Davos07: Voices of the future

Next session: a panel of six of 60 young people from around the world who gathered in Greenwich to come up with a message from the future for the machers here. They set their priorities as education and “active global citizens.” They push the leaders to start a global fund for education, saying that the global funds to fight AIDS and malaria have made great impact. The fund would be focused on quality teacher training, decreasing absenteeism, and class size. I wonder how large such a fund would need to be to have an impact. Gordon Brown says the total cost of educating all the world’s children is about $10 billion — not much (because we pay teachers so poorly), so he argues that a fund can make a difference. The fund’s second focus would be on creating curriculum to nuture global citizens, arguing that this will save lives lost not to disease but to ignorance. Brown argues that if we do not support education, others may and we will see more extremist madrases teaching hatred and terrorism.

At Web 2.0, John Battelle brings in a panel of young people every year to talk about their media usage; it’s a feature that other confabs, such as the Online News Association, has added and it’s educational and eye-opening to hear directly from them. Unfortunately, this is not what WEF has done with this panel; once the young people are done reading their prepared spiels, we end up hearing only from the old guys on the panel. Next time, I hope they hand over the control of the stage to the young.