Programme

The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Dubai 2018 (IICEDubai2018) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The IAFOR International Conference on Language Learning – Dubai 2018 (IICLLDubai2018). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • Edutainment for Political Reconciliation in South Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Mtwa’s Bopha! and Fugard’s Valley Song
    Edutainment for Political Reconciliation in South Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Mtwa’s Bopha! and Fugard’s Valley Song
    Featured Presentation: Professor Mustafa Hashim Taha
  • Exploring English Language Education in the MENA Region Now and in the Future
    Exploring English Language Education in the MENA Region Now and in the Future
    Keynote Presentation: Dr Deena Boraie
  • In the Era of Disruptive Transformations: Embracing the Imperative of Dynamic Adaptation to the Evolving World of Work
    In the Era of Disruptive Transformations: Embracing the Imperative of Dynamic Adaptation to the Evolving World of Work
    Featured Presentation: Dr Virginia Bodolica
  • Key Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Higher Education in the UAE
    Key Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Higher Education in the UAE
    Featured Presentation: Professor Martin Spraggon
  • Using Critical Thinking Techniques in the Classroom
    Using Critical Thinking Techniques in the Classroom
    Featured Presentation: Dr Sufian Abu-Rmaileh
  • Classroom Management: Empirical and Practical Perspectives
    Classroom Management: Empirical and Practical Perspectives
    Featured Presentation: Professor Christine Coombe
  • Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE
    Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE
    Featured Panel Presentation: Christina Gitsaki, Hayley Holuj, Hanada Taha, Radek (Radoslaw) Janik & Zainab Al Baloushi
  • IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
    IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session
  • IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening
    IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening

Previous Programming

View details of programming for past IICEDubai conferences via the links below.

Edutainment for Political Reconciliation in South Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Mtwa’s Bopha! and Fugard’s Valley Song
Featured Presentation: Professor Mustafa Hashim Taha

The paper examines entertainment education with an emphasis on the role of theatre in promoting political reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa during the 1990s. It provides a historical background of the Apartheid regime and refers to its oppressive policies. The paper uses Paulo Freire's philosophy of "conscientization" as a theoretical framework and articulates it in the South African context. The paper foregrounds the role of theatre in the struggle against apartheid. The paper focuses on its central theme, which is edutainment for political reconciliation in South Africa. The paper analyses Bopha! which is written by Percy Mtwa, a Black South African play writer, in 1984, and Valley Song which is written by Athol Fugard, a white South African, in 1996. The paper treats these two plays as a continuum. Though the emergence of democracy in 1994 constitutes a watershed in the South African history, the problems of the past remain inseparable from those of the future. From this perspective, the paper attempts to analyse these two artistic works and to study their educational value as vehicles for promoting political reconciliation in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Read presenter biographies.

Exploring English Language Education in the MENA Region Now and in the Future
Keynote Presentation: Dr Deena Boraie

English is now an international language and is the dominant foreign language studied worldwide. Although English has played an important role in the MENA region since colonial times, according to the 2016 English Proficiency Index (EPI) published by Education First, the region ranked the lowest in the world in English language proficiency. Boraie discusses the trends and changes in English language education in the MENA region with a critical focus on Egypt highlighting the need for innovation in program design, curricula and materials that are aligned with 21st century language use demands. She presents the experience of implementing a TESOL curriculum innovation in Egypt describing the successes and the challenges faced. Finally, she reflects on the current trends in defining the construct of English which have implications on language education policies and language program design as well as the linguistic landscape worldwide.

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In the Era of Disruptive Transformations: Embracing the Imperative of Dynamic Adaptation to the Evolving World of Work
Featured Presentation: Dr Virginia Bodolica

Over the past years we have been witnessing a significant increase in the number of technological innovations and breakthroughs that have altered the traditional way of doing business and managing people in organizations. Artificial intelligence, driverless cars, advanced robotics, big data analytics, 3D printing, smart applications, mobile banking and cryptocurrencies are quickly reconfiguring the business landscape across regions, countries, industries and sectors. In this era of disruptive transformations that brought important consequences and many uncertainties to the world of work, all players ought to embrace the new imperative of dynamic adaptation in order to successfully navigate change. While companies need to take drastic actions to reinvent their operating models and talent management techniques, individuals should strive to develop a portfolio of value-adding skills that would be relevant for building the intelligent enterprise. After discussing the current technological trends in the macro-environment, I focus on the analysis of major organisational shifts and human skillsets that became a critical requirement in such a dynamic and rapidly evolving world of work.

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Key Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Higher Education in the UAE
Featured Presentation: Professor Martin Spraggon

The field of higher education in the UAE is experiencing significant pressures for change from a variety of stakeholders. Despite the diversity of perspectives on higher education’s best practices, there is an increasing consensus among academics, practitioners and students that traditional teaching methods and curricula that used to work effectively in the past are not generating the expected value due to their misalignment with the emerging trends and new challenges in the public and private sectors. Both the content and pedagogy ought to be revisited and rejuvenated to significantly enhance the learning experience of participants enrolled in educational institutions in the country. Academic curricula need to be more relevant, by accounting for the specificities of the context in which they are embedded, and also more practical, by offering pragmatic tools that are of real value to local practitioners. Delivery methods should shift away from the old-fashioned models that target a passive audience toward more experiential, interactive and self-guided approaches directed to proactive and highly-engaged students. Key trends, challenges and opportunities in the field of higher education in the UAE are highlighted and discussed.

Read presenter biographies.

Using Critical Thinking Techniques in the Classroom
Featured Presentation: Dr Sufian Abu-Rmaileh

For a long time education treated students as passive learners who are supposed to sit in the classroom, get instructions on what to do, take notes or copy what is written on the board. Students were allowed to reflect much upon discuss or argue against what was being taught. They did not have a say in what is being taught, nor on how it should be taught. They were not involved or considered a partner in the teaching and learning process.

