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AUK Professor Hesham Al-Awadi Participates in a Lecture "The Elite and Cultural Reform" with Former Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Moudhi Al-Hamoud

Dr. Hesham Al-Awadi, Professor of History and International Relations at AUK, took part in a joint lecture with the former Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Moudhi Al-Humoud, entitled 'The Elite and Cultural Reform.' The lecture discussed the roles institutes of education and higher education in the Arab countries must play in providing young adults with information about their responsibilities towards their societies.

Dr. Al-Humoud discussed education systems in Arab countries and how they do not instill political awareness among students. She explained that students generally obtain political knowledge from social interactions with families, at parties or through the media. She added that political education should not be limited to information about elections, but must also educate young adults about respecting laws, respecting others, respecting the state and human rights, justice, compassion, and volunteerism.

"...that we must count on the elite to represent through the educational system," said Dr. Al-Humoud. Dr. Al-Humoud. identified the elite as being those who have influence on society. For his part, Dr. Al-Awadi emphasized the importance of empowering students in order to prosper in the 21st century. He argued that the meaning of 'elite' has changed, and is now different from what was traditionally considered in the Arab world during the fifties and sixties. According to Dr. Al-Awadi, in the past, the 'elite' was comprised of the older members of a society who came from a particular class, and were confined to the intellectual or political echelon. "Today, however, the elite might include a younger generation that are empowered by technology and social media and has real influence on a wider sector of society," he added.

Dr. Al-Awadi also spoke of the need to reform education and empower students with global knowledge and 21st century skills, highlighting seven key skills that Arab universities can train students to learn; and they include critical thinking and problem-solving, collaboration across networks and leading, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information, and curiosity and imagination.

Dr. Al-Awadi concluded that although the younger generation, the new elite, is empowered, they still need the experience and wisdom of the traditional elite; and it is with such a partnership that real progress can occur.

The event was organized by Huroof Cultural Center, and sponsored by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport.

Dr. Hesham Al-Awadi, Professor of History and International Relations at the AUK

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 22nd November 2016

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2016

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