Doha, 15 October 2019. On Tuesday, Aspire Academy celebrated the annual “Global Citizenship Day”, bringing staff from more than 65 nationalities and their unique cultures under its roof. Aspire Academy organized this event to celebrate and introduce student-athletes to cultural and ethnic diversity that is paramount to the success of the Academy.
To mark the event, Aspire Academy staff turned out in outfits and regalia representative of their countries of origin while showcasing some of their different countries’ heritage, foods, historical artifacts and other exhibits. “This is part of our extracurricular activities to increase our students’ awareness of different cultures and we think that this approach makes it more interesting for them to learn something about other countries,” says Ali Salem Afifa, Deputy Director General of Aspire Academy.
“The diversity of our staff representing more than 70 nationalities is something that differentiates us from other schools, and we cherish it as one of our strengths,” says Badr Al-Hay, Director of Education and Student Affairs. It is a benefit for students as well as for the people around them. “Qatar is such a small country, but there are so many people coming from different places of the world. It’s very nice for the students to get this exposure and as global citizens, they need to learn what other cultures have in common with their own culture and how can they bridge differences” says English-teacher Carla Palmer, who is used to being exposed to different cultures from early childhood on, being born in Scotland to a Jamaican father and Scottish mother.
This year’s edition involved the students more than ever before. “In order to get them to a deeper understanding of different cultures we also involved them in the event organization,” explains LDP Educator Abdulaziz Dalloul. That meant that students selected countries they were interested in and helped the staff member in charge of the country’s stand to present it to fellow students. “This collaboration between students and staff is a good example to show how we put the values of Aspire Academy, such as synergy, into practice.”
For Mathematics Teacher Daniel Abebe Asnake the event has turned to be a huge success. “The students are really eager to find out more things about the cultural backgrounds of the people around them,” says the 34-year-old Ethiopian, who was delighted to share knowledge about his home country. “What I want the students to know about Ethiopia after this event is that it is the second most populated country in Africa after Nigeria. It’s a very diverse country with its own calendar and over 80 different languages. Furthermore, it’s the birthplace of coffee and the home of some of the world’s best runners – as they could see at the recent IAAF World Athletics Championship in Doha, where Ethiopian athletes won eight medals including two golds.”
The concept of global citizenship is a key pillar in Aspire Academy’s educational philosophy and supports the Academy’s different approaches to multicultural education, education for sustainable development and international education. The Academy’s efforts to organize such an event stems from its belief in the role of educators as agents of social change, bringing new perspectives on understanding the self in relation to a global community within the holistic educational experience for the Academy’s student-athletes. This perspective follows a curriculum that attends to human values and beliefs, global systems, issues, history and cross-cultural understandings.