• Egyptian marathon runner and mountaineer Manal A Rostom gives keynote speech
  • Workshops held on variety of topics, aimed at enhancing teaching in IB classrooms

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: More than 230 educators from 12 International Baccalaureate schools across the UAE gathered at GEMS World Academy in Dubai on 28 October to take part in the inaugural GEMS IB Conference.

An enriching and collaborative event, the conference featured prominent IB and guest speakers, including Pascal Ashkar, Senior IB World School Manager at the IB Organisation, as well as a series of interactive workshops, giving attendees the opportunity to learn from and network with fellow IB practitioners, reflect on their practice, and leave with inspiration, fresh ideas, and renewed energy to take back to their schools.

Dr Saima Rana, Chief Education Officer, GEMS Education and CEO/Principal, GEMS World Academy – Dubai, said: “The inaugural GEMS IB Conference stands as a testament to our commitment to excellence in education. It underscores the profound relevance and paramount importance of advancing the International Baccalaureate philosophy, fostering a global mindset, and cultivating the multifaceted talents of our students.

“It is an opportunity to explore innovative approaches to education, facilitating the development of individuals who not only excel academically, but also emerge as empowered, conscientious global citizens, prepared to navigate the complexities of our ever-evolving world.”

The conference included a rousing, inspirational keynote speech by Manal A Rostom, the Dubai-based Egyptian marathoner, mountaineer, Nike Running Ambassador, women’s rights activist, and founder of Surviving Hijab.

Rostom, who in 2022 became the first Egyptian woman to scale Mount Everest, said: “I am excited to be a part of the first GEMS IB Conference. You never forget your first time! My message to all is to be brave, stay vulnerable, and go chasing your dreams. Always remember that if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. And if you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

Attendees, who came from both GEMS and non-GEMS IB schools in the UAE, had the chance to learn and discuss the key takeaways from the recently concluded IB World Conference held in Dublin, Ireland.

They also took part in a series of workshops covering a variety of topics relevant to IB education today. These included: making the world a better place through Service as Action; the importance of work-life balance as an IB educator; inclusive curriculum design in the IBDP Theory of Knowledge; teaching with design thinking; and measuring sustainable community impact.

Simon Herbert, Head of School/CEO, GEMS International School – Al Khail, said: “The exciting inaugural GEMS IB Conference is an opportunity to share best practice, to learn from IB educators in the UAE, to network with like-minded colleagues, and to delve deeper into the IB philosophy. With its Learner Profile values, Approaches to Learning, and focus on both knowledge and skills for the future, the IB is the fastest-growing curriculum in the UAE.

“GEMS will of course continue to forge a key partnership with the IB Organisation. We hope this conference will reinforce the partnership and provide wonderful learning opportunities for all present, which will then impact in our classrooms.”

GEMS Education currently has eight schools in the UAE offering the IB: GEMS World Academy – Dubai, GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi, GEMS International School – Al Khail, GEMS Wellington International School, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, GEMS Modern Academy, GEMS Dubai American Academy, and GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi.


About GEMS Education 

GEMS Education is one of the world’s oldest and largest K-12 private education providers. It is a highly regarded choice for quality private education in the Middle East and North Africa region. As a company founded in the UAE in 1959, it holds an unparalleled track record of providing diverse curricula and educational choices to all socio-economic means. GEMS Education now owns and operates 63 schools and educates over 130,000 students in the MENA region; and through its growing network of schools as well as charitable contributions is fulfilling the founder’s vision of putting a quality education within the reach of every child. 

For further information about GEMS Education, visit www.gemseducation.com or contact: 

Mina Kiwan  
Senior Account Director 
Memac Ogilvy