A Postcard from The Indian High School – Multicultural Dubai

Posted: 24 February 2021

IDEALS

Discoveries

Age:

Secondary

Curriculum Area:

Social Science

Lead School:

Indian High School Dubai

Participating Schools:

Overview

The theme “Multiculturalism” was chosen as it relates to the demographics of Dubai. Attendees were introduced to the topic by way of a video comprising of visuals of the country combined with examples of how the U.A.E is a melting pot of myriad cultures. The keynote speaker Ms Swarna, Supervisor History at the school spoke knowledgeably about the topic. Baraza conversations were then initiated in the breakout rooms. The call ended with a light-hearted conversation about pets accompanied by a compilation of the submitted pictures of participants with their loving pets.

Planning

Details

The event began with a ten minute video highlighting Dubai’s cultural diversity. The video included clippings of students speaking about the various fields in which the U.A.E has excelled and the integral role diversity had to play in it. The event continued with welcoming remarks from Dr. Chaube, RS Rep. The keynote speaker, Ms Swarna, the School Supervisor gave an eloquent speech regarding the culture of Dubai put into historical context.

The theme was then developed from the perspective of the participants in the meeting by showing a video compilation of pictures that the participants submitted reflecting their home culture. The participants were then divided into 4 breakout rooms for Baraza conversations. The moderators started with interactive ice-breaker sessions then proceeded to the first topic of the segment – Cultural Context. This segment was conducted using a spinning wheel which had several elements of a culture. The wheel was spun and participants spoke on the topic the wheel landed on co-relating it to their culture.

The second segment- Well-being, was conducted using an innovative website call Mentimeter. Mentimeter first presented a question about well-being that had to be answered in one word which later formed a word cloud with all the entered words. The second question was an open-ended one also for the participants to answer. Both answers were shared with the members in the breakout room and that led to a discussion.

Back in the main session, there was a brief plenary summary provided by members of the different break out rooms. Similar strands appeared between the rooms. One important one was an appreciation for just how diverse a society Dubai is. To conclude, a lighthearted video with the photographs of the participants with their pets was presented. A few students volunteered to share their loving memories of their pets.

The event ended with a review of the learning of some of the participants and a short video summarizing the whole Postcard. The learning included an appreciation for how diverse the population of Dubai has become over the past 50 years and how quickly the place has moved from desert community to global player.

Challenges

Planning the event and holding meetings was difficult due to the time constraints. Ongoing assessments in the school and meeting deadline to the academic assignments limited the time that the team had to talk and plan.

Creating segments that were entertaining and interactive was difficult as we aimed to engage all the participants in every part of the meeting. Choosing topics and subjects for the participants was also difficult and time consuming.

Students felt that if they were to do the same thing again, they might find even more time for interactions between delegates.

Impact 

Everyone involved in the planning of the event (and hopefully those participating) ended up with a richer understanding of Dubai and the historical context that shapes its present multicultural society.

Long Term Outcomes

Student leaders received diverse opinions and perspectives from participants about well-being and culture and they developed their skills relating to teamwork cooperation and collaboration. They began to understand the importance of developing as a globally minded, proactive citizen who respects other’s views and expresses their own in a coherent fashion. The importance of keeping an open mind was impressed upon the student organisers.

Advice

Author: Dr. Abhilasha Chaube, Round Square Rep Indian High School Dubai

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