In an increasingly globalized world, we cannot ignore the stark humanitarian challenges of the 21st Century, as well as the opportunities afforded by new technologies, global economies and increased human interaction to address them.
The media brings us images of countless impoverished families suffering from extreme hunger; of communities struggling to cope with the devastating effects of natural disasters – floods, earthquakes and tsunamis – or the effects of epidemic diseases. Compounding these confronting issues we see across the globe the inequitable access to education, health, food and technology means people are unable to fulfill their potential. Many disasters, caused or exacerbated by mankind, also afflict the world, such as economic crises, resource depletion, environmental catastrophes, poverty and war.
In recognizing the many and varied global challenges, the progress currently underway and the potential for a more equitable world for all, the theme for the Education Without Borders 2011 conference is:
Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges
for a Better World
The Internet, satellite communications and the electronic media have influenced funding to be contributed towards aid relief like never before at a time when international partnerships, community organizations and providers of education and technology are eagerly striving towards a better world. Charitable organizations and philanthropic donations have a huge and influential part to play in meeting the challenges of the world. Nonetheless, important questions need to be considered: How can we maximize their effectiveness? Who is responsible for implementing change in the affected areas? How can we help others to help themselves? What are the roles of governments, organizations, universities, the media and individuals? How can we bring about change that is sustainable in the long-term?
As committed, educated and socially-conscious members of our generation, we have enormous potential to positively impact our global community through sharing our research, innovations and ideas for viable projects and help others firstly survive and then to lead fulfilling lives.
Some of the pressing global challenges facing society humanity this century include:
- Natural disasters – earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes . . .
- Man-made disasters – wars, genocide, environmental disasters . . .
- Sustainable resource use – energy, water, environment . . .
- Global health – pandemics, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, malaria, maternal health . . .
- Climate change
- Economic crises
- Human rights, gender equity, persecution . . .
- Access to healthcare, technology, education. . .
- Adequate access to clean water and food
Under the broad theme of Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges, several sub-themes have been identified which categorize methods that can be used to address these most urgent challenges of the world:
- Education: Enhancing access, ensuring success
- Economics: Harnessing entrepreneurship and business opportunities for positive impact
- Science, Engineering & Technology: Solutions for a better future
- New media: Engaging and empowering individuals
- Policy: Advocacy, diplomacy and activism to drive change