Imagery of Regent people and campus

Education Students Present Research in UAE

By Amanda Morad | April 5, 2012

Clarinda Cole and Sara Lockett enjoy Middle Eastern culture.
Photo courtesy of Clarinda Cole

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) might be the last place one might expect to find Regent University School of Education students presenting at a women's conference. But that's exactly how Clarinda Cole, a Ph.D. in education student, and Sara Lockett, doctor of education candidate, spent March 13-15 as they globetrotted to the Middle East to present their research on sustainability and leadership strategies at the Women as Global Leaders Conference (WAGL).

The WAGL Conference celebrates socially responsible leaders and their capacity to impact the "sustainable future development of communities and organizations across the world," according to the conference website.

Held at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the event attracted attendees from 34 nations, primarily women in the Middle East, and gave undergraduate and graduate students the rare opportunity to interact with global professionals interested in leadership and sustainability strategies.

Lockett's paper, "Leading the Movement for Sustainability in 21st Century Educational Settings" focused specifically on what Virginia Beach City Public Schools are doing to support sustainability education. Cole's research, "Sustainable Leadership Principles to Empower Vision Fulfillment," focused on the leadership skills it takes for women to articulate and realize dreams in the modern age.

"The work of Clarinda and Sara helps achieve the university and school missions by stressing leadership principles informed by a Christian perspective and extending those principles to a global audience," said Dr. Alan Arroyo, dean of the School of Education. "We know we will hear a lot more about Clarinda and Sara's respective leadership and scholarly impact on the field of education in years to come."

Regent's participation in the event extended beyond the research presented. "We brought a western and Christian point of view to a predominately eastern and Muslim event," Lockett said. "I was so thrilled to find that we had so much in common with women leaders from all 34 countries."

Featured speakers included media personalities from CNN and the BBC, British and Emerati officials, and even actress and activist Sigourney Weaver. Other speakers and presenters included graduate and post-graduate students from around the world.

"Listening to these speakers gave me a truer understanding of the lives these women lead and the real impact they have in their communities, religious organizations and families," said Lockett. "It was wonderful to see such strength and passion for the world we live in from women who outsiders may see as oppressed."

Beyond the conference, Cole and Lockett had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Middle Eastern culture at its finest. They attended a formal banquet at the Sheikh's palace in Abu Dhabi and went on a safari trip that included camel rides, four-wheeling over sand dunes, and experiencing local customs including falconry, henna tattoos and Emirate dress.

"This trip challenged many of my preconceived ideas about life there for the general population and particularly for the women," said Cole. "The former president of the UAE was passionate not only about bringing the 13 Arab communities together under one unifying vision but also about educating women, which he determined was a significantly better investment than educating men alone.

"It was important that Regent gain an understanding of [the UAE's] agenda and spiritual need from a first-hand account," she added. "I left with a much improved understanding of how to specifically pray for the people and the nation."

A small contingent of Regent women from the School of Education, School of Divinity, and School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship presented at the conference in 2008, leading sessions on leadership, purpose and shared values.

Learn more about the School of Education.


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