QFI magazine

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QATAR FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL Connecting Cultures for Global Good

Assalamu alaykum.

Since 2009, QFI programs in Arabic Language and Culture, STE{A}M—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math—and Youth Engagement have given students in the Americas and Qatar the tools and platforms they need to discuss important issues with each other and with educators. At QFI, we believe that youth today face shared global challenges such as climate change, insufficient access to education, and rising disease rates, which they will need to solve together in cross-cultural teams. Young people today crave the opportunity to make an impact but, too often, no one has challenged them to try. QFI programs teach students to see beyond their surroundings to their place as part of a global community, which they’ll one day be responsible for maintaining. QFI believes that true cultural understanding doesn’t come from simply hearing about other ways of life—not even through continuous access via social media and popular culture. Real understanding requires global awareness and 21st-century skills in problem solving, collaboration, communication, and use of technology. And though educators understand the importance of these things, schools struggle to integrate them effectively into the classroom before college. Knowing that that’s too late, QFI works to incorporate this type of training in K-12 curricula across the Americas. Four key themes inform and unite QFI programs: Community, Challenge, Access, and Dialogue. We work with partners, schools, educators, and students who strive to exemplify these values.

Community: Be they families, circles of friends, or global groups of students and teachers, communities foster a feeling of belonging that drives individuals to share, help, and act to make a difference. QFI seeks to build a global community by asking participants to rethink how they define and contribute to their surroundings. Challenge: QFI challenges individuals to acknowledge that, as members of a global community, they’re responsible for stepping up to address global issues, and they must equip themselves to do so. Access: Through QFI programs, students with diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds gain access to educational tools that broaden their understanding of the world. Dialogue: QFI values discussions that enhance mutual respect, understanding, and appreciation of varied perspectives. Since the world’s youth come from diverse backgrounds, encouraging the free and comfortable discussion of differences enriches their social consciousness. This crosscultural dialogue helps today’s youth grow into the strong global leaders and citizens of tomorrow. In the following pages, we invite you to learn more about our programs and meet some members of our global community. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about our work and join us in empowering the world’s youth.

Shukran jazilan.

Maggie Mitchell Salem

Qatar Foundation International / MISSION

MISSION Qatar Foundation International, LLC (QFI) is a US-based member of Qatar Foundation (QF). Its mission is to connect cultures and advance global citizenship through education. A not-for-profit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, QFI facilitates collaboration across geographic, social, and cultural boundaries. By placing young people from diverse backgrounds in collaborative learning environments—in person and online—QFI helps K-12 students in Qatar and the Americas become engaged global citizens. Within three core program areas—Arabic Language and Culture, Youth Engagement, and STE{A}M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)—QFI equips students to address the major global challenges of this century.


ALC QFI’s Arabic Language and Culture (ALC) initiative provides opportunities for students to learn Arabic and become familiar with the Arab world’s history and culture. QFI’s unique, systemic approach to expanding the study of Arabic and Arab culture in publicly funded schools in the Americas impacts both educators and their students. PAG E S 9-14

Youth Engagement QFI’s Youth Engagement programs focus on service learning, academic excellence, and media literacy to spark the curiosity of future world leaders. These programs prepare youth to investigate the world, understand varied perspectives, exchange ideas, and tackle community and global issues. PAG E S 15-2 0

STE{A}M QFI’s STE{A}M projects enhance classroom education and emphasize global, 21stcentury challenges­such as climate change, biodiversity, and water conservation. Using problem-based learning, QFI connects educators and learners around the world and promotes collaboration between classrooms. PAG E S 2 1-2 6

Qatar Foundation International / PROGRAMS

C O N C E PTUAL FO C U S E S All QFI programs emphasize open education, professional development, and global citizenship.

Open Education

Professional Development

Global Citizenship

Open Education provides unencumbered access to digital resources, encouraging lifelong learning from anywhere. QFI utilizes Open Education to develop learner-centered experiences and promote dialogue among classrooms and communities spanning great physical distances.

For students involved in QFI programming to thrive, they need well-trained, up-to-date teachers. QFI supports professional development for teachers through individual interaction, group training, and the creation and upkeep of online resources.

QFI is committed to teaching the next generation to work together across cultures and between communities. Using interdisciplinary learning, QFI encourages young people and educators to collaboratively address global challenges and supports their efforts to effect change both in their hometowns and around the world.


Open Arabic Resources

Language Instruction

Curriculum Grants

Madar Al-Huruf

Online educational tools—including Khan Academy and Al-Masdar—available for free.

Training for Arabic speakers and learners that opens opportunities worldwide.

Support for teachers in the Americas for the creation of further educational resources.

A mobile application that introduces native English speakers to the Arabic alphabet.

