Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Education Project - Bahrain 2009

"The Education Project is an opportunity to showcase innovations that have succeeded in one area – and, we hope, can successfully be adapted for another."
His Royal Highness Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al‐Khalifa Crown Prince, Kingdom of Bahrain
The Education Project has been and gone, and for many of you who have been wondering what it was all about, I am colating some of the thoughts and ideas I gathered. This post contains an excerpt from the opening Keynote from HRH. The entire speech is ten minutes long and can be downloaded as a pdf from here or watched on YouTube here (NEW!). The excerpt I have included in the video below will hopefully give you the gist of what the conference goals were. If you are anything like me, and relatively ignorant about the state of education in the Middle East, then take the 3 minutes to watch it.

The preconference blurb informed that "The Project will showcase seedling models of innovation and success in education, and encourage commitments from the private and public sector to adapt these models for wider roll-out." The conference was attended by about 300 people from 65 countries. The format of the conference encouraged maximum exposure for the greatest number of people/projects with most speakers being limited to a 10 minute presentation - quite TED Talk style. There were seven Plenary sessions, each with several speakers and 10 breakout topic streams - again with a number of presentations. With input of this intensity, there was an overwhelm of great ideas, but many of the most valuable connections came in the breaks, the shuttle vans and back at the hotel.

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