On December 12-13, 2014, we hosted our first user group conference in the Middle East in Dubai, at GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis. We were thrilled to welcome over 90 participants from 20 different IB World Schools.
The day began with a keynote presentation by Principal and CEO Michael Gernon entitled “Are We There Yet?” The talk challenged participants to think about 21st century learning, and if their schools were helping develop the right skills and attitudes needed for the 21st century.
The keynote was followed by a general presentation from GEMS World Academy and our company updates. Our slides are available to view here.


After lunch, participants went into programme-specific breakout sessions, including:

  • Admissions: The Customer Journey by Sally Rummel, Director of Development and Admissions at Raha International School
  • Three Perspectives on the IBCC by Alexander Harrison of GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, Peter Stoddart of Emirates International School Jumeirah, and Michael Worth of Greenfield Community School
  • MYP Next Chapter and Implementation by Carolyn Mason Parker of GEMS International School – Al Khail
  • Curriculum Planning, Assessment and School-to-Home Communication in PYP by Ali Ezzeddine of SEK International School Qatar
  • Establishing In-House Protocols by Brycen Davis of Istanbul International Community School
The day concluded with a hosted dinner at The Imperium at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.


On the second day of the conference, our keynote address was given by Lance King, founder of The Art of Learning, who led a spirited discussion of ATL skills.
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The morning breakout sessions included:
  • Cross-Cultural Harmony in Admissions by Nivin El Aawar of ISL Qatar
  • DP Coordinator Meeting by Nausheen Arif of Emirates International School – Jumeirah
  • Further ATL Discussion with Lance King
  • Using ManageBac to Support PYP Learning by David Gerber of GEMS World Academy
  • Implementing ManageBac (and other technologies) by Farah Misquitta of Ecole Mondiale
The afternoon breakout sessions included:
  • Managing Expectations Across Admissions by Natalie Kvackova of International School Prague
  • Reporting for Diploma by Joe Hamkari of ISL Qatar
  • Assessment and Reporting in MYP by Andrew MacRae and Rhonda Zaharko of GEMS World Academy
  • PYP Reporting by Kirsten Anderson of Faria Systems
  • Flipping the Classroom by Frank Peterson of Raha International
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We had a wonderful time connecting with our schools in Dubai! We were available throughout the conference to lend support, answer questions, and hear feedback. We are also very grateful to GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis for hosting us in their wonderful facilities.


For further information, you can:

Participants said:
“All the staff were fantastically helpful; the conference had a great atmosphere and the talks were inspirational and thought provoking.”
 “So impressed with you all. Really, I am really looking forward to working with you all now that I’ve met you. Thanks for the great opportunity!”
“Learning from other schools was helpful! Very interested to join another conference.”


Save the dates for our upcoming conferences!