Service Learning Grants

Peers Educating Peers (PEP)

Seed grants for young social entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in their communities.

An initiative that promotes students learning about topics of interest to them and then teaching their peers.

Connecting Cultures, Exploring Science Projects and student-led webcasts on critical environmental issues.

YALLAH A private, global social network for QFI students and invited guests, who share advice and expertise.

Mapping the Mangroves A program that allows students to explore and research a vital ecosystem native to such places as Qatar, Brazil, and Costa Rica.

Qatar Foundation International / GLOBAL NETWORK OF SCHOOLS

OUR GLOBAL NETWORK OF SCHOOLS QFI’s Global Schools Network unites thousands of students and educators in 114 publicly funded schools* in Qatar and the Americas. The network aims to promote open communication and teamwork between schools, encourage experiential and project-based programs for students, provide professional development for teachers, build a global community of administrators, and develop a structure through which everyone can contribute to QFI programming.

North America QFI programs serve students in schools across the United States and Canada. From the study of Arabic language in Boston to science education off the coast of California to the creation and editing of online study tools in Western Canada, QFI programs are increasingly woven into the fabric of North American public education. PARTI C I PATI N G S C H O O LS: 82

South and Central America In Costa Rica and Brazil, QFI programs teach Arabic, support professional development for Arabic-language educators, and help students explore the rich habitats in which they live. The mangroves and other natural resources in these countries provide a backdrop for STE{A}M programs that teach students to conserve their environment. PARTI C I PATI N G S C H O O LS: 7


*as of FY 2013

Qatar Foundation International / GLOBAL NETWORK OF SCHOOLS




Qatar As Qatar’s economy diversifies in the future, today’s students will be responsible for leading a wide range of industries. QFI’s programs in Qatar develop the language, STEM, and arts skills that will make the youth of today the business, political, and cultural leaders of tomorrow. PARTI C I PATI N G S C H O O LS: 24


Qatar Foundation International / ONLINE LEARNING COMMUNITY



Some QFI ALC initiatives focus on virtual education and can be accessed from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. AL-BAYT


Creative Commons is a nonprofit that offers free copyright licenses. Organizations like QFI utilize these to give the public permission to use and redistribute content that might otherwise be protected by copyright, limiting access.

Opening in the spring of 2014, Al-Bayt—which means “home” in Arabic—will be a physical hub for QFI’s online community, located in the City Center neighborhood of Washington, DC. Students and teachers will be able to use the space for educational activities and meetings, and it will play host to showcases that highlight Arab cultures, particularly that of Qatar. Visitors to AlBayt will be able to increase their understanding of Arab people and their culture.


QFI has partnered with Intel to translate many of Khan Academy’s core math and science videos into Arabic and install them on Intel desktops and laptops. These computers will be distributed in Arabic-speaking countries, including Qatar, through the Intel Global Education program.


The Arabic Language Initiative at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, British Columbia, is funded by a QFI Open Arabic Grant. The program has produced a platform that aids in the development of web-based Arabic courses and iPad apps. Once beta testing is completed, the courses that utilize the platform will be managed by SFU, though the platform itself will remain part of QFI’s open-education initiative, licensed under Creative Commons.


In 2012, QFI awarded a grant to Human Assistance and Development International (HADI) for the development of a comprehensive, web-based platform and resource site for the Arabic language. HADI curated the content for the site, called Al-Masdar (almasdar.oercommons. org), in collaboration with QFI and the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME). Al-Masdar, launched in November 2013, provides the resources teachers need to create effective Arabic classrooms along with a listing of academic and professional opportunities for teachers and a robust database of Arabic language and culture programs.


OER Commons Arabic allows users to share and remix Arabic language materials online.

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization that provides free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. The online resource offers thousands of short videos and practice exercises that teach science, math, humanities, and other subjects, using a data-rich dashboard. Over five-million students worldwide access Khan Academy each month to utilize its materials.

What are OERs? An Open Educational Resource (OER) is an online educational material, curriculum, or tool that can be revised and redistributed at no cost. OERs developed by top-tier educational institutions expand access to innovative teaching techniques around the world.

What’s the problem? The volume of content—and the fact that only 3% of the material on the Web is available in Arabic—makes it difficult for students and teachers to utilize Arabic OERs effectively.

for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), the library contains a system for saving and sharing content and an Open Author tool, which allows educators to remix and translate materials.

What’s being done? In addition to Al-Masdar, QFI has contributed to the creation of a digital OER library—OER Commons Arabic—that makes tools in the language easier to find. Developed by the Institute

QFI’s support has also led to the development of a curriculum-alignment tool, which allows tagging and searching for content geared toward the Qatari and American achievement standards. OER

Commons Arabic already contains resources from leading educational institutions, and the library will continue to grow. How can I participate? In addition to the creation of the OER library, QFI has launched a mapping exercise that aims to document all Open Arabic Initiatives globally. No matter where you are, you can post resources and information to QFI’s OAI map at openarabic. crowdmap.com.

