Oman - The land of peace and calmness

by Hanan Khalifa, 10 October 2019
Innovation MENA

In September colleagues from Cambridge Assessment and the Press travelled to Oman to participate in Innovation MENA - a conference attended by ministers of education and higher education in the Arabic speaking world. Hanan Khalifa tell us about the experience.

In September, I, along with colleagues from Cambridge Assessment and the Press, descended on Muscat, Oman’s capital city. It was my first trip to Oman and the first thing I noticed is how calm and quiet Omanis are. Perhaps it is the geographical nature of the country - known for its mountainous rural beauty - or its size and population, with just 15 people for every square kilometre.

The reason we were all there was to participate in Innovation MENA – a conference attended by ministers of education across the Arabic speaking world, from Mauritania to Iraq and from Somalia to Egypt.  The conference was also attended by ministries from some sub-Saharan African countries.

Innovation MENA

The trip was very successful in renewing existing partnerships as well as generating new ones. Jane Mann, the managing director of education reform at the Press, chaired a panel discussion between Gulf State education ministers on The Importance of Active Learning. I delivered a keynote on aspirational education and creating tomorrow's digital citizens. Both were very well received and I believe between the both of us, we have reached at least 500 stakeholders.

Dinner at Innovation MENA

However, the highlight of the trip for me, and its true success, was in the team spirit and collaborative behaviour exhibited by colleagues throughout. During the conference, you didn't hear, "I am from Cambridge English", "I am Cambridge International", "I am from the Press ... the Faculty" etc; what was heard was "I AM CAMBRIDGE". We all worked together, showing a united 'Cambridge' front of expertise right across our offering; from English Language teaching, to publishing, to assessment research and education reform. 

Hanan Khalifa
Director, CE Partnerships Projects and Policy

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