Education Without Borders Again Set to Motivate and Inspire
Every second year, hundreds of tertiary students from all over the world and from all walks of life gather in the United Arab Emirates for one purpose – to exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place.
The platform for such intensive thinking, discussion and knowledge sharing is Education Without Borders (EWB) – one of the flagship conferences of the Higher Colleges of Technology.
EWB 2009 took place in Dubai from 30 March to 1 April 2009 and it’s become one of the hottest tickets not just in town, but throughout the global student community.
Since its inception eight years ago, this biennial international student conference has earned a strong reputation in the global student community.
“Since the first conference in 2001, word has spread about Education Without Borders,” HCT Vice Chancellor Dr Tayeb Kamali says.
“We’ve had a fantastic response from students around the world, with more than 3,600 students expressing an interest in attending. We are looking forward to yet another inspiring and exciting event.”
So, apart from being held in the UAE, what is behind the success of EWB? The main reason would have to be the opportunity for students to not only listen to, but interact with, internationally-renowned experts and world leaders.
Speakers during past conferences have included the ever-humble and inspirational 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus; former NASA astronaut Dr Bernard Harris; Nobel Prize-winning physicist Professor Murray Gell-Mann; founder of the One Laptop per Child program Dr Nicholas Negroponte; and Dr Bertrand Piccard, psychiatrist and balloonist/adventurist.
Ultimately though, it’s not only the dynamic speakers at EWB who impact the students’ lives. More often than not, they are enlightened and motivated by their like-minded peers regardless of race, age, gender and religion.
The impact of the conference is reflected in the words of students who attended EWB2007. Australian student Caitlan Alchin said, “There is a strong energy inside all the students I met that makes us believe in our dreams and know that we can make them true”.
Similarly, Ganna Opanasyuk, from the United Kingdom, said, “It is a great opportunity to meet with similar-minded people who share your vision and who strive to make this world a better place to live”.
EWB 2007 hosted some 1000 delegates from over 108 countries and focused on solving some of the world's most pressing challenges under the theme “Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges”.
There were some fabulous ideas presented by the students, such as Arif Husain’s ideas concerning entrepreneurship as the gateway to poverty reduction, Harriet Kaspar’s designs for sustainable rural transport for remote villages, and Janet Borland’s lessons from the 1923 earthquake in Japan.
In 2007, Education Without Borders introduced the noteworthy series, the EWB World Forum, which will again take place alongside the EWB 2009. The forum was a chance for business, educational and government leaders to come together to share and discuss their thoughts on the particular challenges faced in the world of higher education.
Following on from this initial forum, a number of regional forums have taken place for academic leaders in New York and New Delhi, with more planned.
To date, students from 120 countries have been accepted to participate in EWB 2009, with more than abstracts submitted. The six themes for the conference are: e-world: harnessing technology for a better world, e-nvironment: a sustainable future for our planet, e-nergy: the future of energy on earth, e-ducation: the role of education in meeting global challenges, e-xchange: cultural exchange for tolerance, understanding and peace.
“The youth of the world have once again shown that they have the enthusiasm, innovation and intelligence to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges,” Dr Kamali said.
“In a time where so much of the world seems to be in turmoil – whether brought on by poverty or politics – it is both reassuring and comforting to see such passion and inspiration in our young.”