The School’s Institute of Positive Education is delivering presentations, courses and workshops at various events in Dubai, including the World Government Summit, from February 6-14.

Justin Robinson

Justin Robinson (above) and David Bott, Director and Associate Director of the Institute of Positive Education respectively, gave a presentation on empathy and wellbeing at the What Works event at Dubai’s Amity University on Monday 6 February. Hosted by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), around 500 teachers from across the United Arab Emirates attended the event to share how they nurture a school environment that builds empathy, respect, acceptance and appreciation among students, parents and colleagues – and leads to positive experiences for the whole school community. Dubai is home to students from 188 different nationalities. This diversity of nationalities, customs, values and experiences makes tolerance and empathy key topics for local educators. Justin and David discussed how Positive Education helped GGS students apply empathy and the ways empathy and kindness led to enhanced wellbeing.

“Research shows that the more we know one another, the greater the likelihood of compassion and tolerance in our schools,” Justin told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National. “All schools like to reduce bullying behaviour and it’s only possible by discussing empathy. Developing these skills is critical.”

Justin and David are also delivering three one-day Getting Started with Positive Education courses to various schools in Dubai. They will then be joined in the Middle East by Vice Principal, Charlie Scudamore, who will deliver a workshop at the World Government Summit’s Global Dialogue for Happiness. The World Government Summit is an annual event which brings together prominent international leaders, thinkers and pioneers to discuss how governments can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity. This year’s summit will feature former US President, Barack Obama, Dubai Prime Minister, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, former Irish Prime Minister, Mary Robinson, and Egyptian Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, among more than 100 speakers. Charlie, who was awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s inaugural Positive Psychology Pioneer Award in 2013, will present a workshop linked to the presentation of the International Positive Education Network’s (IPEN) State of Positive Education report, which was co-authored by David, Dr Martin Seligman, Dr Scott Kaufman, Dr Margaret Kern and other leading experts in the field.

Meanwhile, our Principal, Stephen Meek, is at Phillips Academy in Andover, New England, USA, discussing Positive Education with Andover’s Tang Institute from February 8-10. Stephen will deliver two presentations at Andover – a community lecture for teaching staff, local educators and parents on February 9, followed by a lunch-time presentation to Tang Institute staff and trustees on February 10. The Tang Institute is one of America’s leading think tanks dedicated to developing innovative approaches to connected learning, exploring the possibilities of hybrid and online learning experiences.