Indiana State University Newsroom

Three from Indiana State to attend World Innovation Summit for Education

December 3, 2010

Indiana State University will be well represented next week at the second World Innovation Summit for Education.

Lloyd W. Benjamin III, president emeritus; El-Houcin Chaqra, associate director of international affairs; and Karen Liu, professor of early childhood education, will attend the conference Tuesday through Thursday (Dec. 7-9) in Doha, Qatar.

The summit, sponsored by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, brings together 1,000 prominent education, corporate, political and social leaders. The Qatar Foundation invited Benjamin, Chaqra and Liu to participate in the summit and is paying their travel expenses.

"The World Innovation Summit for Education has quickly become a global standard bearer as a venue for sharing information on best practices, quality assurance, and accreditation in global education, said Jacques Fuqua, director of international programs and services at Indiana State.

"The importance of the summit's work is underscored by the fact that some of the world's leading policy makers and opinion leaders will be in attendance, including Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, and President Wade of Senegal, numbering among them."

Benjamin, ISU's president from 2000-2008, said "We feel greatly honored to have been selected to represent Indiana State at this significant and prestigious international conference," said Benjamin. "The fact that we are among those selected from across the U.S. to go to Qatar reflects positively on the work that we and ISU have been doing in places such as Morocco. That ISU has three representatives participating in the summit is quite remarkable."

The invitations for Benjamin, Chaqra and Liu to attend the world education summit highlight Indiana State's growing prominence as a leader in global higher education, Fuqua said.

ISU's work with Morocco has included assistance in developing a higher education accreditation system, implementing a national social work program, conducting conferences on the financial system and economic development in the North African nation and a sport management training program involving the Moroccan Royal Soccer Federation and universities.

Benjamin and Chaqra, a Moroccan native, have been instrumental in establishing and developing Indiana State's partnerships in Morocco. Since 2002, more than 360 ISU students and faculty members have traveled to Moroccan universities.

Indiana State also has major international partnerships in place in China, Thailand and other parts of the world and the invitation to take part in the summit "reflects on the quality of our faculty and the support of ISU's leadership to internationalization," Chaqra said. "ISU participants in this summit will share or campus internationalizaton initiatives with the world and will learn from what other universities are doing best to improve education around the globe."

Liu, the past president of the Association for Childhood Education International, focuses her research and teaches classes on early childhood education. She also has served on panels revising early childhood standards.

Under an overall theme of "Building the Future of Education," summit participants will focus discussions on two main areas of "Improving Education Systems" and "Exploring Innovative Trends."

"To serve as a representative to this global platform is wonderful," Liu said about the opportunity to attend the summit.

"Everyone should have an equal opportunity, each child can be successful," she said. "There should be no boundaries in race, region or nationality (in education)."

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or