Qatar Foundation International / ALC

In ten years, I will be a translator of Arabic language at the United Nations — JADE, 16

ARABIC LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (ALC) QFI’s flagship Arabic Language and Culture (ALC) program provides opportunities for students from varied backgrounds to learn Arabic and become familiar with the Arab world’s history and culture. QFI has a unique, systemic approach to expanding the study of Arabic and Arab culture in publicly funded schools in the Americas, supporting Arabic–language teachers and offering opportunities for international travel to young people in Qatar and the Americas who would not otherwise have access to them. ALC AIMS TO Bridge cultures by teaching young people about Arab society.

Grow and improve Arabic programs in the Americas.

Support teachers of Arabic as a foreign language through training, raising the visibility of the profession, and helping build their professional networks.

Use information technology to support instructional delivery, school partnerships, and student-teacher collaboration.




Qatar Foundation International / ALC

DUAL-LANGUAGE IMMERSION Dual-language immersion programs provide the opportunity to learn in two languages. In New York City, QFI’s dual-language immersion students are half native speakers of Arabic and half native speakers of English. This helps Arabic speakers learn English and English speakers learn Arabic in the same classroom.


In September 2012, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, visited Hamilton Heights School—another New York elementary school where students learn Arabic thanks to QFI support. After her visit, she said: “I enjoyed hearing the children speak in Arabic so enthusiastically, and it was lovely to see that most of them are not of Arab origin, which means the language reaches families and communities who have not been exposed to our culture previously.”

DUAL-LANGUAGE IMMERSION IN BROOKLYN In September 2013, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) launched a dual-language Arabic program with support from QFI. The school running the program, PS/IS 30—also called the Mary White Ovington School—is located in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, home to one of the city’s largest populations of Arabic students. These students, who represent the DOE’s fifth-largest concentration of Arabicspeaking English-language learners, mostly come from families with roots in Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. The Mary White Ovington School, previously an intermediate school, began serving kindergarteners in fall 2013. It will add one grade each year until it houses a full elementary school in addition to its intermediate school. QFI’s program, which serves 25 kindergarten students, is the first of its kind in New York City. It provides a rich curriculum for English speakers learning Arabic and Arabic speakers learning English. The DOE recognizes the educational, social, and economic importance of bilingualism in our global society—particularly in a city with such a unique cultural fabric. Students in New York schools represent over 160 different language groups and a plethora of national, ethnic, and religious identities. The DOE has pursued dual-language education in a number of different languages to foster bilingual and multilingual development, and QFI now joins the DOE in its commitment to language learning at the K-to-12 level.


Qatar Foundation International / ALC

TH E AR AB I C ALPHAB ET Almost all Arabic letters have three different written forms. Which form is used depends on whether the letter falls at the beginning, middle, or end of a word or is standing alone. Madar Al-Huruf, the Q Wheel, teaches students to write Arabic letters in all their forms.


MADAR AL-HURUF The Arabic transliteration wheel—called the Q Wheel in English and Madar Al-Huruf in Arabic—matches English letters and sounds to their Arabic counterparts. Created to teach students to write their English names in Arabic, the Q Wheel acquaints English speakers with the Arabic alphabet. And it’s now available digitally. In October 2013, QFI partnered with Qatar Computing Research Institute to develop an application, called “Madar Al-Huruf.” The app is available on iTunes and has brought the Q Wheel to smartphone users worldwide.


Q Tell us a little about your background. A I’m a Qatari graphic designer who graduated with honors from VCUQatar in 2006. I’ve lived in Qatar all my life—except between 2011 and 2012, when I lived in Washington, DC, with my husband and two boys. Q What

is working abroad like? abroad, you collaborate with people from different nationalities, and you’re responsible for promoting yourself, your culture, and your country. I found that while I was working in the United States, I was able to reflect some aspects A Working

of Qatari identity my work. I think of those of us living outside of Qatar as ambassadors; we have a lot to be proud of in our heritage! Q Talk about the design inspiration behind your wheel. A When I thought about students learning Arabic, I felt that creating a tool to help them write their names would assist teachers in connecting with them and connecting them to the new language, since a person’s name is his or her identity. I then started working on Madar Al-Huruf, the Q wheel, with QFI’s support. I was very humbled by the opportunity

to meet Her Highness Sheikha Moza and present the final version of the project to her in September of 2012, during her visit to a QFI-funded school in New York. Q What are you most proud of with regard to the Q Wheel? A The Q Wheel is my first design to be patented. I’m proud of that. And as a Qatari, I’m proud to have designed an educational tool for my native language. To have it spread across the US gives me a chance to prove my talent on an international level, and I hope to see it used in different languages around the globe.

