Two of Penn State’s most prominent thought leaders will be speaking at the three-day World Innovation Summit for Education — referred to rather cheekily as WISE — beginning on Nov. 4 in Doha, Qatar.
Dr. Sam Richards (of Soc 119 fame) and Dr. Laurie Mulvey, the directors of the famed World in Conversation Center in the College of Liberal Arts, will be speaking at the summit to more than 1,500 delegates from around the world. It will focus on “innovating global education,” and the theme of this year’s conference is “Imagine – Create – Learn: Creativity at the Heart of Education.”
Mulvey believes the the WIC Center and WISE share similar goals. According to Mulvey, “[Education] needs to leave a legacy by giving each student real tools to navigate the world they are inheriting. Education is most powerful when it accesses the whole person and invites them to consider the perspectives of other whole people.”
Last year, Mulvey used a two-way live feed at the conference to actively engage Penn State students with students from the Middle East, and will again do so with multiple feeds across Europe this year.
Richards, meanwhile, will be on a panel discussing “logistical obstacles when administering international programming in conflict zones,” and will include World in Conversation’s discussions between Penn State students and those from conflict areas, including Gaza, Israel, Egypt, and Iraq.
“At World in Conversation, we use video conferencing technology in ways that benefit Penn State students, while also benefiting young people in areas of the world where simply attending school is a privilege,” Richards said, referencing WIC’s major contribution to the conference.
It should be noted that Qatar is a human rights nightmare. The Qatar Foundation, which founded WISE, is building a stadium for the World Cup in 2022. The combination of the Kafala system (essentially indentured servitude) and unsafe working conditions has led to thousands of deaths in the building of various World Cup stadiums in the emirate. The interaction of World in Conversation leaders with this environment is certainly an interesting subplot to what should be an enlightening event.