GESF 2019: Who is changing the world?

29 Aug 2018 |

 

Our world is changing fast, and far beyond the capability of any one country or international institution to control. But what does this mean for education, equity and employment?

A century ago, the fate of our global society rested firmly in a handful of rich and powerful people, of politicians, captains of industry and newspaper magnates. It was their conversations that the world heard about, and it was their decisions which changed the way things were. The idea that ordinary people might, one day, be able to make their voices heard on the world stage was unthinkable.

But today, education and technology have delivered change-making into the hands of everyone, everywhere. Our international community is sustained by an incalculable number of global connections, being made every second all over the world. Anyone with a computer or smartphone now has access to more information than a single person could process in a lifetime.

And that means we are now generating and sharing information at a rate unprecedented in human history. In fact, the total amount of new data created in 2017 has been estimated at 17 trillion gigabytes – that’s equivalent to if every single human on Earth created around 2,000 newspapers worth of information per day.

This, then, is an age of seemingly boundless possibility and limitless information. It is also one with enormous potential to disrupt traditional education systems at all levels, from how students learn to how teachers are trained and governments make policy.

But it also means that the power to change the world is now in more hands than ever before. For this age of advancement has also given rise to a new generation of change-makers.

Today, new models of social entrepreneurship, philanthropy and activism are reshaping every corner of our global society. And their impact is being felt from the classroom to the highest offices of government.

GESF has already heard from some of those who at the forefront of this wave, the extraordinary individuals who are forging new paths, finding new answers and giving a voice to the marginalized and dispossessed.

They include people like the creators of Chatterbox, a language-learning platform that draws on the skills of refugees – and a winner of GESF’s inaugural Next Billion Prize.

They include the US students working for safer schools like Suzanna Barna, Lewis Mizen and Kevin Trejos, who survived the Florida Parkland high school shooting and are now part of a growing movement to change US gun control laws.

And they include Global Teacher Prize 2018 winner Andria Zafirakou, who has worked to put the arts at the heart of her school and her community, because she believes that they can inspire her students and bridge language, class and culture.

At GESF 2019, we want to explore the new trends that are transforming the worlds of teaching, policy-making, philanthropy and educational technology. Next year’s forum will ask a very simple question: “Who is changing the world?”