Qatar Foundation International / ALC

ALC OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHERS As part of its Arabic Language and Culture program, QFI funds grants, fellowships, and conferences that aim to make teachers of ALC programs more effective.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES Teacher Fellowships of up to $25,000 are available to those aspiring to gain Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language or World Language certifications.


“From the Ambassador of Qatar, I learned that Arabic can be rewarding and that anyone can learn it if they work at vocabulary and pattern.” – BRIA, 16


Teacher Initiative Grants are awarded to Arabic-language teachers in public and public charter schools to pay for classroom materials, cultural events, and other opportunities for students, in addition to teacher training and professional development. In 2012-2013, QFI awarded 26 such grants (up to $5000 each); 12 grants (up to $3000 each) have been awarded in 2013-2014. Curriculum Development Grants are used by educators to develop free, open-educational materials for Arabic-language classrooms. In 2012-2013, QFI awarded 8 grants (up to $25,000 each); 12 have been awarded for 2013-2014.

Dora Johnson Awards are named in memory of a founding member of QFI’s ALC advisory board whose life was dedicated to spreading less commonly taught languages, especially Arabic, in public education. The awards, given by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ Arabic special-interest group, fund travel for Arabic teachers attending or presenting at ACTFL’s annual conference for the first time. Arabic Teacher Councils are being established in major metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC. They provide a forum for teachers to network and share ideas and innovative approaches to teaching, thereby building consensus and a means of outreach to school principals, other teachers, and parents. Concordia Qatar Professional Development Workshops are training courses for Arabic teachers that help them integrate 21st-century skills into their classrooms and increase Arabic proficiency in their students. The first workshops, held over four days in April and October 2013, served 47 teachers; two additional workshops will be held in early 2014.

AN EDUCATOR’S EXPERIENCE I’d like to begin by expressing my gratitude to QFI for funding the Arabic Dabke, Percussion, and Calligraphy programs at Volta Elementary School during the 20122013 school year. The programs were very successful. The most important of our goals was to increase the students’ understanding of Arabic culture through its arts, and it was far exceeded. Rather than just learning about arts such as dabke, percussion, and calligraphy, students really gained an appreciation for them. Some even expressed interest in buying Arabic darbukas (goblet drums) to play for their families. Students also started recognizing Arabic music and dance and its influence on other music, and some of the 31 students involved reported visiting Arabic restaurants with their families after joining the programs, which they had not done previously. The students came from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds; the group included Assyrian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Arab, and other students. Those who joined ranged in age from third to eighth grade, and their attentiveness was exemplary. Since some students expressed interest in the program but couldn’t stay after school, the calligraphy workshops were conducted during school and the dabke and percussion workshops took place after hours, as part of the After-School All Stars program (ASAS). In addition to their classroom learning, participants experienced authentic Arabic food in an Arabic restaurant and visited the Oriental Institute in Chicago. Also as part of the program, students were able to share what they learned with others. Once, the school had visitors from various universities, and my students demonstrated some of what they had learned about Arabic culture at the administration’s request. Another time, the bilingual lead teacher invited them to perform at a Bilingual Advisory Committee meeting, so parents of students in bilingual programs could learn about what QFI’s grant has made possible at our school. The students also shared what they’d learned with a neighboring public school— Palmer Elementary, which has a large Arabic population—and the administration, staff, and students at Palmer were impressed with our percussion and dabke performance. Finally, students put on a show for their parents and family members, who were invited to enjoy Arabic cuisine after the performance and an introduction to QFI. This year has been a great success for me as the Arabic world language teacher, thanks to the generous grant from QFI. Many students have already asked me if we will have the percussion, dabke, and calligraphy workshops again next year. Insha’ Allah.

Alice Saba

Arabic World Language Teacher Volta Elementary School, Chicago

Qatar Foundation International / ALC

ALC OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS “I was quite surprised to know that students in Qatar listen to the same type of music as we do. The people are very peaceful and they really mean no harm to the world.” — DEVONTA, 15

Each of QFI’s signature ALC programs is geared toward expanding understanding of Arabic and Arab culture in students from the Americas. Many help to train teachers and ask them to pass their knowledge along to students, but some programs, including those listed below, can be utilized by students directly.

