Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University Seeks to Teach Today's Youth to Become Tomorrow's Leaders as Globally Competent Citizens
Over the past century, our vast world has in certain ways become increasingly smaller. With the rise of commercial airplane flight, every major city across the planet has come to be within a day's journey of each other. People who would never have interacted, separated by continents, can now instantly communicate, originally thanks to telephones but now even more profoundly via the internet's limitless reach.
With planet Earth condensing into what is in essence a village Earth, it is growingly important for today's youth—tomorrow's leaders—to be aware of and understand the broader world and our interconnectedness as global citizens.
To empower youth to succeed in this way worldwide and with a special focus on the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU) has established itself as a center for the development of global citizens. PMU is spearheading the creation of effective programs and strategies for teaching global competencies that encompass the knowledge, skills, and attributes required of tomorrow's leaders.
The initiative is all a part of instilling a culture of lifelong learning, enabling youth to gain, develop, posses, build, and acquire global competencies. These competencies, in turn, can help in solving the social, academic, and professional problems that all people on Earth will in one way or another face in the decades to come.
"PMU intends to provide the youth with ample opportunities to develop and demonstrate competencies that prepare them to be globally competent citizens and lifelong learners," said Dr. Issa Al Ansari, President of PMU. "We are striving to give young people in the MENA region and around the world the best available approaches."
Ten competencies for making a better world
A total of ten global competencies have been identified, analyzed, and developed by PMU for teaching to interested and motivated individuals who want to help make a positive difference. These competencies are as follows: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Creativity, Coordinating with Others, People Management, Judgment and Decision Making, Service Orientation, Emotional Intelligence, Negotiation, and Cognitive Flexibility.
"By addressing each of these competencies through education and training, we can help form globally minded and highly capable people," said Dr. Al Ansari.
To go into depth on a few of these studied competencies, Problem Solving is a process through which one addresses and assesses a problem using a systematic and logical methodology. The process proceeds through the initial identification of the problem, then the designing of solutions, the executing of those solutions, and finally an evaluation of the results to ensure that the challenges posed have been successfully met.
A major element of successfully approaching problem solving in general is the competency of Creativity. This competency is predicated on the ability to generate new ideas that can make a difference in solving local, regional, and international problems. Solutions that succeeded before might not be sufficient or specific enough for addressing a novel problem at hand, thus requiring a global citizen to forge a new path toward resolution.
In reaching consensus among the affected parties, a globally competent citizen often must rely on the competency of Negotiation. At its core, negotiation is a methodological scientific process, identifying and encapsulating the common as well as conflicting interests shared by two or more people or groups. While negotiation is at once a familiar, everyday aspect of communicative exchange between persons, at the higher levels of serious issues impacting groups with seemingly intractably clashing perspectives, needs, and wants, the art of negotiation must be both delicate and rigorous, fair-minded yet firm. To negotiate successfully, a global citizen must possess certain skills, approaches, and attitudes.
"Today's youth will face many challenges on regional and global scales, from water shortages to the impacts of climate change, and from the threat of new pandemics like COVID-19 to the changes in the workforce brought about by increasingly capable automation and artificial intelligence," said Dr. Al Ansari. "More than ever, the problems we all face as inhabitants of this increasingly connected world will require the sort of solutions that globally competent people working together can deliver "
"By acquiring the ten competencies we aim to teach," Dr. Al Ansari continued, "and continuing to hone their practice as lifelong learners, globally competent individuals will be at the forefront of preserving us all as a people and this world we all share."
Advantages of global citizenship
To initially explore, gain, and then progressively build the ten global competences, interested learners would master the material through the use of eight integrated skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening, researching, presenting, computing, and viewing.
A dynamic and engaging learning environment where different learning styles are accommodated is at the core of the developing of global citizens. Whether through online learning or eventually in-class sessions and workshops as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, students would follow the "Learn, Apply, Demonstrate & Assess Model," practicing what they experience academically and being mindful of the supporting, overlapping, and synergistic elements of global competency.
In short, the learning never ends and there are no limits to the understanding and knowledge that can be attained by progress-seeking global citizens.
"There are tremendous advantages for youth and audiences around the globe in pursuing global competency," said Dr. Al Ansari. "At PMU, we intend to do our part in cultivating lifelong learning amongst the next generation of leaders."