The International Baccalaureate (IB) hosted its Global Conference for the first time in the Middle East in United Arab Emirates. More than 1,600 teachers and school leaders shared big ideas, exchanged best practices from the classroom and reflected on the roles they play in preparing students for the rapidly changing global economy of the 21st century.

The largest annual gathering of IB educators and innovators in the Africa, Europe and Middle East (AEM) region, the Global Conference provided a launch pad for new initiatives, partnerships and new developments.

Opening the Conference, Her Excellency Jameela AlMuhairi, Minister of State for General Education, gave a welcome address to the audience. Her Excellency stressed the importance of diversity in school curricula in the UAE. Diversity highlights the UAE’s multinational community and the value of tolerance. She affirmed that it is essential that both the public and the private school system must work together to ensure that all students in the UAE are provided with the skills they need to become the best version of themselves and to be the future citizens we aspire them to be. 

Announcements at this year’s Conference included the launch of a partnership with Apex2100 and HIVE Learning to create a mobile app dedicated to supporting IB educators, parents and students with comprehensive, yet easily-consumable athletic performance and wellness content.

Delegates also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP) with the announcement of a student innovators’ grant for MYP students, which will create opportunity for students to build the skills they need to become leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs the world demands today.

The IB Global Conference acts as a platform for the IB to spread its vision for a world with more well-rounded, multi-lingual and open-minded future citizens, who can respond to global, national and local challenges.

Dr Siva Kumari, the IB’s Director General, said: “As new global challenges emerge from an unprecedented pace of change, an IB education, based on the IB learner profile with its distinct set of attributes, is more relevant and necessary than ever to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Under the Conference theme of “Generation IB”, the IB develops the kind of critical thinkers needed for tomorrow.”

Attendees heard from a line-up of high-profile keynote speakers, including Sir Clive Woodward who addressed the conference on the topic of Peak performance: For learners and athletes; Tina Blythe, Director of Learning and Outreach at Harvard Project Zero, who shared strategies for integrating new practices into day-to-day teaching; Rosan Bosch, founder of Rosan Bosch Studio, who discussed the significant impact of design on behaviour in learning spaces; and Michael Furdyk, co-founder & Director of Innovation, TakingITGlobal, who explained his journey to supporting millions of students to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges.

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Internationally-renowned representatives of higher education institutions also shared insights into the university admissions process and their views on the future of education, in the Conference’s higher education institute panel. Delegates heard about the progress of IB graduates within their universities and what makes an IB student stand out in the application process.

Alongside the keynote presentations, teachers and school leaders attended over 100 professional development sessions, to learn about key programme updates and innovative pedagogical practice to take back to their classrooms, with topics including: International-mindedness, academic honesty, inclusion and co-teaching.

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