SUMMER ARABIC PROGRAMS Concordia Language Village: Al-Wāha ̣ Open since 2006 in Moorhead, Minnesota, Al-Wāha ̣ is the only Arabic-language village of its kind in the US. At the village, staff members provide expert instruction to groups of students at all skill levels. Villagers come to Al-Wāha ̣ from around the world to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Middle East, and sessions include ample opportunity to learn about Arab culture and practice and perfect Arabic–language skills. QFI maintains a yearly partnership with Concordia Language Village, and during the summer of 2012, that partnership sent 43 students to Al-Wāha. ̣ To date, the partnership has impacted 116 students. Student Exchange: Áber To celebrate the intersection of American and Arab cultures, QFI hosted a month-long art exhibit in Santa Monica, California, during the summer of 2013. The artists—highschoolers from Doha, Los Angeles, and Portland—explored cultural identity and language together during a week-long exchange in Doha. Using graffiti, calligraphy, and photography, they then created ten panels (pictured at left), which celebrated their cultures as well as their shared journey. Their exhibition, Áber: Expressions of Culture, Identity, and Language, asked viewers to imagine that decades of misconceptions and stereotypes between cultures had been broken down and replaced by an exploration of common bonds.

Arabic language and culture combined during Aber: Expressions of Language, Identity, and Culture, an art exhibit in Los Angeles that featured ten panels of collaborative, cross-cultural student artwork.


QFI Scholars Program at Middlebury Monterey Language Academy (MMLA) QFI grants fund travel and tuition costs for students to attend an intensive four-week Arabic program run by the Middlebury Monterey Language Academy. At the academy, students explore both language and culture, while using Arabic in practical, functional, and logical ways. Students eligible for these grants—35 to date—come from traditionally underserved, underrepresented, or rural areas of the US. Some have existing Arabic knowledge thanks to QFI programs or the Arabic Without Walls Program.

Qatar Foundation International / YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

“YALLAH is a safe space for us, and it’s a huge window to youth from all over the world. I really like to discuss issues that have global and local concern with my peers.” — ANAS, 18

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT QFI’s youth-engagement programs aim to inspire youth action, cultivate student ideas, and encourage young people around the world to work together. As a key part of QFI’s commitment to promoting global citizenship, these programs focus on three areas—service learning, academic excellence, and media literacy—to help youth confidently address and collaborate on community and global issues.


Ready young people to investigate the world. Teach them to communicate and exchange ideas and give them the language skills and technological tools to do so.

Help them understand varied backgrounds and perspectives. Prepare them to act decisively to address community and global issues.





Qatar Foundation International / YOUTH ENGAGEMENT



YALLAH Youth Allied to Learn, Lead, and Help (YALLAH) is a private social network envisioned by QFI-program alums and popular among Qatari, American, Brazilian, and Argentine students. Users discuss social and cultural issues on the forum and use it as a resource for college counseling and information on environmental and marine biology and service learning. Guests on YALLAH include experts from Conservation International, the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), and Marks Education as well as movie producer and photographer Chris Jordan. YALLAH sometimes acts as a springboard from which students can launch their own cross-cultural projects. Recent collaborations have included the publishing of a cookbook and the production of a movie focused on soccer/football, both of which were introduced at the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) Annual Conference in Doha in July 2013.


"For me, YALLAH is where I find people who are interested in change— changing the world for better. It’s where I find interesting discussions and people respecting each other’s opinions above all. If I want to make a difference, I will count on my YALLAH peers to help me.” ­— PRISCILA, 18

Qatar Foundation International / YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

SERVICE LEARNING A vital piece of QFI’s commitment to encouraging global citizenship is teaching youth that they are contributors to the world’s well-being. By funding service-learning projects, QFI urges young people to improve the world in which they live.

SERVICE-LEARNING GRANTS By providing seed grants for youthled community-service projects, QFI helps students establish lasting commitments to their communities. Since 2012, QFI has awarded 11 grants to students from the US, Brazil, and Qatar. They have funded projects including a library that distributes Arabic, African, and Latin American works of literature in São Paulo, Brazil, an international literary magazine focused on women’s empowerment and based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a soccer mentoring program that keeps kids off the streets of Los Angeles, California, among others.

QFI students pick up litter along the Georgetown waterfront in Washington, DC, in partnership with the Potomac Riverkeeper.

CLOTHING DRIVE FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES An ongoing conflict in Syria that began in the spring of 2011 had displaced over two-million people by the fall of 2013, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. These Syrian refugees, most of whom live in Jordan and Lebanon, have often taken only a few belongings from home. QFI began a clothing drive for them in March 2013, and students in the US and Qatar collected an estimated 170,000 pounds—1,750 boxes—of clothing in just six months. A partnership with the UNHCR ensured that the deliveries were made to refugees in the most severe need. The program has also been an effort to raise awareness about refugee issues. On World Refugee Day in 2012, 12 QFI students from Qatar and Washington, DC, participated in a series of events aimed at increasing awareness of refugee issues. They even met with Afghan–born novelist, Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and a UNHCR goodwill envoy, who spoke about the struggles that refugees face.

