Young people who have travelled to Abu Dhabi from across the globe to compete in the world championships of skills have spent their first morning meeting local school students, as part of a cultural exchange programme that promotes understanding between cultures and awareness of vocational skills.
One School One Country is a part of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, which starts formally with an opening ceremony on 14 October. The exchange has paired each WorldSkills team – from 59 countries and regions – with an individual local school.
Over recent months, students and WorldSkills competitors have been learning about each other’s cultures, traditions, and values – and today they met for the first time. Local students at the Al Ezza School in Baniyas East described their excitement about meeting the UK team in person. “WorldSkills means we can share our culture and skills with everyone and learn more about many things”, said year five student Salama Salim.
One School One Country is also a highlight for the competitors who travel to WorldSkills competitions. Ricardo Vivian from Brazil, who competed at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013, remembers it with fondness. “One School One Country really got me into the WorldSkills spirit,” he said. “It was my first opportunity to truly interact with the local culture in a very special way. It’s incredible how those children made us feel welcome in their country.”
One School One Country first took place at WorldSkills Shizuoka 2007 in Japan and has been held at every WorldSkills competition since. During today’s event, international visitors learned about the culture of the United Arab Emirates and the role skills have played in its development.
To see WorldSkills competitors meet their young Abu Dhabi hosts for the first time is an emotional experience that emphasises the power of forging relationships that know no borders,” said Simon Bartley, President of WorldSkills.
“One School One Country demonstrates that the world can be as small and interconnected as we want to make it. Skills are uniting these young people, and this programme makes it possible for them to develop their knowledge and understanding of cultures and values beyond their own.”
WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is being hosted by the Abu Dhabi Centre for Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET). The Director General of the organisation, Mubarak Al Shamsi, said:
“The UAE is a country of tolerance and coexistence, where many nationalities are living and working together in harmony. Consequently, the interaction between Emirati students and their international guests is in line with the local culture.
“The way in which our young future leaders have taken the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and reach out to their peers in other countries is a powerful expression of our belief that what unites us, far outweighs what divides us.
“This initiative falls within the framework of the vision of the UAE’s leadership, whose top priority is enhancing education, including Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as it is closely linked to creating a major shift at all economic and social levels.”
WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is the 44th edition of the world championships of vocational skills. It is open to the public free of charge at ADNEC from 15 – 18 October.
As many as 1300 competitors will compete in 51 skills competitions, with international visitors expected to top 10,000 along with 100,000 local UAE visitors. The 59 competing teams are drawn from the 77 member countries and regions of WorldSkills.