On 26 March 2019 Middlesex University Dubai hosted an inclusivity colloquium entitled Fostering Inclusivity Champions in HE. This was a student focused event designed to promote inclusivity in UAE universities. The motivation for this event was to respond to comments and questions posed by students during the Campus Forum. Students who have experience of having persons with determination within their classes had expressed a strong desire to understand their peers’ differences, a willingness to prevent marginalisation and to include them in order to achieve the learning potential of the entire cohort.
The event was attended by approximately 100 students and staff, representatives from the KHDA and the following HE institutions: Heriot-Watt University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, SAE Institute Dubai, University of Manchester (Middle East Centre), University of Wollongong, Zayed University, and the New Academy School.
The panelists included Sean Pavitt, Director of Inclusive Education Programmes, KHDA, Dr Jigar Jogia, Associate Professor of Psychology, Zayed University and Siobhan McNiff, Learning Support Counsellor at Middlesex University Dubai. The stars of the show were three brave and inspiring students from Middlesex University Dubai who shared their personal experiences of dyslexia, ADHD and mental health with the audience. The objectives of the colloquium were to:
The thought provoking, informative and inspirational event motivated participants to volunteer to be inclusivity champions across the HE sector in Dubai. These champions will carry on the inclusion conversation in their home universities and within their communities in the hope of removing barriers and promoting inclusion.
These statements were written by attendees on the Pledge Poster, and sum up fairly well the atmosphere of the conference;
I pledge to be an inclusivity champion and advocate everywhere I go
I wanna make a difference
Make your disability an Ability
Strength lies in differences not in similarities
Differences make room for innovation
Thank you for giving us this platform