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Story | Research
22 November 2019

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser attends closing ceremony of WISE Summit 2019


Summit concludes with special address from this year’s WISE Prize for Education Laureate

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, today attended the closing ceremony of the WISE Summit 2019, which saw the conference draw a record attendance of more than 3,000 participants from 110 countries, including social entrepreneurs, innovators, educators, researchers, policy makers, and renowned artists.

The closing ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation.

In the 10 years since its founding, WISE has established itself as a global reference in new approaches to education. The focus of the WISE Summit 2019 was to challenge conventional ways of thinking about education, and centered around the theme of UnLearn, ReLearn: What it means to be Human.

The WISE Majlis was one of the summit’s main features.

Topics covered over two days of plenaries, roundtables, workshops, and panel discussions ranged from youth identity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to increasing student engagement in learning, empowering youth through experiential learning, and migration and displacement in the MENA region. The event also saw the launch of Educate a Child’s Zero Strategy (children out-of-school).

The WISE Majlis, based on the traditional Arabic majlis gathering space, remains one of the main features of the summit. This year, the WISE Majlis was geared towards interactive sessions such as Pitch It, a start-up talent show where innovators had the opportunity to present their projects to a jury made up of a journalist, an educator, a youth, and a business leader. The Hear my Story stage encouraged storytelling and candid input from the WISE Community and beyond, while Help me Solve It featured a series of quick brainstorming sessions. The hands-on learning labs and creative installations drew 820 pupils from schools around the country.

Nothing is impossible if we are WISE enough to put Education Above All

Stavros N. Yiannouka

The Meet the Author sessions at the WISE Majlis was also the focal point for the authors of the eight WISE Research reports recently unveiled, among them Promoting Youth Well-Being Through Health and Education: Insights and Opportunities; Global Sports Development Systems and Athletes’ Access to Education; and The Pursuit of Institutional Excellence: Case Studies from Qatar. 

WISE 2019 closed with a special address by the 2019 WISE Prize for Education Laureate, Larry Rosenstock, CEO and Founding Principal of High Tech High (HTH), who was presented with the accolade by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser during the opening ceremony on Wednesday. Mr.

Rosenstock was recognized for his lifelong dedication to rethinking K-12 learning and tackling inequality through education. He shared some of the innovative methods pioneered at HTH that have helped prepare thousands of students of all ability levels and socioeconomic backgrounds for higher education, citizenship, and a rewarding life of work. This approach has allowed students to reach their full potential, with 98 percent of HTH students accepted to university, versus 69 percent nationwide.

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Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO, WISE, speaking at the closing ceremony of the WISE Summit 2019

The summit, attended by more than 3,000 people, was held in the year that marks a decade since WISE’s establishment by Qatar Foundation.

Other speakers at the closing plenary, which was moderated by Yalda Hakim, Presenter-International Correspondent, BBC World News, were Jason Silva, Futurist, National Geographic; Steven Van Zandt, Founder, Rock and Roll Forever Foundation; and Emtithal Mahmoud, Poet and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador; as well as Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO, WISE.

Speaking at the WISE 2019 closing plenary, Stavros N. Yiannouka announced the next WISE@ event to take place in Colombia, in Medellin and Bogota in May 2020. Concluding his speech, he said: “Nothing is impossible if we are WISE enough to put Education Above All.”

Continuing to amplify its impact on education around the globe, WISE has announced the opening of the 2020 WISE Awards call for applications, which, annually, sees the acknowledgement of six innovative projects that positively contribute to education and society.

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