GCC students take part in the conference at the student centre of the Qatar Foundation yesterday. Abdul Basit
By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: The need for multi-cultural competence within students while keeping identity of the region was stressed yesterday at an international student affairs conference commenced in Doha.
“Diversity is something has to celebrate and learn,” said Dr Abdulla Al Thani, President, Hamad bin Khalifa University, addressing a symposium at the NASPA – ACPA Gulf Conference 2012 hosted by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
Dr Abdulla discussed about the cultural considerations that should be addressed in order to allow for high engagement to be possible and to have positive impact in the Middle East at the symposium on ‘Sustainable Strategies for Student Success.’
The symposium moderated by Dr Susan Komives, Professor of College Student Affairs at the University of Maryland featured a distinguished panel of educational leaders, both from Qatar and the United States, whose work and achievements have developed educational initiatives worldwide.
Dr Sheikha Al Misnad, President of Qatar University expressed her views on the experiences that have the greatest potential impact in creating the graduates required in the knowledge based environment in the future. She explained that students should be capable of taking risks, have courage, utilise the skills, develop flexibility, be open minded and have a passion for the field they have chosen. “Look beyond boundaries, don’t be blind by the glitter,” Dr Al Misnad said.
Dr Gwen Dungy, Director, NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education discussed about the learning and personal characteristics most in need of attention among undergraduate students and the alumni of higher education in the 21st century.
Dr Gwen cited six major factors influencing the 21st century. She explained that technology has become the language of this generation while, social media, innovation, personal and social responsibility, civic learning and democratic engagement and multicultural competence has become important areas of consideration.