WISE Initiative

WISE initiative - Awards for education projects

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) was established by Qatar Foundation in 2009 under the patronage of its Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. WISE is an international, multi-sectoral platform for creative thinking, debate and purposeful action in order to build the future of education through innovation. WISE is now an ongoing initiative and a global reference in new approaches to education. Through both the annual Summit and a range of continuing programs WISE is promoting collaboration and building the future of education.

The thrust for constant innovation has long prevailed in sectors such as technology and healthcare, but education has generally lacked this approach in both policymaking and the classroom. We face unprecedented global challenges - poverty, conflict, unemployment, inequality, environmental sustainability and others. Education is the route to short- and long-term solutions, yet today’s learning systems are not coping with the task. WISE is a response to the urgent need to address education in a new way.

WISE is an international platform for innovation in education that nurtures new approaches, recognizes and supports successful initiatives and helps these initiatives spread and grow.

WISE Values:

Innovation is about finding new ways to approach and confront challenges. Technology can make an important contribution.

WISE is a multi-sectoral community of thought leaders and practitioners from all over the world, working at various levels to transform education.

WISE is action-oriented and dedicated to collaboration as way to share sound practices and to replicate them on the widest possible scale.

The WISE Community
The WISE community has more than 18,000 active members in 152 countries who are together  seeking novel solutions to the challenges facing education in empowering us to meet the challenges facing the world.

WISE is much more than an annual Summit. The initiative is action-oriented and seeks to raise the status of education through a growing number of year-round programs launched since 2009. 

WISE education summit doha qatar WISE Summit. Since 2009, the annual World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar, has brought together decision makers, influential experts and practitioners to debate global trends, explore groundbreaking innovations and take concrete action in education. The 6th annual Summit will convene November 4 - 6, 2014, in Doha, Qatar.


WISE Prize for education - future of schoolEstablished by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, the WISE Prize for Education recognizes an individual or a team of up to six people for an outstanding, world-class contribution to the field of education. The inaugural WISE Prize for Education was awarded at WISE 2011 to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairman of BRAC, a Bangladesh-based initiative that has improved the lives of millions through education across three continents. The 2012 WISE Prize For Education was awarded to  Dr. Madhav Chavan, co-founder and CEO of Pratham, the largest education NGO in India that provides education and literacy to millions at minimum cost. The third WISE Prize was awarded at WISE 2013 to Ms. Vicky ColbertFounder and Director of Fundación Escuela Nueva and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva education model.

WISE Awards for education innovation and trends

The annual WISE Awards identify and promote six innovative projects that have had a transformative impact on societies. These projects have been recognized from a wide variety of sectors and locations, and they represent a growing resource of expertise and sound educational practice. The winning projects gain global visibility and receive a prize of 20,000 dollars (US). So far, 30 projects have been recognized from a wide variety of sectors and locations.

learners voice - rethinking education

WISE Learners' Voice brings the all-important views of students to the issue of rethinking education. A selected group of young learners, aged 18 to 25, plays an active role in the Summit and is involved in WISE activities throughout the year. The Program builds their communication, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to ensure that decision-makers hear their all-important voice, and that they are prepared to take on leading roles in their field and the education world. Today, the Learners’ Voice program comprises of 108 Learners who were recruited in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

WISE doha qatar - education leadership program

The WISE Program for Education Leadership is organized in association with WISE Partners including the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP), and the Institute of International Education (IIE), in cooperation with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and L’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF). This year’s program will be held at the Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center, Education City, October 26-28, 2013 and will welcome 19 participants from 18 different countries for two and a half days of stimulating engagement. 

WISE publications - innovative learning systemsWISE Books support, spread and inspire innovative thinking and sound practices in education. The first WISE Book, Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers around the World, was published in 2011 and explores the work of 16 groundbreaking projects that have developed new, effective approaches to education. This was followed by the second publication, Learning a Living: Radical Innovation in Education for Work, which looks at the relationship between education and the world of work. The third WISE Book is currently in production and will focus on how technology is changing the way we learn.

WISE Haiti task Force - rebuilding education system

The WISE Haiti Task Force brings together innovators and successful projects that are contributing to rebuilding Haiti’s educational system, which was devastated in the earthquake of January 2010.  The Task Force works with a local partner, FOKAL (Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty), to empower Haitian people to reconstruct their country. In 2011, 20 best practices were identified in various sectors, and in 2012 six were granted financing to enable them to expand. The funding for these projects was extended in 2013, while four new projects were also awarded grants.

Learning World - TV program with Euronews

In the framework of a partnership with Qatar Foundation, Euronews, since September 2010, has been broadcasting Learning World, a new magazine dedicated to education. Learning World is a weekly eight-minute magazine on air running for one year. Each show revolves around three stories from around the globe about the main issues in education that surprise, inform and entertain.

WISE community Platform and social networkThe WISE Community Platform is an interactive knowledge base that offers a wide range of tools to people working in education-related sectors. It includes a social networking feature that enables the WISE community to connect, interact and share knowledge and best practices.

