One of the traditions that we have brought with us from NLCS (UK) is the weekly Nicholson Lectures. These lectures were started in 2012 and were named in honour of Dr Kay Nicholson, who was a member of the Physics department and the Academic Tutor. Kay loved knowledge, learning in all shapes and forms, and these lectures have been, and continue to be, a vibrant and appropriate way of fostering the rich contribution that she made to the intellectual life of the School before her untimely passing in December 2008. All three NLCS schools now have a Nicholson Lecture series in which staff members deliver the lectures to their colleagues and students. The topics for these lectures need not be related to their subject specialism and may be something that they themselves are passionate about. This term we have been treated to lectures on a wide variety of themes such as Tolkien, Anne Boleyn, deadly theatre, voluntourism, the elite gene and the origins of theatrical performance. These weekly lectures are well attended and offer our students and those who teach them a chance to learn something new.
It has not just been our staff who have been speaking to our students on topics they are passionate about. This term, Senior Societies sessions for Grades 9-11 have seen a number of fascinating speakers visit the School to talk about their work and careers. The Literary Society invited Isobel Abulhoul to speak about her love of books and her work as the founder of the Emirates Literary Festival. The Geography Society invited Christiaan Coetzee from The Federal Department of Competitiveness and Statistics. Together, they organised an interactive session looking at the UAE’s contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and recently, as part of Medical Week, The Medical Society invited representatives from Médecins Sans Frontières to give our students an insight into the challenges faced when trying to deliver medical aid to those in conflict zones.
It is not just external speakers who have been inspiring our students. Dr Asrar and Dr Mufaza, who are parents at NLCS Dubai, spoke about their Charity Foundation: Midland Doctors and the work they do to provide healthcare in rural Pakistan. Dr Shaista Khan spoke about her career in dentistry and Mrs Houda Benjelloun spoke about the way in which sciences can be utilised in a variety of careers. Her main message was for the students to follow their passions above all else. We would like to thank our parents for their invaluable contributions this term.
For our older students, such visits allow them to gain a real insight into a variety of contrasting employment sectors and can be instrumental in their decision making as they look towards their own academic and employment futures. We have also recently welcomed Dr Tabari to speak with both students and parents about the importance of resilience and Dr Lee who spoke about how we, as teachers, can incorporate mindfulness into the school day.
It is an expectation of students at NLCS Dubai that they are proactive in running their academic societies. A great example of students inspiring each other was evident during our recent ‘Medical Week’. The Medical Society held dissection sessions at lunch and debated, with staff, whether medical staff should be allowed to take industrial action. They also invited a nurse into school to teach students the art of suturing!