Qatar Foundation International / YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE QFI supports mentorship for youth as they investigate the world, become increasingly aware of their surroundings—both immediate and distant—and learn to communicate their ideas to their peers and communities. QFI encourages students to take ownership of their learning, create opportunities, and hone their talents. As a result, QFI students develop skills that help them succeed in the classroom and elsewhere and become active participants in a globalized world.



Cisco’s TelePresence technology provides lifesize, high-definition video and CD-quality audio to allow conversations to feel like they’re really happening in person. QFI isn’t the only user who has noticed—the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania also relies on the technology to connect its classrooms.

Students from the US and Qatar use TelePresence to discuss critical global issues from opposite sides of the world.

In early 2011, QFI launched a series of online debates between students in Washington, DC, and Doha, Qatar, using Cisco's TelePresence technology. During the debates, mixed teams of Qatari and American high-school students hash out contentious issues. Teams formulate arguments, weigh different perspectives, and hone their debating skills with guidance from their teachers. The debates serve as an extension of QFI programming, enhancing the cross-cultural bonds between students in a fun and innovative way. In October of 2013, QFI launched its third round of debates—under a new name and with new partners. The redesigned program, called Global Youth for Teledebates, includes integration of QFI’s online-collaboration platform (C2C; page 22) and the addition of more schools and an important new partner, QatarDebate. In February 2014, the six best debaters in the program will be selected to travel to Doha to compete in QatarDebate’s Open Tournament.

EDUCATION AWARDS QFI students pursuing undergraduate education and planning to study Arabic or major in a topic related to the Middle East are eligible for QFI Education Awards. Winners are selected based on academic achievement and economic need to receive up to $25,000 toward their college tuition.


Qatar Foundation International / YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

PEERS EDUCATING PEERS (PEP) The Peers Educating Peers (PEP) program emphasizes two concepts: that students often learn best from each other and that teaching is a very effective way for students to demonstrate their understanding and share their passions. PEP participants learn about an issue they’re interested in, use arts and technology to create a lesson plan around that issue, and teach a class based on the content they’ve created. Students then collaborate with their peers on projects—often in their communities, which are spread throughout France, Qatar, and the United States. PEP emphasizes:

Participant-driven content that asks students to identify their own interests and share information with their peers.

Peer education, as a means of developing leadership skills in students and provoking an interest in teaching as a potential career path.

Project-based learning methods, which empower students to own their education and which assess their competency at skills they’ll find useful outside the classroom.

Online collaboration, videoconferencing, and student exchanges that connect youth from different cultures.

PEP STUDENT EXCHANGES In April 2012, three teachers from the Boston Arts Academy, including the coordinator of the PEP initiative, held professional-development workshops at schools in Qatar, which prepared teachers for the September 2012 launch of PEP. The workshops walked teachers through sample lessons and allowed them to collaboratively plan and present blueprints for PEP curricula. Once the program got underway in two pilot schools—Boston Arts Academy and Washington Latin Public Charter School—students were invited to participate in an exchange, where those from Boston traveled to Washington and vice versa. While at home, students taught their guests bout the history of their cities; while visiting, they learned about a new city’s culture. During future exchanges, even more students will learn about parts of the world far from where they live.

Expeditionary learning, which teaches that any place—not just the classroom— can be a learning environment.

Curiosity, which leads students to examine their environment and ask questions.

Qatar Foundation International / YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

MEDIA LITERACY QFI works to give students skills that will help them navigate today’s complex media landscape. Now more than ever, students must be able to access and understand information, evaluate sources, and analyze media across cultures. And QFI invites students to produce their own media, which helps them communicate globally.


iEARN—the International Education and Resource Network—is a membership-based service used in approximately 30,000 schools worldwide by teachers and students looking to collaborate. The network’s annual conference, held in July 2013 in Doha, brought educators, students, administrators, ministry officials, and nonprofit and corporate partners together to share information on the best ways to use technology as a teaching tool.

CROSS-CULTURAL VIDEO PRODUCTION In May 2013, students from Brazil, the US, and Qatar got together with their teachers to work on a video focused on soccer/football. Discussing the sport allowed students to express themselves, conduct research, and collaborate around social issues such as access, equality, health, and gender. Students acted as editors, narrators, writers, and photographers on the final video project. Their production was showcased at the 2013 iEARN Conference in Doha, where reception was overwhelmingly positive.