Due to the developments that have been occurring in education, especially the technological educational advancements, researchers and educational practitioners have reached the conclusion that students can achieve better results when they are involved in their education and their learning. The process of internalising the information being transmitted to the students becomes a lot more enjoyable and pleasant. When the students are involved in the process of their learning, they feel that the information they share is part of them. They feel ownership of that information they share because they are involved in, analysing, reflecting on, generating ideas and concepts, critiquing theories and assessing the information being thrown at them. They can feely argue about, synthesise and interpret the information. The metacognitive talents and abilities are challenged and their thinking about thinking becomes natural and spontaneous.

In this paper, the author will discuss the two types of classroom learners, passive and active learners. He will talk about the different dimensions of learning and how they are linked to critical thinking. He will also explain and discuss the definition and the rationale for critical thinking in the classroom and what is meant by metacognition. He will talk about how to encourage students to use critical thinking in the classroom, identifying students’ disposition to learning and the teacher’s role in supporting students’ use of critical thinking. Finally, the author will suggest some functional approaches and techniques to help train students on the use of critical thinking in the classroom.

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Classroom Management: Empirical and Practical Perspectives
Featured Presentation: Professor Christine Coombe

Both new and veteran teachers consider the development of effective classroom management to be the most important – and the most difficult – skill a language teacher can master. Classroom management refers to the procedures, strategies, and instructional techniques teachers use to manage student behaviour and learning activities in their classrooms. It is one of the most talked about topics in English language teaching professional development. Why is it so important? Effective classroom management creates an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. Ineffective classroom management often creates chaos as teachers must discover new ways of dealing with problematic classroom situations. In this presentation, we will explore the research surrounding why classroom management is sometimes difficult to achieve and why past techniques no longer work with modern-day students. We will look at the causes of classroom management issues and some ways to overcome them. Finally, based on a review of the literature, techniques and strategies that work with teachers worldwide with be shared.

Read presenter biographies.

Innovation in Education Through Curriculum Reform and Research: The Case of the UAE
Featured Panel Presentation: Christina Gitsaki, Hayley Holuj, Hanada Taha, Radek (Radoslaw) Janik & Zainab Al Baloushi

In the whirlpool of sweeping social changes brought on by globalisation in the information age, educational institutions across all sectors of education are expected to keep up with these changes by implementing much needed reforms and re-inventing educational programs. In the UAE, language education has always been at the forefront of educational reforms as the country aspires to graduate bilingual citizens with a strong national identity ready to contribute in the multicultural and plurilingual context of the UAE. This panel of experts will first discuss the most recent changes in public education in the UAE with a special focus on English and Arabic language programs. Following that, the panelists will address the role of research in effecting long term reform and innovation in education and, finally, each member of the panel will provide a set of concrete recommendations and guidelines for major stakeholders in order to further support the successful implementation of reform efforts in the UAE and other Gulf countries facing similar issues.

Read presenter biographies.

IAFOR Silk Road Initiative Information Session

As an organization, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In 2018, we are excited to launch a major new and ambitious international, intercultural and interdisciplinary research initiative which uses the silk road trade routes as a lens through which to study some of the world’s largest historical and contemporary geopolitical trends, shifts and exchanges.

IAFOR is headquartered in Japan, and the 2018 inauguration of this project aligns with the 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, when Japan opened its doors to the trade and ideas that would precipitate its rapid modernisation and its emergence as a global power. At a time when global trends can seem unpredictable, and futures fearful, the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative gives the opportunity to revisit the question of the impact of international relations from a long-term perspective.

This ambitious initiative will encourage individuals and institutions working across the world to support and undertake research centring on the contact between countries and regions in Europe and Asia – from Gibraltar to Japan – and the maritime routes that went beyond, into the South-East Continent and the Philippines, and later out into the Pacific Islands and the United States. The IAFOR Silk Road Initiative will be concerned with all aspects of this contact, and will examine both material and intellectual traces, as well as consequences.

For more information about the IAFOR Silk Road Initiative, click here.

IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 | Award Winners Screening

The IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched by The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in 2015 as an international photography award that seeks to promote and assist in the professional development of emerging documentary photographers and photojournalists. The award has benefitted since the outset from the expertise of an outstanding panel of internationally renowned photographers, including Dr Paul Lowe as the Founding Judge, and Ed Kashi, Monica Allende, Simon Roberts, Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Simon Norfolk and Emma Bowkett as Guest Judges. Now in its third year, the award has already been widely recognised by those in the industry and has been supported by World Press Photo, Metro Imaging, MediaStorm, Think Tank Photo, University of the Arts London, RMIT University, British Journal of Photography, The Centre for Documentary Practice, and the Medill School of Journalism.

As an organisation, IAFOR’s mission is to promote international exchange, facilitate intercultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share new knowledge. In keeping with this mission, in appreciation of the great value of photography as a medium that can be shared across borders of language, culture and nation, and to influence and inform our academic work and programmes, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award was launched as a competition that would help underline the importance of the organisation’s aims, and would promote and recognise best practice and excellence.

Winners of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 were announced at The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film 2017 (EuroMedia2017) in Brighton, UK. The award follows the theme of the EuroMedia conference, with 2017’s theme being “History, Story, Narrative”. In support of up-and-coming talent, the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award is free to enter.

Access to the Award Winners Screening is included in the conference registration fee. For more information about the award, click here.

Image | From the project Single Mothers of Afghanistan by IAFOR Documentary Photography Award 2017 Grand Prize Winner, Kiana Hayeri.