The Office of Community Outreach at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will host the Girls’ Education Network (GEN) and the Boys’ Education Network (BEN), a series of leadership development programs for Abu Dhabi youth. The virtual series will begin from October 10, 2020, and will run every Saturday afternoon until November 7, 2020.
The four-week programs will equip middle and high school students, aged 12-18 years, with valuable soft skills such as collaboration, empathic listening, design thinking, and conflict resolution which are considered vital tools of success. Led by NYUAD students, the program offers supportive spaces that engage in open dialogue. The program will enable students to cultivate a stronger understanding of themselves and their community in order to engage the world around them mindfully and with impact.
The GEN and BEN leadership development program uses a peer-to-peer learning model with NYUAD students serving as facilitators for the learning workshops. GEN utilizes a Dalai Lama award-winning curriculum which aims to create inclusive and supportive spaces that enable dialogue and foster an exploration of life practices, such as self-awareness. BEN aims to explore the roles of an effective leader in our world today, and what it means to create an ethical impact. A portion of the program will also cover challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of leadership and guide the participants to engage, grow, and lead in a new normal world.
The GEN and BEN leadership workshops are not only about what students learn from the curriculum, but what they learn from each other and the NYUAD student facilitators. The peer to peer model is so successful because students openly engage with one another, collaboratively learn new concepts, share their ideas and experiences, and develop strong relationships.
NYUAD Class of 2022 Tushara Nalakumar Srilatha said: “The insight, enthusiasm, and vulnerability that the facilitators and the girls brought to each GEN workshop was inspiring. It created an environment in which we could tackle complicated topics through empathic, nuanced dialogue. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and will cherish the GEN community.”
Since its founding in 2014 by two NYUAD students and Dalai Lama Fellows in partnership with the NYUAD Office of Community Outreach, GEN has held more than 90 workshops where more than 150 NYUAD students have empowered more than 550 girls to develop as leaders. Similarly, BEN has engaged with more than 400 boys from 175 schools across Abu Dhabi. Student facilitators come from diverse backgrounds and undergo a series of training before participating in the program. 94 NYUAD students have served as peer facilitators for BEN in 28 workshops since 2016.