The Al Qasimi Foundation spent 2018 listening to our stakeholders and focusing on the sustainability and strategic direction of our work. These efforts culminated in the development of our new five-year strategic plan, which charts our direction and ambitions for 2019-2023. The new plan builds on the investments we have made in our relationships, staff, and community over the past nine years to ensure that our commitment to high-quality research and programming continues to drive the growth and development of our emirate and nation. It also cements our dedication to forward-thinking initiatives that emphasize innovative, data-driven discourses being at the forefront of policy and governance discussions in Ras Al Khaimah and beyond.
During 2018 we also deepened and widened our partnerships and collaborations on issues related to education, philanthropy, community development, and the arts. The Foundation’s ongoing initiatives established new relationships with ministers, policymakers, practitioners, other Foundations, businesses, universities and leading academics. This has included partnering with the Ministry of Education on the UAE-Vietnam Teacher Exchange; collaborating on a parental involvement research project with the Education and Human Resources Council; organizing the 8th Biannual Gulf Comparative Education Society Symposium in Ras Al Khaimah; and supporting promising academics through our various scholarships and competitive research grants. Long-term, we hope these connections will produce additional research and collaborations, thereby increasing the impact of our efforts.
Our engagement activities over the past year have also been varied and fruitful. We bolstered the accessibility of our research and expertise, as well as that of our partners, through establishing bilingual blogs and podcasts. Our educator professional development programs, school reform initiatives, and college preparation programs also continued to yield impressive results. In 2018 we were proud to provide additional opportunities for the students of Ras Al Khaimah, such as the Future Careers Forum, to help students think about the world of possibilities available to them on leaving high school. Additionally, the Foundation has further established Ras Al Khaimah as a cultural focal point in the UAE—championing local artistic talent and the creative sector—through multiple partnerships with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, hosting the Emirates Youth Council, and supporting art exhibitions and workshops year-round.
Through relevant research, evidence-based policy recommendations and programming, and an emphasis on relationships, we will continue to take a sustainable and long-term approach to strengthening the economic, social, and cultural development of Ras Al Khaimah. As the Foundation enters its 10th year of service to the community, our team looks forward to working with our neighbors both here and abroad to further support the growth and achievement of our emirate and nation while recognizing our place as a champion of local knowledge impacting global discourse.
Dr. Natasha Ridge, Executive Director, Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.