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HCT celebrates 25th anniversary with international education conferences

(WAM) / 25 March 2013

Nobel Laureates, educators, technologists, world thinkers and highly motivated international students will converge on the UAE this week as the Higher Colleges of Technology stages the Festival of Thinkers and Education Without Borders conferences, as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations.

The celebrations will be devoted to the attainment of excellence in education and will feature various educational, leadership and technology-focused forums. It will commence with the Festival of Thinkers conference on Tuesday March 26, at the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, before moving to the Rixos Hotel on the Palm Dubai for a gala opening ceremony. That will be followed by the HCT’s Education Without Borders conference on Wednesday, March 27 at the HCT Sharjah Women’s College.

The international students represent about 60 nations and 130 institutions covering the globe, from large nations such as Canada, China, Russia and the USA, to small and emerging nations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bhutan, Cuba, Haiti, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Turkmenistan.

On Tuesday March 26th, a special edition of the HCT’s Festival of Thinkers international conference will see free-flowing discussions between international and national students and with visiting Nobel Laureates and world thinkers on topics revolving around education.

The Festival of Thinkers will comprise three structured sub-themes being discussed by the participants, being:

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education: Initiatives and Challenges, Effects of Education on Health and Wellness, Innovative Models of Higher Education.

The various discussions will take the form of panel discussions, round-table group planning and comprehensive summations – all involving close interaction between the students and Nobel Laureates and thinkers.

Esteemed Nobel Laureates will include Dr. Mohamed El Baradei (Peace, 2005), Prof. Klaus von Klitzing (Physics, 1985) Sir Harold W. Kroto, (Chemistry, 1996), Prof. Douglas Osheroff (Physics, 1996); Prof. Yuan Tseh Lee (Chemistry, 1986), Prof. Barry J. Marshall (Medicine, 2005), Prof. Martin Chalfie (Chemistry, 2008) and Prof. Jerome I. Friedman (Physics, 1990).

A gala ceremony at the Rixos Hotel for 2,000 specially invited HCT alumni and students along with several hundred international students, Nobel Laureates and educational leaders. This event will celebrate the accomplishments of the past graduates of HCT and retrace the history of HCT. National leaders, industry CEOs and educational leaders will join. Shaikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology.

The ceremony will feature a 60m-long interactive screen which will have the audience of 2000 dignitaries, world leaders in business, academics, government, the environment and society, students and guests in awe of the technology on show in the two-hour presentation.

Internationally famous solo rock and urban climber Alain Robert, the man known as the ‘French Spiderman’ for his daring feats of scaling the world’s largest buildings, the Burj Khalifa, will return to the UAE for a special guest appearance at the ceremony. It will be his third appearance at an Education Without Borders conference.

At the 6th EWB conference in March 2011, Robert created history in a daring seven-hour ascent of the 828m-tall building. Robert is also an accomplished motivational speaker, proving that will power can conquer many setbacks and restrictions, which resonates well with students.

‘In life everything is about crossing borders, but too many people have limited vision and do not try. They are not living they are surviving, but they need to move forward with positive thoughts,’ he said.

Dr. Tayeb Kamali, HCT Vice Chancellor said the activities were the ideal way in which to celebrate HCT’s history and its commitment to education. ‘It will be a unique opportunity for motivated and passionate students from across the globe to engage with thinkers, leaders and educators in a variety of settings to discuss, debate and act on the importance of education, knowledge and innovation as tools for the growth of nations, Dr. Kamali said.

‘We look forward to many local and international students interacting and exchanging ideas with world leaders in education, academia, technology, business, and many other fields, as they find solutions to global issues surrounding the issue of education,’ Dr. Kamali added.

Also on March 26, at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel in Abu Dhabi, HCT will co-host with the Wharton School, and the Global Interdependence Centre (GIC), a GIC Central Banking Series Conference entitled ‘The Middle East: Lessons from the Changing Economic Landscape’.

Themes covered during the seminar will include: ‘The Middle East: Global Lessons and Opportunities’; Global Financial Markets: Looking Forward’; and ‘Responsible Investing’ and the keynote address will be given by Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

On Wednesday March 27, a special edition of the Education Without Borders – international student conference – will be hosted by the HCT Sharjah Women’s College, where over 400 students from 130 countries and universities and the UAE will participate in this student led conference.

This EWB 2013 theme is Bridging the Gap Innovative Solutions to Global Educational Challenges. Conference delegates will examine eight sub-themes, revolving around education, which have been identified for discussion and workshops.

Several hundred international students submitted papers for the conference and the top 32 papers will be presented during the day. Those presentations will be the focus of the conference, where students and educational leaders actively participate in a collegial setting. The best paper from each category will receive special awards.

On that same day, at the HCT Dubai Men’s College, the Higher Colleges of Technology and Apple Inc will co-host a special Apple Leadership Summit, where over 300 educational and government leaders and expert faculty from the region will participate in this summit – held in this region for the first time.

The summit follows on from the successful UAE Federal Mobile Learning Initiative launch in September 2012, which saw the world’s largest mobile learning initiative in higher education implemented in the UAE. As an adjunct to that event, on Tuesday March 28, the HCT Dubai Men’s College will host iCelebrate3 Teaching & Learning Conference, entitled Sharing the iPad Experience. About 300 Champions faculty and others from Zayed University, HCT and the UAE University will participate.

On Thursday March 28, the HCT Dubai Men’s College will be the venue for the Pearl Initiative – HCT Roundtable on Responsible Investing. This will be a roundtable discussion aimed to encourage students looking at investments from an environmental, social and governance standpoint as opposed to purely financial returns or stock market gains.

 
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