Qatar Foundation International / STE{A}M

“It doesn't matter what country or state you live in; at the end of the day you all share the same world, and everybody has the same responsibility to take care of it.” — BELEICIA, 14

STE{A}M Through STE{A}M, QFI takes a unique approach to enhancing science and math education in Qatar and the Americas, addressing the needs of both educators and students. QFI’s programs seek to increase student engagement and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math—often referred to as STEM subjects—by adding a cross-cultural dimension and the {A} for arts. With an additional focus on access and awareness, QFI sees the {A} in STE{A}M as the key to connecting cultures and classrooms through education.


Offering interactive enrichment and servicelearning opportunities. Forging partnerships between schools and like-minded organizations in STE{A}M industries. Using technology to connect classrooms across the globe. Providing curriculum-development grants to teachers and schools. Equipping students with the tools they need to tackle global issues.




Qatar Foundation International / STE{A}M

STE{A}M OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEACHERS As part of its STE{A}M initiative, QFI supports professionaldevelopment and networking opportunities for teachers of science and math to help them be more effective educators.


Students from Doha and Chicago learn about shared critical water issues and the process of desalination at Hamad bin Khalifa University in Qatar.

CLASSROOM TO CLASSROOM (C2C) Meedan—a nonprofit social-technology company dedicated to advancing cross-cultural understanding and collaboration—has been working with QFI for two years to develop technology that promotes collaboration between classrooms around the world. The resulting Classroom-to-Classroom (C2C) platform is an academic tool for QFI teachers and students in Qatar and the Americas. C2C (C2C.qfi.org) functions both in the classroom and in non-traditional learning contexts. The searchable, dynamic layout allows Arabic- and English-language learners to create content, exchange messages and ideas, develop and maintain relationships, and engage in learning beyond the scope of their classrooms.

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT GRANTS QFI launched its STE{A}M Curriculum Development Grants in Spring 2013 and will maintain an annual grant cycle meant to advance the teaching of STE{A}M subjects across countries and cultures. QFI will offer US public and public charter schools up to $50,000 in financial support for individual curriculum-development projects in STE{A}M subjects. Grant winners propose cross-cultural projects aimed at making lasting, positive changes to their schools and contributing to the open-access network online.


Science and math teachers in Qatar and the US need to keep up with the latest developments in their fields to find innovative, engaging ways to deliver knowledge to their students. But many teachers are stretched too thin to take full advantage of time-consuming professionaldevelopment opportunities, so QFI organizes and incentivizes their participation and creates asynchronous workshops that are easy for teachers to work into their schedules. Workshops will be recorded, translated, and subtitled in English and Arabic, making them accessible to teachers with varying levels of English-language proficiency. Videos will be accessible at all times through QFI’s OER Commons Arabic, so that educators will be able to access content at their convenience.

OER FELLOWSHIPS As Qatar’s economy diversifies, the workplace will need increasingly wide-ranging knowledge, and to prepare students to thrive in that workforce, teachers must encourage lifelong learning. In an effort to move teachers in that direction, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME)—with support from QFI—offers one-year fellowships to math teachers (two each from four schools) and educators from the Supreme Education Council and Qatar University. OER Fellows learn new models of teaching and learning, based on the use of OERs (page 8). These models blend face-to-face interactions with online exploration, discovery, reflection, and mentoring. The first fellows began their program in the fall of 2013 and will spend the year developing and documenting OER projects such as videos, practice exercises, project-based lessons, and hands-on activities aligned with SEC standards. Fellows will also work to create a network throughout Qatar of educators interested in using OERs and will then train them to adapt the resources to their own educational needs.

Qatar Foundation International / STE{A}M

CONNECTING CULTURES, EXPLORING SCIENCE In advance of the COP 18/CMP8 UN Climate Change Conference held in Doha in 2012, Global Nomads Group (GNG) and QFI launched Connecting Cultures, Exploring Science: Road to Doha. The program aimed to make students from Qatar, the US, and Brazil feel invested in debates on climate-change. Approximately 200 students from 13 secondary schools in the three countries participated in projects and student-led webcasts centered around climate change and other critical environmental issues. The 2013 relaunch includes two streams:

Road to Doha

Paths to Sustainable Energy

A year-long climate-change program for school pairs in Qatar and North America.

A semester-long sustainableenergy program for nine schools in North America, Qatar, and Brazil.

A January 2013 GNG survey asked: “What topics are you most interested in offering projectbased learning enhancements for?”

68% of current Road to Doha educators ranked “Energy: Sustainable Energy Resources and Technology” as one of their top two choices.

48% of students said they most wanted to learn about sustainable energy through the Road to Doha program, in response to a baseline survey question.

Qatar Foundation International / STE{A}M

STE{A}M OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS QFI's STE{A}M program is geared toward increasing the quality of science and math education around the world, and these in-school and summer programs directly impact youth studying science and the environment.

