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Near East and North Africa International Training Workshop in Doha, Qatar


A Near East and North Africa International Training event took place on 15-21 February 2008 in the city of Doha, Qatar. Participating in this important event were GLOBE training leaders from seven countries from the Near East and North Africa Region: Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The main objective of this professional development event was to strengthen the existing Master Trainer Corps for the region by providing a venue to bring regional training leaders together and to provide an opportunity for new trainers identified by the region to join the region's Master Trainer Team. The training venue also provided Qatari teachers and students an opportunity to learn about and practice proper protocol procedures and educational applications of GLOBE, including inquiry-based research activities for primary and secondary students. Ultimately, the overarching goal was to increase the number of Master Trainers in the region while increasing student inquiry-based projects around the themes of Earth system science in Qatar and throughout the region.

Qatari students proudly displaying their research results and GLOBE Chief Scientist's Honor Roll letter

An impressive component of the workshop was the participation of 20 trainers from the region's Master Trainer Program -- nine Master Trainers and 11 Master Trainer Candidates representing seven countries in the Regional Consortium. Representatives from the Qatari Meteorological Services, as well as several university scientists participated in the event.

The participants of the Master Trainer Program gained skills to enable them to conduct high quality regional and international GLOBE professional development events. Master Trainers are not only responsible for organizing events, but they are also authorized to train new trainers, enabling GLOBE countries and their regions the opportunity to increase the number of GLOBE trainers as well as teachers participating in the Program in an efficient and self-sustainable manner, without depending on the GLOBE Program Office.

The event was held at the Doha Independent Secondary School for Boys, an impressive school with an international faculty as well as student body. Teachers and students from neighboring schools, including two different secondary school for girls, joined the event as well. Ultimately, more than 100 teachers and students from Bahrain, Egypt, and Qatar were represented at the workshop, as were teachers from Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

"I enjoyed this opportunity to work in teams with such a diverse and skilled group of individuals," said Souraya Mansour, an Assistant Master Trainer from Lebanon. "Overall, I felt this opportunity was extremely beneficial to me as a trainer, and this experience will be a catalyst for my work with the GLOBE program in Lebanon." 

Qatari teacher and new Assistant Master Trainer Ahlam Seyam noted that she felt it was a great idea to have the teachers and students learning alongside each other in the same workshop, "because students are the core of this work," and their positive experience demonstrated to the teachers, "the value of the whole approach." While students were learning principles of environmental science, teachers simultaneously gained expertise in using an inquiry approach to science teaching, and could see for themselves how beginning a science unit with student questions, "help students focus on the subject at hand and can help the teacher understand what the students already know as well as what they want to know."

One of the Bahraini high school students added that he enjoyed having the teachers and the students learning together, because it created such a positive climate that it was, "almost like a social event. I chose to participate in this workshop because I want to explore every option before I go to college," and, he added, "because I have tons of friends in Bahrain, Switzerland and the UK who volunteer with GLOBE and they told me I'll gain a lot of knowledge while having tons of fun!"

The week-long workshop ended with a graduation ceremony for students and teachers alike. The ceremony was attended by U.S. Embassy officials Mr. Stephen Kochuba, Cultural Attache, and Mr. Mohamed Ahmed, whose long-term support of GLOBE has contributed to the growth of the GLOBE program in Qatar. Also in attendance from the GLOBE Program Office were Dr. Teresa Kennedy, Deputy Director, GLOBE, and Dr. Russanne Low, Regional Desk Office for the Near East and North Africa. 

In addition to the accomplishment of the 120 teachers and students recognized at the ceremony, special congratulations go to the nine new Near East Master Trainers and 11 new Assistant Master Trainers certified at this workshop who were responsible for creating an impressive, collaborative learning environment. 

Atmosphere and Phenology Team: Rafat Jambi (Master Trainer, KSA), Seema Saleh al Amari (Assistant Master Trainer, Bahrain), Aziz El Hamidi (Assistant Master Trainer, Morocco), Mohammad Awad Al-Ghanoom (Assistant Master Trainer, KSA ), Sheikha Alhidous (Assistant Master Trainer, Qatar), Ahlam Seyam (Assistant Master Trainer, Qatar) 

Land Cover Biology Team: Fadi Bu Ali (Master Trainer, Lebanon), Kamalah Mustapha Ali Jaber Obaidat (Master Trainer, Jordan), Nadia Machouri (Assistant Master Trainer, Morocco), Ellen Brinkerhoff (Assistant Master Trainer, Mauritania)

Hydrology Team: Renee Codsi (Master Trainer, Lebanon); Seddiqa Abbas Gholoom (Master Trainer, Bahrain); Hani Felemban (Master Trainer, KSA), Souraya Mansour (Assistant Master Trainer, Lebanon), Sahar Samara (Assistant Master Trainer, Jordan), Ahlam Alsaadi (Assistant Master Trainer, Qatar)

Soils Team: Ebitsam Al Khuzaie (Master Trainer, Bahrain); Ghaleb Hindi (Master Trainer, Jordan) 

A special thanks to the Country Coordinator, Dr. Nawal Al-Shaik, Supreme Council of Education, Qatar, as well as the local coordinators Hanadi Aldarwish and Sheikha Alhidous. Principal Gholoum A. Abdulla, Doha Independent Secondary School for Boys, who provided the workshop participants with both wonderful hospitality and an exceptional learning environment.

14 April 2008