Georgetown Leaders, Students, and Alumni Play Central Role at WISE 2023

Safwan Speaking in WISE 1

The 2023 World Innovation Summit for Education, featuring leaders, alumni, and students from Georgetown University, called attention to the urgent need for creativity, policy, and innovation in redefining learning for the Artificial Intelligence era. This significant gathering of global experts provided valuable insights, outlining a path forward for educational transformation.

Education of the Future

Dean Safwan Masri offered his insights on a policy roundtable titled “Navigating the Impact of AI Superpowers: How to Build an Inclusive Global AI Landscape.” Along with distinguished speakers from across Qatar Foundation, Qatar Museums, and Brookings Center, Dean Masri shed light on the urgent need to embrace AI in higher education and to develop appropriate learning collaboratives, policy development, and support to help students and faculty excel.

 “Like every technology tool, AI can be a friend or an enemy for teachers and students, and we need to embrace it, learn about it, and figure out how to interact with it in a healthy and constructive manner…we need to create learning communities where there is innovation and experimentation, and sharing of experiences. We need to make it less intimidating and more inviting,” he said.

Advancing Ethical Values

Dr. Tom Banchoff, Vice President for Global Engagement at Georgetown University spoke about the imperative of designing ethical AI tools for a panel on “Writing the Rules: What Does the Roadmap to Ethical AI Look Like?” and led a learning lab called “Exploring Ethical Values in the Digital Age: Leveraging AI for a Better Understanding of the Global Ecological Challenges Across Religious Traditions.” 

His learning exercise encouraged participants to use AI Language Modeling tools to understand commonalities in religious conceptions of environmental stewardship.  “So much of human life is concerned with values, issues of faith, complex questions, and this lab explores to what extent can AI, like chatGPT, help us as educators…to help us see these traditions in a new light.”

The learning lab’s hands-on learning portion was led by researchers in a collaborative project between Qatar Foundation and Georgetown University titled “The Global Environmental Challenge: Islamic and Christian Perspectives.” This ongoing project, which sponsored the lab, is assessing gaps in the literature around Islamic and Christian conceptions of environmental preservation and developing learning resources around the topic, Dr. Banchoff explained. 

National Edtech Policy

Anne Nebel, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning and Assessment  was invited to take part in a closed-door roundtable session with officials from the Ministry of Education and Qatar Foundation focusing on national edtech policy. Discussions tackled the aspirations of Qatar’s national policy on edtech and offered initial policy recommendations based on local expert insights.

Alumni Edtech Entrepreneurs 

Reflecting the forward approach of Georgetown in preparing students for the future of work, several edtech companies founded by students during their time at GU-Q were showcased at the international event. Haroon Yasin (SFS’14) co-founder and CEO of Taleemabad, and 2021 winner of the WISE award, led a learning lab with his team on “AI for Education: How to Produce Quality Learning Material Fast,” using techniques he developed to help lower barriers to education in Pakistan using AI tools. 

An on-site innovation showcase featured Muallemi, an ed-tech platform devoted to lowering barriers to high quality tutoring in Qatar founded by Alumni Abdulrahman F. Al-Thani (SFS’22) and Abdullah Nazeer (SFS’23). The company has now hired alumni Saidalikhon Maksudkhonov (SFS’23) and Aminulloh Mamadziyoev (SFS’23), who helped represent the company at the showcase.

Education Framework Agreement

The education summit also served as the platform for the signing ceremony of a framework agreement between GU-Q and Education Above All (EAA), one of the event sponsors. GU-Q Dean Safwan Masri and EAA CEO Fahad Al-Sulaiti cemented the relationship between both institutions around several initiatives, including jointly taught courses, a lecture series, and internship arrangements, reflecting their shared commitment to education as a means of elevating societies and safeguarding the future.

Student and Alumni Participation 

Students and alumni working with EAA played important roles at WISE as well. GU-Q student Khalid Al-Kawari (SFS’26) and alumna Hana Elshehaby (SFS’22), both EAA Youth Advocates, acted as emcee and moderator during a panel for EAA’s Al Fakhoora program. Their panel “AI and Access to Higher Education” explored AI as a tool to increase equity in educational scholarships and other applications. 

Dana Kalid Al Anzy (SFS’17) gave opening remarks at a panel discussion launching the EAA Educational Public Policy Observatory in her role as EAA Senior Specialist, Strategic Partnerships. Al Anzy, who played a role in developing partnerships for the Observatory, summed up the importance of contributing to conversations that advance education, such as those that take place at WISE, saying: “we are united in our pursuit of a world where education transcends boundaries and empowers generations.” 

More GU-Q Participation in Global Fora