H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), strongly advocated for the need to protect education from attacks and destruction in her opening remarks at the 11th edition of the WISE Summit.
The opening ceremony of the two-day global education summit gathered more than 2000 education industry stakeholders to promote discussions under the theme ‘Creative Fluency: Human Flourishing in the Age of AI.’
Minister of Finance H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health H E Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, H E Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani and several other dignitaries also graced the occasion at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
H E Sheikha Hind awarded the WISE Prize for Education to Safeena Husain, Founder and Board Member of Educate Girls recognising her contribution to promoting education among girls through AI.
Chairperson of Qatar Foundation H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser; Minister of Finance H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari (first left); Minister of Public Health H E Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari (first right), and Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation H E Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani (third right), during the opening plenary of 11th edition of WISE summit, yesterday.
Speaking at the WISE opening plenary, H H Sheikha Moza said, “I want to ensure WISE is a platform for new ideas that keep pace with the changes taking place in the world and the obstacles that education faces in certain countries for reasons of which we are all too aware.
“There is no alternative but to innovate if we are to find solutions to intractable problems.”
Speaking about the ongoing crisis in Palestine, H H Sheikha Moza highlighted the work of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation’s Al Fakhoora programme over two decades and the impact of the recent destruction.
“Since the start of the current Israeli aggression in October, 36 Education Above All supported schools and universities have been completely or partially destroyed. And so, Israeli forces have destroyed so much that has been accomplished by the Al Fakhoora programme. With the collapse of each school and each university, we lose a pillar in the foundation of the future. For every child deprived of education because of violence, another pillar is lost,” she said.
“Every time education is targeted, the international community takes more than a single step backward. Our priority and policy must transcend political calculations and machinations. The future of our young people is built on education,” H H Sheikha Moza added.
Displaying a picture of the Palestinian girl Suhaila holding papers taken in 2014, H H Sheikha Moza pointed out that the girl knew well the bitterness of being barred from education.
“It is as if time has been suspended as the moment of destruction is repeated, once again,” she said.
“Because education’s value is taken for granted, only those who are deprived of it realize its true importance. This little one, Suhaila, knows that education would provide her and her family with a better future. A better future that refuses to arrive, because the future is heavy with the threat of annihilation, a threat that was realized in the fate of Al Fakhoora,” H H Sheikha Moza added.
War disrupts educational institutions, exhausts health sectors, and prevents the wheels of development from turning. Those very wheels are buried deep in the debris. And because of this the greatest threat to a society’s progress occurs after the ceasefire. The victims, their old lives buried under the rubble, must rise from the ashes left by the destruction, and start again with nothing,” she said.
The opening plenary session also featured two keynote speakers. Aidan White, founder of the Ethical Journalism Network, highlighted that technological innovation does not inherently lead to progress. For it to benefit humanity, it must be steered by human values, ethics, and respect for all.
“This is the Intelligence Revolution. We stand at the frontier of the age of intelligence. We’ll probably experience more tech-led change in our lives than the humanity that came before us,” he said.
Founder of Tamang Ventures Limited, Nina Schick, discussing advancements in AI technology and its implications on education, said, “We stand at the precipice of the biggest tech-led change in history.”
“…The core question I want to leave you with is not that AI will change the world; we don’t need to debate that. But the core question is: how are we going to adapt?”
Among the highlights of the opening plenary was a moving performance by 15-year-old Palestinian rapper Abdulrahman AlShanti – known as MC Abdul. He emphasized the people of Gaza and the importance of education, which received a standing ovation.
Day one was spread across distinct thematic zones that included diverse sessions covering some of the core summit discussion topics: Classrooms of the Future, AI and Digital Sovereignty, and Building Ethical AI.