Nurturing talent: Youth conference

Giftedness 2012 will see exceptional children from around the world convening at this biennale scientific forum, along with internationally renowned speakers from the education sector. Held for the first time in the Middle East, finds out more 

In keeping with the UAE’s ethos of nurturing its young, the latest example of the government investing in its youth is The 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Giftedness, held in Dubai this month.

Hosted by the educational institution Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for the Distinguished Academic Performance, which was named after its founder His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, the conference and its theme ‘Nurturing Talent, Growing Potential’ is a clear indicator of the region’s commitment to and contribution in consolidating the development of world-class standards and best practices for the gifted and talented students’ community.

It’s the first time the forum has been held in the Arabian Gulf, and is expected to attract more than 500 young people with exceptional abilities, as well as international keynote speakers, teachers and leaders in the field of education.

As well as enhancing the importance of education for the gifted and talented in the region, the conference aims to establish principles and general policies for worldwide gifted education systems and draft an actionable plan to accelerate gifted education program implementation throughout GCC and beyond.

One of the keynote speakers, Howard Gardner, is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. Best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments, Gardner will speak as part of the forum’s scientific program.

Also running alongside will be The Children and Youth Summit, designed to deliver a set of activities capable of challenging the minds of the 500 children and youth who will be landing in Dubai from all over the world.

“Gifted children are brilliant minds with specific expectations if not challenging demands,” said Humaid Mohammed Al Qutami, UAE Minister of Education and Chairman of the conference.

“Our role as parents, educators, psychologists or administrators is to polish the path to their emancipation, personal growth and social integration. The UAE believes that brilliant minds offer a wealth of possibilities for which we
must prepare or make available educational, social, professional means for their well-being,” Al Qutami added.