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MSDI Chair addresses Global Youth Leaders Summit


MSDI Chair addresses Global Youth Leaders Summit, Beijing

MSDI Chair Professor John Thwaites joined Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus and Inaugural Yidan Prize Laureate for Education Development, Ms Vicky Colbert, as a keynote speaker at this year’s Global Youth Leaders Summit.

The ‘Global Youth Leaders Summit 2018: Transforming VISION into ACTION’ was co-hosted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Global Youth Leadership Institute and Peking University in Beijing in July.

The Summit invited global leaders and experts to share with the participating youth leaders their vision, experience and pioneering efforts in finding solutions to various global challenges confronting the world today, such as poverty alleviation, education for all and building of sustainable communities.

Professor Thwaites addressed 150 tertiary students from more than 30 countries, including Australia, on the subject of transforming vision into action, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key example.

“Transforming vision into action is a key thing we do here at MSDI,” Professor Thwaites explained on his return. “We don’t just talk about the Sustainable Development Goals and why we have them, we talk about how we actually implement them. That was the basis of my speech.”

He said the students were particularly interested in behaviour change as a means of transforming a vision into action.

“I talked about some of the tools we have in the behaviour change toolbox,” Professor Thwaites explained. “How we are experimenting with different ways of doing things, new ways in which you can have power and influence and thinking about movements like #metoo, where behaviour change can happen not just from the top down but from the bottom up.”

“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals you need to adopt both a top down and bottom up approach,” he said.

Professor Thwaites said Ms Colbert’s speech also addressed “how a top down, bottom up approach has been effective for her in revolutionising the education system.”

Ms Colbert is considered the pioneer of Escuela Nueva, the ‘new school’ model for primary education which she spread throughout Colombia and then to other countries over more than four decades.

The aim of the Global Youth Leaders Summit 2018 was to provide a unique platform for youth leaders to exchange experience and ideas, and empower them to realise their vision for a better community, and to foster a global network to pursue cross-border community projects with actionable roadmaps to address some of the world’s pressing issues.

The Summit was held in Hong Kong from July 13 to 15 and in Beijing from July 16-21. Professor Thwaites addressed the Beijing session of the Summit.