In October 2019, a new ‘J-WEL Week’ took place on the campus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, hosted by the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL).  Gathering J-WEL members and guests from 33 countries around the globe, the event sought to address how education can be utilized to address significant global challenges faced by many nations worldwide, including topics such as climate change, the refugee crisis, and socioeconomic inequality.

Bringing together the three J-WEL Collaboratives, pK-12, Higher Education, and Workforce Learning, members were exposed to new education research at MIT and participated in research briefs, panels, and workshops to explore mechanisms for implementation.

During the course of the week, attendees were also given the opportunity to share details of programs they have implemented in their own countries, with the support of J-WEL, to encourage inter-collaborative connections across the three Collaboratives.

As part of the pK-12 Collaborative, a member of Save the Children, spoke about the Transforming Refugee Education towards Excellence (TREE) initiative in Jordan, founded in collaboration with the Jordanian Ministry of Education, Community Jameel and Dubai Cares.  The TREE program is focused on teachers’ well-being and teaching quality and is part of Save the Children Jordan’s wider mission to ensure all children have access to quality education.  The team has been working with J-WEL to implement the Compassionate Systems Framework there, with the goal of developing emotionally intelligent, scalable solutions for troubled children and overworked, undertrained teachers.

J-WEL’s Higher Education Collaborative considered the role the university can take in leading, growing, and sustaining these innovation ecosystems, hearing information presentations such as “Innovation: Local and Global,” by Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning Professor and “Innovation to Market” by MIT Professor Yoel Fink. During the event, participants worked in teams representing the five pillars of an innovation ecosystem: Human Capital, Funding, Infrastructure, Demand, and Culture, as outlined in the 2018 white paper: “An MIT Framework for Innovation Ecosystem Policy”.  Their findings are summarized in the illustration below:

In the closing session, which gathered members from all Collaboratives together, Dr. Peter Senge, a senior lecturer at MIT and the founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), commented: “We aren’t just learning about innovation.  We’re building a global community”, acknowledging that working collaboratively, sharing knowledge and forming common action plans is required to address the global challenges under discussion.

The event was attended by Fady M Jameel, President, International Community Jameel, who commented:

“In a time where the youth population is the most rapidly growing segment of society in many parts of the world, the role of education has never been more vital.

Recent data from UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) revealed around 263 million young people are out of school, preventing them from learning the basic literacy, numeracy, and learning skills they need to equip them for the future, and to find work.

If this situation continues, there is an acute risk that the ‘swell’ of youth will provoke significant economic instability.

The time is now to take action and to transform the global education framework.” 


J-WEL was co-founded in 2017 by MIT and Community Jameel, the global philanthropy, with the goal of sparking a renaissance in education working with its member organizations to promote excellence and transformation in education worldwide.

The J-WEL Week events started in the same year as “signature, goal-oriented programs that provide members and invited guests with first-hand access to MIT’s educational resources and practice”.  Two distinct J-WEL Weeks are run each year, each thematic, and comprising multiple modules, where members and guests address challenges in their organizations, by defining goals and considering next steps that will allow implementation.

Read more about J-WEL here.