World in Conversation faculty highlight cultural dialogues at global summit

Sociology faculty Sam Richards and  Laurie Mulvey, directors of the World in Conversation Center in the College of the Liberal Arts, recently were guest speakers at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) held Nov. 4 to 6 in Doha, Qatar. This annual summit was established by the Qatar Foundation and focused on innovating global education.

This year’s theme was “Imagine - Create - Learn: Creativity at the Heart of Education." More than 1,500 delegates from around the world exchanged insights and formed collaborative partnerships toward solutions in education.

In 2013, Mulvey facilitated a live, real-time video dialogue between Penn State students at University Park and students in the Middle East for an large audience of WISE delegates. This year she facilitated several more live video dialogues between students attending the WISE conference and students in other locations throughout the Middle East and Europe.

As an advocate of innovations in education and its increasingly global scope, Mulvey said she believes that the center and WISE conference share similar goals, and that to have an impact, education ''needs to leave a legacy by giving each student real tools to navigate the world they are inheriting. Education is most powerful when it accesses the whole person and invites them to consider the perspectives of other whole people.''

Richards served on a separate panel that discussed logistical obstacles in administering international programming in conflict zones. He highlighted the dialogues that World in Conversation has between Penn State students and students in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Northern Iraq/Kurdistan, Egypt, Gaza and Israel.

Overall, the World in Conversation Center’s contribution to WISE was to showcase the innovative use of cross-cultural video dialogue as a powerful pedagogical tool for deepening a student’s understanding of the world and themselves.

''At World in Conversation we use video conferencing technology in ways that benefit Penn State students, while also benefiting young people in areas of the world where simply attending school is a privilege,'' said Richards.

For more information about the WISE Annual Conference and World In Conversation.

On Twitter: @WorldinConvo.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015