During the month of May, we take the time to celebrate educators who impact our lives and influence our learning including the diverse people involved in making education accessible and greater for all. While there is a great deal we could correct when it concerns global access to education, there is also a considerable amount of potential we could be applying to it right at this very moment. Here is where the youth of the world come in.
Bashar is passionate about learning, AI, and improving all aspects of education. Bashar applied to Rise, a global community for 15-17-year-olds who are committed to building a better world. Each year, Rise selects 100 Global Winners who receive benefits for life, such as scholarships and mentoring. At the same time, everyone who applies to Rise gains access to resources like the Expert Lesson and Challenge that Bashar did with Charles Conn on "bulletproof problem-solving." Read on to learn more about his experiences, passion, and ideas for solving education's most complex issues.
Hello World: When did you first realize you had a deep passion for learning and education?
Bashar: It all started when I was in seventh grade, I was in an English language class and we were learning about education and its importance. I can recall myself as I was reading a quote by the amazing Nelson Mandela that says “Education is the strongest tool of change that anyone of us can use”! And after 3 years, when the Rise challenge first started, I can still remember the frustration I felt when I was asked to name an issue that I wanted to spend my entire life on solving! I was thinking thoroughly about the topic and idea of my challenge that will shape the very details of my life and future. Afterwards, I started thinking of some questions and having a curiosity conversation with myself: “What would I create an impact in?” “What is something that I am really, truly passionate about?” “What is my big idea?” “What is something that I am willing to do, and to be a good advocate off, for the rest of my life?” Then I received a text message that interrupted my line of thoughts. I opened my phone and I saw a message sent from my friend who wanted me to check her college essay, the message stated: “Education is the strongest tool of education that anyone of us can utilize to change the world! Is this a good hook?” I was dazzled and kept staring at my phone for a few minutes as after reading this great goal for the second time it hit different! I really felt this connection to education and I really was able to understand that if the Rise challenge was capable of changing my life and turn it upside down through some expert videos and some challenges, then so can I change the life of others through educating them and empowering them to make a change! Here, I discovered my passion for education, learning, and for creating this atmosphere of inquiry that will support other people in my age to learn and develop their skills immensely! Finally, a few months ago, I was teaching a public speaking and pitching course, and then a student of mine told me: “You know Bashar when I first joined your course of public speaking I was just here to laugh and have some fun as I never thought that a person who was dyslexic, introverted, and timid would be able to teach me how to speak publicly but now... I just want to thank you for being such an inspirational figure in my life, thank you for inspiring me and teaching me that I man the leader of my own life and the setter of my own limits, thank you for teaching me to embrace the challenges I face, most importantly, thank you for cultivating this leadership potential within me and within everyone who joined this course!” At this moment I was certain that education is what I want to do not merely for a living, but for a LIFE!
HW: How do you believe global education would change and improve with more access to AI, resources, and youth-led workshops such as your own?
B: I believe that artificial intelligence is a key factor to build a more inclusive, inspiring, and welcoming learning environment that will support the learners in their journey of navigating their way to find their big idea, discover their true potential, and explore their passion! I believe that the good learning environment has to shift into an artificial learning environment that supports the learners through the learning-facilitation process, to become more creative, innovative and curious! I personally believe that education has to be this process of empowering leaders to use their passion, skills, and the good feedback that they receive as a map to comprehend and understand their true potential! And to be able to do what the robots cannot do, rather than competing with the robots to prove that robots can’t do the job of the humans as good as the latter can do it! With that being said, I can’t emphasize on the importance of creating a classroom with implemented artificial intelligence that focuses on nurturing the interpersonal, communication, negotiation, soft skills, and leadership skills of the students through the various methodologies of artificial intelligence, that include: chatting with students from different places in the world to promote globalization, using programs that will facilitate the learning process, using the artificial intelligence to break down the material that the students have to learn in order for the students to able to acquire the information using the different types of learning! And as Elbert Einstein says: “Imagination is more important than knowledge” throughout my workshops I was able to prove that the implementation of the means of artificial intelligence in a classroom will promote the eagerness, and the enthusiasm of the students to learn new information as it will create a perfect atmosphere for them to unlearn what they have previously learnt, to remove all the myths from their minds, and afterwards to acquire new information that serves as a rigid basis for them to curiously grow beyond the limits of their comfort zone! To summarize, as the barbell sharpens the iron, the youth empower the youth! Henceforth, having more access to AI, resources, and youth-led workshops such as my own, is an inevitable change that will occur in all educational systems in the world, and that will level up the quality and the sustainability of global education in the world!
HW: Do you have a favorite teacher? How did they change your worldview and impact your passion for learning (and sharing what you've learned with others)?
B: Yes! My favorite teacher is my philosophy teacher, who shaped the very fabric of my mindset through educating me on the types of learners and on globalization and it’s history! I can still recall her quoting Socrates who says: “I am neither a citizen of Greece, nor Athens but rather a citizen of the world”. And after diving in-depth in the true meanings of this quote we can clearly tell that humanity will only thrive when we put all our differences, disputes, and biases aside, and start to treat each other with compassion, and love as for we are all human beings who are united under a common purpose of bettering the life, and ensuring the sustainability of the livelihoods on this tiny planet! Additionally, I think that my philosophy teacher impacted my passion for learning as she once told me a statement that was in-craved in my mind: “Turn your mess into your message, and turn the challenges you encounter into the bricks that you will build your empire with”! And as person who had to suffer under the cut-throat learning atmosphere, and the out-dated Lebanese curriculum, my teacher inspired my to make a blessing out of my mess and chaos, and here I am today, sharing what I learned with others, and advocating for the improvement of the quality of education to ensure the sustainable development via increasing the access of the educational institutions to AI resources!
HW: Can you describe to us how you solved an education/learning-related issue in your school and/or community?
B: I always believed that extracurricular activities are a huge part of the learning facilitation process; an issue that I faced in my school was the lacking of proper extracurricular activities and if I can say the absence of any extracurricular activities in my school. And as an activist and active student who was studying in a school that did not even have a student council I felt the urgent need to make a change and to make a positive impact in my community, after all leadership is all about leaving a positive impact in one’s small community, and here I started to connect to people from different classes in my schools and we made a WhatsApp group. Afterwards, we went to the administration and requested that the administration supports us to officially create a student council in our school! After that, I started working with the representatives in my student council to create clubs in my school that will help the students participate in extracurriculars that they would certainly need to develop different aspects of their personality, such as: the creative writing club, the debating club, and the arts club! Moreover, I started reaching out to my teachers, to help me create competitions that will empower the students and motivate them to participate in extracurriculars, such as: “The Beautiful Minds Competition” that sheds light on the students who are brilliant in different fields of STEM, and the “Empower Competition” that aimed at supporting students through their journey of creating a difference within their community! Finally, I created a workshop in my school that helped I educate the students on the utmost significance of volunteerism, in helping them nurture the leadership qualities found within them! Today, I can proudly say that more than 300 brilliant students in my school, who had no previous experience in extracurriculars, now have more than seven activities, or programs that they have participated in, or completed, throughout my rain as a president of the student council! Which, sparked the sense of compassionate leadership in me, and in everyone around me! At the end of the day, who is a good, authentic leader if not he who utilizes his position, no matter what it is, to create a brighter, more sustainable, and more just future for this world, and for the generations to come!
HW: Finish this statement: I can't wait to learn more about ____.
B: ...myself, and the young leader found in everyone around me!
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