‘Fireside Chat’ on Future-ready Education

Global Peace Foundation
April 6, 2021

Forging a New Frontier in Peacebuilding and Education

“Future-ready skills are in high demand by employers,” said Global Peace Foundation Vice-President for Education Dr. Tony Devine at a virtual “fireside chat,” hosted during a two-day education and peacebuilding forum on March 24-25.

Moderating an informal discussion with Darla K. Deardorff, Executive Director of the U.S.-based Association of International Education Administrators; Ashok Pandey, Director of the Ahlcon Group of Schools in Delhi, India; and Betty Ochieng, CEO of Insights Africa Group Ltd., Dr. Devine said future-ready skills “need to be guided by shared values to solve the pressing problems of our time. Correspondingly, teachers and school leaders will need to re-imagine their roles by having the future arc of their students at heart in creating engaging, innovative, personalized and collaborative school cultures.”

Panelists said interpersonal competencies—instilling hope and the capacity for forgiveness, fostering the innate ability of children to relate naturally with other people, and choosing attitudes founded on open-mindedness and respect—are among the soft skills that need to be cultivated as part of future-ready education.

Darla Deardorff described how participating in “story circles,” a pilot program of UNESCO to foster cultural diversity and intercultural confidence, was an eye-opening experience for her. “The chance of people to be vulnerable and have a support group around them is an incredible learning experience, and a lesson that can’t be taught simply through books,” she said.

The chat session specifically addressed the role that teachers play in the key developmental stages of children, and the importance of transparency and trust in the teacher-student relationship for sustained learning. Teachers must ensure that the children are being heard and must seek to understand before seeking to be understood, panelists said. “We fail as a society when we “neglect to feed the geniuses” who show great potential, one panelist observed.

The panel concluded with an appeal for full partnership between educators and parents to co-create a nurturing, future-ready education system for our youth.

The virtual forum, “Forging a New Frontier in Peacebuilding and Education,” was hosted by the Global Peace Foundation and Co-operation Ireland and attended by more than 500 education and peacebuilding stakeholders from 69 countries.


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