Deploring the attacks by Israeli forces on the educational institutes in Gaza, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), stressed the need for innovation to find solutions for ‘intractable problems.’
She was addressing the plenary session of the WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) summit after opening the 11th edition Tuesday at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza said: “Since the start of the current Israeli aggression in October, 36 Education Above All supported schools and universities have been completely or partially destroyed. And so, Israeli forces have destroyed so much that has been accomplished by Al-Fakhoora programme. With the collapse of each school and each university, we lose a pillar in the foundation of the future. For every child deprived of education because of violence, another pillar is lost.”
The QF chairperson highlighted: “For more than 20 years, we have supported education in Palestine, and especially in Gaza. We built Al Fakhoora School as the first of many educational projects in Gaza. It has since been shelled by the Israeli forces. The projects, which now constitute Al Fakhoora programme include teaching and training, building schools and universities, and funding specific research projects that are not available elsewhere in the strip.”
Her Highness stressed the grim situation by pointing out to the plight of a Palestinian child named Suhaila and said: "This child, and so many others like her, know the bitterness of being barred from learning. Because education’s value is taken for granted, only those who are deprived of it, realise its true importance. This little one, Suhaila, knows that education would provide her and her family with a better future. A better future that refuses to arrive, because the future is heavy with the threat of annihilation, a threat that was realised in the fate of Al Fakhoora.”
“War disrupts educational institutions, exhausts health sectors, and prevents the wheels of development from turning. Those very wheels are buried deep in the debris. And because of this the greatest threat to a society’s progress occurs after the ceasefire. The victims, their old lives buried under the rubble, must rise from the ashes left by the destruction, and start again with nothing,” lamented, the QF chairperson.
Her highness ascertained: “I want to ensure WISE is a platform for new ideas that keep pace with the changes taking place in the world, and the obstacles that education faces in certain countries for reasons of which we are all too aware. And I say, as I have said many times before: there is no alternative but to innovate if we are to find solutions to intractable problems. This is the role that WISE plays.”
The QF chairperson noted that in tackling the challenges of education, scientists and researchers have an academic and moral responsibility, emphasising, “The future of our young people is built on education.”
“Every time education is targeted, the international community takes more than a single step backward. Our priority and policy must transcend political calculations and machinations” highlighted the chairperson.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza also noted that the focus of this year’s WISE - the potential of artificial intelligence- addresses related issues, and how to improve the ways its capabilities and possibilities are harnessed.
Sheikha Moza pointed out that during the war in Gaza, artificial intelligence is being used to fabricate stories, falsify facts, and block publications, photos, and videos that include atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the people of Gaza and the West Bank. “This makes us wonder: whose stories does artificial intelligence select to be archived as history? Whose history will be told? Which ideas will be chosen as the most credible? And then: how do we maintain our independence and preserve our educational values? How do we remain sovereign societies?” she concluded.
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