From the 11th to 17th May Jon Harper, Chief Executive and Shereez Dharsey, Project Manager visited Jordan and Dubai to explore how we further support the development of Global Social Leaders.

As background to our visit, Future Foundations launched our first programme open to young people from other countries in 2013, in partnership with the Wellington Leadership Institute.  Upon invitation from King’s Academy, Jordan, Jon Harper (CEO of Future Foundations) and Shereez Dharsey visited the school during May 2014.

During the visit, we took the opportunity to meet with schools and education organisations in the Middle East, focusing our visit on those who share our mission and vision for society, and believe in the importance of developing a new type of leader, who are based in Dubai and Jordan.

We were inspired by every meeting and have left the Middle East with a common message – that there is a need for more collaboration.  School leaders are open to working together, and recognise that whilst it’s important to expose young people to a global network and mind-set, leadership starts firstly on an individual level, and secondly at home and in one’s school and local community.   

The need for young people to explore who they are and how they can make a difference in the world was underlined by two particular highlights of our visit to the Middle East.  

We visited the Greening the Desert project in Jordan which is showing through Premaculature that it is possible and sustainable to grow plants without using pesticides and other techniques which will damage the ground and in the long term make the soil infertile.

We captured footage of this project which won the 2013 Water and Food Awards.  We would like to say a special thanks to Salah Hammad who took me and Shereez on a tour and provided an incredible insight into a project which is demonstrating what’s possible.  This project is an incredible inspiration for young people which we will be sharing on future programmes, as we work with future Social Leaders to show them what is being done around the world by dedicated people who are identifying ways to solve the global food security challenges our world faces.   A recent article in the Guardian outlined the need for ideas like this to spread.

Our second highlight was visiting the King’s Academy, Jordan.  During our visit set up by Rana Matar we had the opportunity to meet with the Headmaster, Deputy Headmaster, students who participated in our Global Social Leaders 2013 programme, the students who will participate in this summer’s programme.

We travelled with the students to visit the Karak Creativity Club.  We worked with the students and the Karak Creativity Club to build wheelchairs and the students then gave them to those who were in need of a wheelchair (this has been identified by the local community).  It was great to see the students working with their community and local organisations who understand the needs, and contributing their time, energy and enthusiasm to a cause which was demonstrably a real need.  For those who could not make it to the centre to receive a wheelchair, these were distributed by local young people following our visit to their houses.

A photo from our visit to King’s Academy with the participants from 2013 and those who will join us at Wellington College in August is included with this article.  Further photos will be shared shortly.

Over the coming months we will be working on plans for how we can support our participants post-programme to create positive change within their schools, communities and ultimately the world.

The visit was an incredible insight into the great education that takes place and the openness to explore further how we prepare young people for a rapidly changing world and global challenges requiring new ways of thinking.

We would like to thank everyone we met for their time and their shared commitment for supporting the development of social leaders.

Over the coming weeks we will be publishing further details on our visits and the next steps we plan to take with those we met to develop future leaders who have a global mind-set and a local understanding.

Jon Harper, Chief Executive and Shereez Dharsey, Project Manager

Over 6 days we met with the following incredible schools, projects, organisations and individuals:

Repton School, The Winchester School, Dubai English Speaking College, Jumeira Baccalaurete School, Dubai College, Al Sadiq Islamic English School Dubai, King’s Academy Jordan, Greening the Desert Project (2013 Water and Food Award Winner), Taleem, The Emirates Foundation, Cass University Dubai.