Bringing Global Connections to Life in Kuwait

Student Rawan Alkandari with her teacher Ashwaq Alattal (right) from Fatima Alsarawi school on "Baitak," Kuwait TV.
Student Rawan Alkandari with her teacher Ashwaq Alattal (right) from Fatima Alsarawi school on “Baitak,” Kuwait TV.

With half of its population under the age of twenty, the Arab world seeks innovative programs to enable its youth to compete in an increasingly globalized world. One important area of preparing skilled young professionals for the modern workforce is media literacy and journalism, both key programs for teaching civic education, which is a valuable part of the foundation of both a quality modern education and secure and prosperous nations. Effective and trusted exchange and training programs with proven curricula are needed to help educators and their students understand how to use new technologies and social media to explore global issues, to connect with peers abroad, and to take action to support their communities.

Launched in 2008 in Oman and Kuwait with the support of the US Department of State Bureau for Near East Affairs Office of Middle East Partnership Initiatives (MEPI), the iEARN Gulf High School Journalism Education Program has enabled more than 100 Kuwaiti students and educators to learn and sharpen critical modern workforce skills and becoming more thoughtful, engaged citizens. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Education has praised the program and seeks to expand the program to more schools in 2013.

The iEARN team in Kuwait, working under the auspices of UNESCO, has assembled a global consortium of professional media and training partners to support the high school journalism program, which is the main iEARN-Kuwait effort at this time. iEARN-Kuwait seeks to create a national youth journalism education program in diverse communities. A needs-assessment and survey of schools has found teachers across the country excited by this opportunity. Partners have included local and national journalists, iEARN-Oman, Northwestern University in Qatar, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and leading MENA regional newspapers and media outlets reporters. Recent highlights of the program have included:

In March 2012, iEARN sponsored a symposium to 55 students and 17 teachers from nine different government high schools in Kuwait on how electronic media is changing the journalism sector and the importance of gaining 21st century skills.
In May 2012, students practiced their newly acquired journalism skills by interviewing key stakeholders in Kuwait, including interviewed the Kuwait Minister of Information, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah, and former Kuwait Minister of Commerce and Member of Parliament, Dr. Yousef Zalzalah.
In October 2012, iEARN hosted an End-of-Year Exhibition attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Ambassador Matthew Tueller, and representatives from the Kuwait Ministry of Education.
Also in May 2012, photojournalist Ali Al-Roumi from Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) presented to 50 journalism program teachers and students from seven participating schools.
Participants of the Kuwait High School Journalism Program including 45 students, 20 educators, and 4 journalist-mentors shared their experience with the year-long program through PowerPoint and poster presentations.

iEARN-USA is proud to be working closely with iEARN-Kuwait on this critical youth program, and we’d love your help to connect as many US and Kuwaiti teachers and students as possible to collaboration on new media literacy, journalism, civic education, and the many programs and projects iEARN has to offer.

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