The tour was organised alongside the Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO)
Qatar Foundation International (QFI), a US-based member of Qatar Foundation (QF), and Philadelphia-based GEEO, recently arranged a cultural immersion trip to Qatar and Oman for American educators. The trip saw 16 K-12 educators from 12 different states spend ten days exploring a range of historical and cultural sites in the two countries.
In-country guides led the cohort through visits to different regions in each country while Angela Williams, Associate Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, led nightly discussions about how to take the knowledge and experiences from the trip back to the classroom.
Beginning with Qatar, the group toured the world-renowned Museum of Islamic Art designed by IM Pei, kayaked in the Al Thakira mangroves to see flamingos, watched news reporting at Al Jazeera, and visited the QF Headquarters and Education City. They also learned about Qatari dress and watched horses being trained at Al Shaqab.
Then, flying from Doha to Muscat, the participants got an in-depth introduction to Omani culture and history at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, drove to the coast for the Bimmah Sinkhole through the red rock formations to the Wadi Bani Khalid region, and visited Jabrin Castle in Ibra. The group ate meals around a fire under the stars, listened to traditional music, and visited the last remaining shipyards that still build Omani dhows.
Kerry Dunne, one of the participants and a high school history teacher in Massachusetts, said that the trip has “certainly widened his perspective on our fascinating world”. It was his first visit to the Middle East.
The trip was aimed at encouraging educators to integrate cultural and historical insights into educational strategies and tools. Participants will use their newly gained understanding of the region and incorporate their experiences in creating lesson plans, curricular units, and classroom activities, which will be shared with their peers through the QFI Al Masdar platform of K-12 resources. The next trip is planned for April this year.
For more information about QFI, visit their website at qfi.org.