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Education and Leadership at Qatar Leadership Academy
By Zarmina Hotaki 26-Mar-15
Many schools focus not only on academic excellence and success, but also on forging a better understanding of how to be successful citizens. Educators strive to create strong leaders and world citizens through after-school activities, international fairs and trips, and community and service activities. These are only a few activities that schools promote as a means of linking theory in academics to its practical application, with the goal of creating and shaping strong leaders that can perform social work well and use their knowledge for the benefit of society at large. Working at Qatar Leadership Academy, a member of the Qatar Foundation, seems to have brought both worlds together. As a boarding school with a flagship leadership program, the school works actively not just to create links, but also to directly teach leadership skills. Our students follow a program consisting of both the U.S. and IB curriculum. At the end of a typical academic day, our students attend an intensive leadership program that teaches heritage, physical activity and sport, basic military activities, and leadership. The program is designed to support physical, social, and emotional well-being. The heritage program allows cadets to feel comfortable in expressing their culture and being proud to uphold their age-old traditions. The sport and physical activities allow them to test their stamina and learn to collaborate and become successful team players. The basic military activities, such as drills, allow them to feel a sense of empowerment by being part of a great organization such as the military. The leadership activities promote a better understanding of the theory behind what makes strong leaders. In addition, students have the opportunity to lead their peers in various activities. Many contend that leadership education instills an important sense of belonging in individuals. For this reason, student learners should be exposed to leadership education in international learning environments. This form of instruction encourages novice learners to establish a relationship between their immediate environments and global, as well as national, contexts. Leadership education is comprehensive and encourages a broader understanding of national identity in student learners. Most importantly, it inculcates essential life skills among youth. Therefore, students’ attitudes and knowledge evolve to new heights, thus enabling them to lead acceptable lifestyles that are reflective of global trends. Since these programs can have the greatest impact and benefit on young students, they must be actively encouraged to be involved in the learning process. Globalization trends have increased the need for nurturing global citizenship, as they encourage the values of human rights, peace, and democracy. Currently, there is an urgent need for all educational systems to undertake leadership instruction. Without the appropriate skills and experience, young student learners will not attain a high level of success in today’s challenging world. An important aspect of the leadership program is learning to take orders and follow leaders who are sometimes from different backgrounds and cultures. Once students are able to respect inherent cultural differences, they can also embrace the principles of co-prosperity, co-sharing, and co-existence. Ultimately, students are able to solve conflicts, negotiate differences, and live in harmony. Essentially, this is the core of our leadership program.
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