Cultivating Changemakers: A Global Conversation on the Future of Education

It is clear that we all have a part to play in the future of education. We must move beyond the status quo and act with intention as stakeholders in this critical ecosystem.

At the Cultivating Changemakers conference, we learned about new models of skills transfer and continuous learning. The future demands different skills, and we must foster these in advance of their application. Through authenticity and shared purpose, we believe that improved education outcomes for all are possible.   

Officials from the European Commission, the European Parliament, NGOs, diplomats from 16 embassies, journalists, representatives from business and the private sector, students, and ALA alumni attended the conference on February 6, 2019 in Brussels to engage in a conversation about how to re-imagine education for the innovation era.

The discussions were wide-ranging and stimulating, covering critical topics like how to re-define our understanding of skills development and how to enable transformation through policy and practice.  

Amjad Bashir, Member of the European Parliament for the Yorkshire and the Humber region for the Conservative Party, pointed out in his welcome address, the importance of challenging ourselves to elevate the role of education in the lives of those around us.

“As far as education is concerned, while there has been a conversation (in the European Parliament) about the merits of education, there hasn’t been enough conversation about the type of education and how best to deliver that education.

The group I belong to (European Conservatives and Reformists Group) prides in championing the role of the individual in developing solutions for the many. Our group is always ready to showcase best practice from around the world.

Best practices can be found in modern, truly innovative and truly inclusive education policies enacted by state officials.”

Amjad recalled the first time he visited ALA, “A little more than a year ago, my office discovered ALA, and through ALA we discovered a whole new world of global initiatives, preparing the next generation of ethical leaders in business and politics from different backgrounds.

When I visited ALA, I heard the story of a young African girl who wanted to be a medical doctor, but being inspired by ALA, went on to do greater good. She helped millions of women by inventing and marketing an affordable device with which rural African women are able to detect cervical cancer at an earlier stage and therefore prolonging their life.

This is because at ALA, they teach you to not only have great education but also have innovation in your genes, and be innovative and progressive.”

Inspired to get the global community to engage with the education ecosystem, Amjad collaborated with ALA to convene for the first time in the European Parliament, a conference featuring some of the most inspirational pioneers in education for the 21st century.

Speakers included Lai Cheng Lim, former head of the prestigious Raffles Institution in Singapore and currently the Executive Director of the Future Skills Initiative at Singapore Management University; Tony Wagner, one of the world’s foremost experts on the future of education and the bestselling author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators; David Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer in the Government of Sierra Leone and globally recognized for his work and accomplishments in the field of human augmentation; and Chris Bradford, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of African Leadership Academy, among many others.

“This idea of ALA is not only for Africa. It should be brought here and discussed in the European Parliament, and it should be a source of inspiration throughout the world,” says Amjad.

If you would like to relive some of the conference highlights or watch the presentations, you can do so by following this link.