I believe the purpose of education has become our last chance of returning millennials to being the sustainability generation
Since 9/11, I have spent about half my working time searching for system r4esolving solutions. For example, being mainly London-based to 2005, I helped Paul Komesaroff host the first Global Reconciliation Network event in 2003 with Mary Robinson as Keynote speaker. I then attended GRN Delhi in 2004. In 2004, I also helped host some Brazilian delegates to the European Social Forum 2004 particularly those concerned with water as a human right which Bula was supporting.
Also, for 3 years I was volunteer special interest group editor of European Knowlegdbeoad.com. My designated interest was emotional intelligence; of the 9 other special interest groups, our dialogues were closely associated with the NGO interest group. It was during this time that we started to form a club of collaboration cities aimed at celebrating each others cultures: leading participants were Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam. We also started to parametrize why water poses so many different challenges to sustainability in different parts of the world – this could be a suitable way of building collaboration mapping networks that a virtual community space and its connections with the European Union’s elearning goal. It was during this work that I heard more and more Europeans talking about microcreditsummit and millennium goals.
In 2005, London Year of Make Poverty History, I was on the board of the Simultaneous Policy (simpol.org) delegated to attend monthly events connecting leaders of UK foundations. Unfortunately, much of the momentum of this year collapsed with the 7/7 terror attack, and personally I lost one of my 5 main mentors.
My wife had needed to move to the University of Maryland for her career, so from 2006 I became more and more interested in Bangladesh and Asian women empowerment; initially by making contact with Sam Daley-Harris in Washington DC. My family first helped Dr Yunus connect his social business book launch between London and East Coast US Cities. But after my second trip to Bangladesh, I realized I wanted to write up notes on what was then the 40 years of Sir Fazle Abed’s work on poverty alleviation. I was surprised at the first 3-hour brainstorming session with Sir Fazle Abed- the topic why not microeducationsummit instead of microfinance summit. Brac was by now nearing recruitment of its 100000th employee culturally connected around Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Abed went on to explain how platform building of partnerships involved two very different quarter of a century. From 1970 to 1995, all village connections were person to person or print. From 1996, Brac internet, and soon the opportunity to develop universities, as platforms changed the future partnerships, he could linkin. But always his focus was ending Colonial Era heritage of linearly examined education. Brac had from the outset started with adults’ jobs training. By the time Abed started Brac University in 2001, there was one last schools’ development process to design: playschools. Typically, of Abed he saw this as an opportunity to start designing a format that dozens of countries could join in – BRAC University pioneered the first MA in playschools in Asia if not the world.
It is, of course, peculiar to those who value education that it was as late as 2011 that the world’s first global education laureates were launched due to the extraordinary vision of First Lady of Qatar Sheikha Moza. She was already developing women’s education city campus, and seized the opportunity to leverage the location of the country’s conference center to celebrate both WISE education laureates and WISH health laureates. Her and Sir Fazle’s movements fitted perfectly – at least until the blockade of Qatar when Qatar Foundation lost its role as official UN hub for all refugee education networks.
There is much urgent work to be done if education is to be valued as much by future place leaders as economics. There is no network as well suited as TeachForAll to continue the legacy Sir Fazle’s half century and empowerment of billion Asian women has grounded.