His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Ph.D., Chairman of WISE.

WISE Chairman - His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani

H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani is President of Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), an emerging research university building upon unique collaborations with local and international partners, which seeks to provide unparalleled opportunities for scholarship, teaching, discovery, and learning through an array of interdisciplinary programs. HBKU's partners are Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Northwestern University in Qatar, HEC Paris in Qatar, and University College London Qatar.

Dr. Al-Thani is also Vice President, Education, at Qatar Foundation and Chairman of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), the leading global forum for innovative thinking and practice in education. 

The World Economic Forum has named Dr. Al-Thani a Young Global Leader for his regional role in education reform and innovation.  

Among a diverse range of education-related initiatives, Dr. Al-Thani is Executive Director and a board member of the Qatar Leadership Centre, an initiative of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar. Dr. Al-Thani is a member of Qatar’s Supreme Education Council which oversees reform at the K-12 level. He led the strategic planning of the project to build the National Library of the State of Qatar which will house one of the largest collections in the Arab world. 

He serves on the Executive Council of the World Digital Library at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and on the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg, Germany. Dr. Al-Thani has been named to the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut; he also serves as a member of the Board of Advisers of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is a Board Member of the Palestine Happy Child Center which promotes the welfare of traumatized children. 

After receiving his doctorate in Civil Engineering from the University of Southampton (UK), Dr. Al-Thani taught engineering at Qatar University; he now serves as chair of the Executive Board and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. 

Dr. Al-Thani is a board member of Nakilat, the national gas shipping company and a vital link in the LNG supply chain for the State of Qatar.

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development supports the transition of Qatar from a carbon economy to one based on the development of knowledge. It was established in 1995 by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is Qatar Foundation’s Chairperson and driving force. Qatar Foundation structures its actions around three pillars: Education, Science and Research, and Community Development.

Scroll down to find out more about Qatar Foundation's efforts to contribute to building a progressive society and addressing social needs: 

Qatar Foundation - Education, science and research, and community  developmentEducation

Qatar Foundation is bringing world-class education, work experience and career opportunities to Qatar so young people can develop the attitudes and skills required for building its new economy and society. Qatar Foundation provides education at every level, from elementary school through university. With a total of nearly 4,000 students representing some 90 nationalities, the Education City campus is home to some of the world’s best educational institutions, in state-of-the-art facilities.

Students at Qatar Foundation - Science and Research developmentScience and Research

Qatar Foundation encourages the pursuit of knowledge and the development of new technologies. Central to this approach is combining national research with expertise from abroad to build networks that will yield homegrown solutions for Qatar and the region. It is also building a pure and applied research base to help universities and businesses collaborate in translating ideas into commercial realities.


Qatar Foundation - Community developmentCommunity Development

While Qatar Foundation supports Qatar in its transition to a knowledge-based economy, it is also helping build the kind of society that will best complement this new era. Community development involves working with partners to foster a progressive society, to enhance Qatar’s cultural life and protect its heritage, and to address immediate social needs, both within the country and abroad.


Please visit the Qatar Foundation website for more information. 

Qatar Foundation works in partnership with international institutions involved in global educational issues. These partners are closely associated with the WISE event, helping conceive high-quality debates and promoting the WISE initiative through their international networks.

Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie      ACU - Association of Commonwealth Universities     IIEE - Institute of International Education      IAUP - International Association of University Presidents       Rand Corporation       Unesco - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The media play a unique role in the WISE initiative. They have the capacity to reach out to our multiple stakeholders and explain the critical role of education in the development of societies. WISE is pleased to have two year-round internationally renowned media partners again this year to help achieve this objective.

Euronews      Aljazeera network

2013, Year in Review 

The “2013, Year Review” provides a comprehensive and lively roundup of WISE activities throughout 2013, from the annual Summit in Doha around the theme “Reinventing Education for Life” to the entire WISE initiative, complete with photos, quotes and infographics. Download the PDF here



2012 World Innovation Summit for Education - Final Report2012 Annual Report

The Annual Report 2012  brings together everything you need to know about WISE in 2012. This year's interactive report features multimedia content including videos and reports from debates and sessions at WISE 2012 – Collaborating for Change. This report highlights key moments from the annual Summit, the 2012 WISE Awards winning projects and features a focus on the second WISE Prize for Education laureate. To download the report, please click here.


2011 World Innovation Summit for Education - Final Report

2011 Annual Report 

The theme of the 2011 WISE Summit was “Changing Societies, Changing Education”. The 2011 Final Report provides a full overview of the event which featured the awarding of the first WISE Prize for Education to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and an impassioned plea for a global education fund by the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.



2010 World Innovation Summit for Education - Final Report

2010 Annual Report

The 2010 WISE Final Report provides summaries of all Summit debates, including information about new features and the announcement of the creation of the WISE Prize for Education, the first distinction of its kind to recognize an individual or a team of up to six people for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education.