We all can’t quite believe it is Thursday evening, the three days at WISE have gone past so quickly and the programme has been engaging from the start. As Award winners we have met hundreds of delegates during the conference – and receive many, many words of congratulation. So here we are in Souq Waqif, soaking up the atmosphere, people watching and continually chatting. Ricardo is our official photographer and is never without his camera and he snaps away while we all talk and eat. The lemon mint drink is a big hit – so thanks to the WISE Team for that recommendation.
Getting together for a bit of down time feels important before we all jet of to the corners of the globe. We wanted to have a chance, over meal to share our reflections and think about our plans for the year ahead.
We couldn’t resist talking abou the Awards Dinner it was a wonderful experience for us all, it was amazing to share a meal and conversations with such a array of important people. Her Highness Sheika Moza bint Nasser deeply impressed every one of us, she had such a deep interest in our work and in education in general. The time she afforded us on the stage to give us many words of congratulation was unexpected and it was wonderful to hear of her personal pride in us as Wise Award Winners. During the week we couldn’t also avoid being impressed by The Chairmen of WISE – Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani . His contributions during the week , right from our arrival on day one when he did a wonderful welcome to us and our fellow speakers – it set us all of on a very positive note for the three days ahead.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed was such a worthy winner of the first WISE Prize for Education. Although many of our projects have been running for a number of years we all felt very much at the start of our journeys when we heard that his commitment to BRAC has spanned four decades. We also met with lots of brilliant and interesting people doing work on the ground like us and the overall range of people and projects represented at the conference is unrivalled – between us we couldn’t think of any other conference or event that would assemble such a diverse group of people.
As Award winners we also have lots of other opportunities to engage with WISE in the future but as we had very little time left in Doha we shared our ideas, had agreements and disagreements about what commitment we might all make to continuing the WISE message. The ideas just kept coming so we’ll share them with the team and see what response we get.
We also thought hard about some of the messages that were coming from the conference and the need for us all as conference delegates to take positive action – so next year we think that everyone who attends the WISE Summit should make a pledge before they come to share their expertise and knowledge with others and make time during their time in Doha to follow that up. We all have expertise to share – so imagine how many free hours of consultancy could result during the week alone. It is such a privilege to attend and this is a small pay back we think.
Di’s best bits and key messages that she will take from the conference
Oh there were just so many but my two favs were the Measuring Progression session on Day 1 Dr Ann Doucette from the George Washington University her contribution was superb. On Day 2 the Identifying Common Denominators for Successful Innovation was full of brilliant contributions too – Stephen Harris from North Beaches Christian School in Sydney presented his school and shared how change had to happen in every lesson, the whole daily experience of school and seeing teachers as professional practitioners not as behaviour managers. This for me had a strong resonance with our vision for Creative Partnerships schools and I was glad to meet Stephen personally to catch up and swap contact details.
I also captured some sound bites from the week – “what gets measured gets done”, “the loss to society of aspirations not being met and talent not being realised”, “Governments seeing education as a cost and not as an investment”, “there isn’t any number I don’t like”, “teachers as facilitators of learning” , “change has to start – but it has to be done one classroom at at time”., “if you don’t empower the teachers, you won’t create the change”