In May 2017, The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) began working towards its mission of sparking a global renaissance in education through the collaboration of MIT and Community Jameel, a social enterprise organization of which the chairman is Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ‘78, a MIT alumnus and MIT Corporation life member, with strong ties to the MIT community. Community Jameel was established in 2003 to continue the Jameel family legacy of philanthropy and supporting the community since the 1940s. Their mission is to “give people the power to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.”
Community Jameel has a history of partnering with MIT on initiatives that address the most significant and challenging issues facing the world. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), with a mission to reduce poverty by ensuring policy is informed by scientific evidence, has been supported by Community Jameel since 2005. Since then, over 300 million people around the world have been affected by J-PAL’s research and policies.
In 2014, The Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) was established by MIT and Community Jameel to stimulate, coordinate and promote water and food research at MIT, and to bring that impact to the world. Since J-WAFS was formed, they have held three rounds of seed and commercialization grants around water and food. By fiscal year 2018, J-WAFS will have distributed over $6 million to the MIT community in an effort to support innovative projects that bring scalable solutions in a rapidly changing planet.
MIT, J-WEL, and Community Jameel share a common goal: to impact millions of learners of different ages, abilities, and motivations around the world. Now, with the inaugural J-WEL Week just a few days away, a global community will convene for the first time to ignite change and innovation in education. Participants from six continents will discuss challenges they are facing in their institutions and regions, and, together with MIT faculty, will design solutions that have a local and global impact.
Without the partnership, guidance, and expertise of Community Jameel, this ambitious and far-reaching endeavour would have been impossible. MIT President L. Rafael Reif put it best at the J-WEL launch: “With J-WEL, Community Jameel builds on that extraordinary legacy with an effort that will empower learners around the world and in the United States, opening educational pathways that are currently closed to millions.”
Education is the key to peace, transformation, prosperity, and hope. However, it is far too often unattainable, particularly for women and girls, refugees, and other underserved populations. Through this new initiative, J-WEL and its members, MIT faculty and staff, and Community Jameel are working together to make education access and equity a priority for these populations and others globally.