The WISE Institute for Education Leadership has held its first seminar in Doha, Qatar. Over three-and-a half days, 12 leaders of higher education establishments in nine developing countries took part in a training and networking program designed around their stated needs.
The programme included case studies, workshops and masterclasses intended to spark discussions on such topics as: skills required by graduates in 2025; top-level decision-making; governments and governance; the role of the university and its students in world society.
Experienced facilitators structured the sessions by offering some of their own insights and experience as university leaders in various environments and encouraging participants to do the same, thus creating a multi-directional interchange.
The first WISE Institute for Education Leadership was delivered in partnership with the International Association of University Presidents and the Institute of International Education, two of Qatar Foundation's partners in the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Participants were selected through an application process using the networks of WISE.
Through feedback from participants and trainers, three main priorities were identified:
All higher educational institutions should learn to operate in an international context. Higher education must develop new skills for the 21st century, such as managing information and technology.While there are generic characteristics of successful leaders, the way these are exercised needs to take account of cultural variations.
Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Chairman of WISE, Qatar Foundation, said:
"The first event organized by the WISE Institute for Education Leadership exceeded our expectations. This was a unique opportunity for high-calibre educational leaders from different parts of the world to share ideas and experiences. For the participants, it clearly helped develop new approaches to tackling daily challenges and preparing for the tasks and responsibilities that lie ahead. For WISE, it represents another highly promising context for international collaboration in education."
Like WISE itself, the WISE Institute for Education Leadership promotes the cause of education globally, at all levels. Its focus will be to assist in the development of leadership skills, especially for people recenlty appointed to senior positons in developing countries.
"It was fascinating to discover that people in my position in other parts of the world face very similar challenges," said Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar, Rector of the National Textile University in Pakistan. "Despite the diversity of our institutions and cultural backgrounds, we all share a responsibility to ensure that young people are equipped for a rapidly changing and often unpredictable world."
The 12 participants of the first WISE Institute for Education Leadership were:
Dr Rafiqul Islam Muhammad Aminur, Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Open University, Bangladesh Dr Khalil Hindi, President, Birzeit University, PalestineDr Carlos Felipe Escobar Roa, President, El Bosque University, Colombia Dr Joshua Alabi, Rector, Institute of Professional Studies, GhanaDr Komattil Ramnarayan, Vice Chancellor, Manipal University, India Dr Amarjit Singh, Vice Chancellor, Dr. D.Y. Patil University, IndiaDr Salah Aziz, President, Kurdistan University of Science and Technology, IraqDr Peter Bray, Vice Chancellor, Bethlehem University, PalestineDr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar, Rector, National Textile University, PakistanDr Nazir Ahmed Mughal, Vice Chancellor, University of Sindh, PakistanDr Mustafa Idris Elbashir, Vice Chancellor, University of Khartoum, SudanDr Hind Hanafy, President, Alexandria University, Egypt