DOHA: The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Institute for Education Leadership held its first seminar in Doha with 12 leaders of higher education establishments in nine developing countries taking part in a training and networking programme designed around their stated needs.
The programme included case studies, workshops and master-classes 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 experiences as university leaders in various environments and encouraged 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 organised 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 recently appointed to senior positions 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.