The 2015-16 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Learners’ Voice Program officially kicked off last week, bringing together 33 young learners from around the world, including three Qataris, for an intensive, ten-day residential session at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha.

The residential session sought to provide learners with a foundational understanding of key concepts and evolving trends in education, and delivered expert training in leadership and communication skills. The focus on education, leadership, and communication is designed to support the participants as they research and develop a variety of innovative education projects throughout the year-long programme.

WISE, a global initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF), is closely aligned to QF’s mission of helping transform Qatar into a knowledge-based economy. Through its youth-empowerment initiative WISE brings the voices of young people to  the challenge of building the future of education.

During the Doha session, the learners examined pressing issues in education and explored innovative approaches.  The participants began planning collaborative group projects which identify innovative education solutions to opportunities across the sectors of health, environment, technology, and the arts. As well as various online activities, the learners will participate in a second residential session in Madrid, 30 May to 10 June 2016, where they will participate in workshops on social entrepreneurship and project development.  Selected projects will have an opportunity to pitch their proposals to an audience of potential investors, donors, and partners in the fall.

The Learners’ Voice Program was established in 2010 as an initiative of WISE with the intention of engaging the perspectives and creative energies of young people in debates around important education issues and challenges facing diverse communities.  The 2015-16 learners, aged 18-25, collectively represent 29 countries, and will benefit from the expertise of the WISE team and global education specialists including faculty from Yale University and Babson College. The Learners’ Voice Program is supported by partners Banco Santander through its Universities Global Division.