Queen Rania Hosts First Meeting of World Links Arab Region

May 12, 2004

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah hosted the first joint annual meeting for the Advisory Council and board of directors of World Links Arab Region (WLAR) – a program which aims to improve educational outcomes, economic opportunities and mutual global understanding for youth in developing countries through the use of technology and the Internet.

During the meeting, attended by Mrs. Elaine Wolfensohn, representatives of Syrian first lady Asma Al-Assad, and Lebanese Member of Parliament and Chair of the Education Committee Mrs. Bahia Hariri, Queen Rania underlined that enhancing education is vital for bridging gaps, giving people hope, improving lives and ensuring stability throughout the world.

The WLAR Advisory Council was briefed of the progress of work during its first eight months of work and discussed plans for the future after establishing WLAR regional offices in Jordan.

WLAR members then visited Sweifieh Girls High School where they toured the computer lab and discussed projects undertaken by students representing 11 governorates.

They also attended an e-math class run by the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) - launched in June 2003 by WEF’s IT and Telecom Industry Governors, to transform public education through technology in Jordan.

JEI has 35 private/public sector partners, of which World Links is one. Minister of Education Khaled Toukan described World Links programs as a model of public-private partnership for effective and advanced learning deployment in line with national efforts to advance Information Technology (IT) in the Kingdom.

He said through initiatives spearheaded by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania to provide Jordanians with opportunities to excel in the field of IT, Jordanian students are being provided the right tools to facilitate their access to technology, enabling them to attain the necessary skills and allowing them to compete with equal chances in local and international labor markets.

 World Links Jordan Coordinator Hala Thaher briefed WLAR members on World Links programs undertaken in the Kingdom by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Group.

Teachers from Ramtha and Aqaba also shared their success stories and showed how World Links created an active network of teachers and students and had changed teaching and learning in the classroom.

World Links is one of 35 partners of JEI, who have been providing teacher training for student-centered IT learning, with the objective of creating interactive Internet-based collaboration between Jordanian students and World Links students from around the world.

 The Sweifieh School for Girls is one of JEI’s “Discovery Schools” in addition to having a World Links program. Established in 1997 as an initiative of Mr. James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, World Links was established in 1999 as an independent non-profit organization which has expanded to over 35 developing countries.

Teachers learn to integrate technology into learning for improved educational results. These skills enable youth to participate successfully in the global knowledge-based economy when they leave school.

World Links Arab Region was launched in Jordan in 2003 in 120 schools with 20,000 students benefiting annually. WLAR is launching similar pilot projects in Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Yemen in 2004, and restarting the projects in the Palestinian territories. By 2006, World Links aims to have empowered over 1 million students in the Arab World.