The second World Innovation Summit for Education – WISE - was officially opened in Doha today by His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE, in the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation.
In an address to the 1,200 delegates, Sheikh Abdulla said: "Our aspiration is to bring together multiple stakeholders and to connect theory with practice, because this kind of collaboration is critical in facing the most urgent and complex issue of our time – Building the future of education."
WISE 2010 brings together leading thinkers and practitioners from academic institutions, the public sector, international organisations, private corporations and the voluntary sector from over 100 countries with the aim of raising the status of education as a topical world issue, seeking new ways to improve both access and quality, and inspiring practical initiatives which will make a real difference to the lives of people across the globe.
Lakhdar Brahimi, former Algerian Foreign Minister and veteran UN Envoy, said: "When dealing with a new generation of conflicts around the world and trying to help a country establish and consolidate peace after conflict, education is always a key component of any peace process."
In a special video message contribution for the WISE Summit, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, said: "From its inception, WISE has understood that knowledge is the foundation of personal success, strong communities, thriving economies and peace, prosperity and progress for all nations. WISE knows that the challenge we face in the 21st century is to unite technology with our humanity and to ensure that our newest technologies advance our most cherished values."
As one of the WISE eminent voices, Ellen McArthur, Chairman of the Ellen McArthur Trust reminded delegates in a video message that "education is all about preparing the next generation for the journey ahead".
Generating clear outcomes is a priority for WISE and this has informed the choice of sub-themes for the Summit:
"Improving Education Systems" looks at how existing structures and systems in education can be continuously enhanced.
"Exploring Innovative Trends" highlights the search for entirely new ways of thinking, skill sets and delivery methods that modern-day education requires.
An additional Plenary Session on "Funding Education" acknowledges the fact that the Summit is convening at a time of prevailing global economic downturn.
Parallel to the Summit's main programme are workshop sessions which reflect a commitment to promoting collaborative action. One session, "Rebuilding the Education System in Haiti", is a compelling example of a situation that calls for an immediate and coordinated response from a global audience.
Outlining his aspirations for WISE 2010, H.E Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani commented: "My wish is that at the end of this Summit, you will go home having connected with an international community, having shared your concerns and views, and having been inspired by other participants – all of which will help empower you to achieve new things in your own local environment."