set up and sponsored by IBM. The University of Tennessee, which hosted the Global finals campus, served halal food and provided prayer rooms for Qatar students to uphold their Islamic principles while at the tournament.

Alf Foundation General Manager Abdullatif Al-Yafei said: “Sending our teams to compete in the DI Global Finals in the US reflects ALF’s mission to promote innovative educational development and the capabilities of our young people in line with the 2030 Vision to support human capital. The DI Global Finals demonstrated what students can achieve through collaboration, creativity, scientific research, problem solving and critical thinking, as they developed skills to help them excel in life.  The DI Program promotes life-long learning, teaching students to adapt to an ever changing world and become active decision makers of the future. We congratulate all the students that took part for their creativity, resilience and ideas and salute them for their hard work and efforts.”

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Students had the chance to visit surrounding areas of Knoxville such as the Smoky Mountains to go horseback riding, cave exploring and enjoy helicopter rides.

Following the tremendous success of the DI Qatar program in its second year 2014-2015, some 160 schools with 500 teams from Qatar and 50 international teams from the rest of the world representing various countries such as China, India, Poland, Turkey, Canada, Mexico and various states within the USA, will take part in a 4-day Tournament in 2016. AlFaisal Without Borders will host the first DI Qatar Invitational in 2016 after being singled out by the US DI Headquarters for its exemplary growth of the DI program in the region.

At the Awards Ceremony at Global Finals US 2015, last year's DI invitational host, China, did a formal handover by passing the invitational DI flag on to Qatar at a special event in the Closing Ceremony, ready for Qatar to host next year’s major DI event.