YALLAH: REEF TO RAINFOREST The YALLAH: Reef to Rainforest learning expedition took 36 students from Qatar, the US, and Brazil, to Costa Rica. Through the lens of ecology, conservation, service, and identity, students explored the beauty and challenges of one of our planet’s most spectacular ecosystems. After the trip, students said they felt more able to understand critical environmental issues and effectively raise environmental awareness in their own communities.

OCEAN FOR LIFE Ocean for Life provides immersive field studies on ocean science to students with varied cultural backgrounds. In June 2013, 30 high-school students from seven Middle Eastern countries and the US studied at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in California, where they were hosted by the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

EARTH DAY QATAR QFI hosted the first-ever Earth Day in Qatar in 2011, and each year it brings more students, educators, practitioners, and interested individuals together to raise awareness on issues related to climate change and the environment—both in Qatar and globally. By bringing students from different parts of the world together to learn about the environment, Earth Day events emphasize the global nature of climate change and the need for cooperation in finding solutions to environmental problems.

QFI’s Youth Ambassadors explore and map the mangroves in Brazil, where they encounter spores, crabs, snakes, and more.

“Over the course of the program, we taught each other new words and songs from our languages. Lana and Haneen, both from Qatar, taught a bunch of the girls how to belly dance during our stay on Santa Cruz island. Later in the week, I spent a lot of time talking about religion with Ghazi from Saudi Arabia and Fiona from Chicago. Two weeks may not seem like a very long time to get to know 29 other people, but by the end of the program, I felt like I was part of a giant, loud, laughing family. Nakoa from Hawaii taught us that ‘ohana’ translates as ‘family,’ which means that no one gets left behind.” – MEI-JING, 17






MAPPING THE MANGROVES Launched in partnership with Conservation International on Earth Day Qatar 2012, Mapping the Mangroves focuses on increasing awareness, promoting conversations, and fostering action around preservation of the world's mangroves. A unique coastal ecosystem, mangroves play a special role in Gulf countries like Qatar—where few plants can survive the high winds and infrequent rainfall—providing a sanctuary for birds, fish, and other animals. As part of the program, QFI students have mapped mangroves across the world—from Qatar to Brazil and Costa Rica—using QFI’s Mapping the Mangroves app, available on iTunes and in the Google Play store. In its next phase, Mapping the Mangroves will serve as the first-ever open-source website on the topic, designed to share curricula, browse and export real-time data, ask questions to a community of scientists and experts, and distribute critical environmental information on mangroves around the world. By letting learners participate in the research and discovery of scientific information, Mapping the Mangroves lets anyone from anywhere become a citizen scientist.

MAPPING THE MANGROVES CURRICULUM QFI and Conservation International’s mangrove-mapping curriculum is currently being implemented at Country Day School in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The course aims to enhance young people’s understanding of mangroves and their unique ecosystems, targeting primarygrade students at first and ultimately expanding to other groups. Programs will cover the uniqueness and importance of the mangrove—and will include habitat exploration and estuary rehabilitation in addition to classroom time.








Qatar Foundation International / STE{A}M

CITIZENS OF SCIENCE QFI's commitments to global citizenship and math and science education intersect in these programs, which both connect students with each other and inspire them to explore new, unfamiliar habitats.

C O P 18/ C M P8

COP 18/CMP8 was the 18th in-person meeting for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The dozens of countries spanning the globe that are represented in the group discussed environmental issues at their meeting in Doha.

GLOBAL ONLINE VIDEO PROJECT As part of Qatar’s COP 18/CMP8 Call to Action Campaign, QFI partnered with WeVideo to launch a global, online video-collaboration space. WeVideo’s platform allowed users from around the world to upload clips, build story arcs, and edit productions—all in the cloud, making video storytelling and unique social editing accessible to all. The site launched before the start of COP 18/CMP8—the UN summit on climate change held in Doha in November and December of 2012—and QFI students from Qatar, the US, and Brazil created videos that populated the site, including the initial Call to Action video. A longer compilation video was produced following the conference and was shown at film festivals in the ensuing months including SXSW, where it was featured in “Changing Lives Through Collaborative Storytelling.”


YOUTH AMBASSADORS FOR SCIENCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT (YASE) Launched in partnership with Qatar Shell, Qatar National Research Fund, and Conservation International (CI), YASE raises environmental awareness in students from Qatar, the US, and Brazil. Focused on two elements of environmental education— conservation and innovation—the program sent 12 Youth Ambassadors from the three countries around the world in 2012. In Caravelas, Brazil, and Al-Dhakira, Qatar, they put QFI and CI’s joint Mapping the Mangroves tool to work. They then explored São Paulo, Brazil, and attended the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where they met UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and presented their findings from Caravales in the Qatar Pavilion.


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