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Nobel Prize Dialogue - The Future we Want Together

The two project managers of the YIN benefited from a grant to take part in the Nobel Prize Dialogue (NPD) “The Future We Want Together”, held in Singapore, on September 13th.

> Alexia Gaube interacted with Paul Romer, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences 2018, in a session entitled “Economic well-being”.

> Claire-Marie Beyet took part in the “Youth education” session with Esther Duflo, who was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics.

You will find below the highlights of the discussions, with a particular focus on young people. The Dialogue included sessions on

> Digitalization

> Wellbeing in the face of climate change

> Economic Well-being

> Youth Education

> ….

Feel free to contact us if you have any question.

Ms Laura Sprechmann, CEO, Nobel Prize Outreach AB, Sweden started the NPD by emphasizing the need for harmonization of policies and actions, and interaction between young people.

This position was further reinforced by Professor ChongYap Seng, Dean, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore who stated that Youth should be globally aware, competitive but also collaborative. He also highlighted the importance of developing technology, while keeping in mind our humanity, and staying adaptable. Most importantly he stated that “potential is more important than knowledge”. Potential which involves curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination, something that (excluded) young people do not lack.

The intervention of Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Foreign Affairs was focused on the opportunities that the time of great dangers we are facing currently represent for every Youth, who have an ability to disseminate ideas. However, it requires a right balance between academia, private, and public actors, a “functioning ecosystem involving profit, ethical rules, and ecology”. Most important thing, “we need to persuade people to do the right thing”.

Marching to the future with our children

Clearly stating that “no one should be left behindNobel Peace Prize Kailash Satyarthi focused his intervention on the importance of talking with compassion and supporting the betterment of humanity. He reconned that it is in times of serious crises that humanity emerges stronger. Maybe not in the nearest future, however it will happen. He also firmly condemned child labor, the lack of equal sharing of resources, the absence of consideration for marginalized countries and young people. “Children must be given their fair share”, especially when we consider that some countries dedicate less than 2% of their GDP to education.

Global measures, such as the implementation of a global social protection, are needed in order to ensure fair equality around the world. In order to ensure that “every child will be free to be a child”, we all have to contribute (ref: The Legend of the Hummingbird). Because “Hope is a battery, you should keep it charged from time to time”, we need to act together and support every child.

Our digital future

YIN Comment: In a world where we witness the growing development of Artificial intelligence (AI), it is crucial to support young people developing their computer skills and preparing for a digital world, a digital employment, and a digital future.

Stuart Russell (Professor of Computer Science and Smith-Zadeh Professor in Engineering, University of California, Berkeley): With the development of AI and its purposes many questions arise: Can we reduce the harm that social media can have on teenagers? How do we combat misinformation online? What will happen if we to over our governance to AI?

Serge Haroche (Nobel Prize in physics, 2012): Having spent most of his life in the pre-digital world, he emphasized the dangers the digital world represents, and the advantages. “We are facing a war which is not human, it has some very dangerous aspects”. However, it also represents fantastic new possibilities for young people.

Wharton Chan (Youth): Technological development mut proceed at a speed that is matching humanity (ethically speaking for instance), or we will have a mismatch in which we can see things like disinformation or cybercrimes, overshadowing the benefits of what technology bring to us.

Aqsa Shafique (Youth): There is a crucial need for regulations for both human and AI, and for social accountability, opening up avenues in the digital world.

Wellbeing in the face of climate change

YIN Comment: With regard to the growing importance companies bring to the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change, (excluded) young people should be trained in order to face the current and coming challenges, access blue & green jobs and most important thing: preserve their community from future ecological harm. This puts a lot of pressure on the Youth who are aware of the situation, endangering their mental health and wellbeing.

How are people in the Asia-Pacific being affected by climate change?

What would climate justice look like?

Steven Chu (Nobel Prize in physics, 1997): In order to take action, people need to recognize and understand the economic and human cost of climate change, to “turn the ship in time”. However, they may not believe it, explaining the need to advocate for it.

Anna d’Addio (UNESCO): How can we transmit to young people now and in the future environmental values, empower them to engage in communities? There exist huge and fundamental inequalities in climate change: the approach by people, and the gender gap. Fighting against climate change is a collective action which requires coordination, rights, budget, fiscal policies, curricula / training. Sustainability makes the difference, but we have to educate everyone, make people understand that the issue is multidimensional.

Serge Haroche (Nobel Prize in physics, 2012): There is a clear competition between the importance of price for population and the awareness of climate change.

Economic Well-being

Armida Alisjahbana (Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific): Poor and vulnerable groups, including Youth and women, were particularly affected by the pandemic. It had an important impact on Youth unemployment, on future productivity and on the professional development of Youth, resulting in poverty. However, COVID-19 also created opportunities to build more a equitable world, for instance through:

1) Structural policies, addressing the root causes of inequality; supporting jobs, technological development, decent employment

2) Inclusiveness promoted by the different stakeholders

3) Fiscal policy: tax better and send smart.

Paul Romer: "Work is school and school is work". We should not force companies to recruit young people but really make them understand the value of these young people inside their companies.

Alexia Gaube: University and traditional education should not the only systems valued and considered in term of development of professional capabilities. Indeed, nowadays, students and companies observe a gap between what is taught and what is really expected in the professional world. On top of that, many Youth can’t access to school. Their life pathway let them learn so much more than school, from resiliency to hard working and adaptability to any circumstance.

Today, to promote economic well-being, we need better access to education, but not only the Youth: we need to educate the whole society to inclusivity, we need to gather actors to think about real solutions, to break the barriers and bias that makes for instance companies consider mostly Young people achieving diplomas at university. Youth who can’t access school can contribute as much as the others, even more since they bring also innovative solutions from their backgrounds and inspirations from their high commitment and loyalty.

Let’s step out of the box and work with them, for the sustainable and inclusive economic growth and wellbeing that we are all looking for

Education and the future of youth

YIN Comment: Universal access to education should be seen as a basic human right, meaning that every young people, whatever his/her background should be granted an education which will allow her/him to have access to decent employment.

How does education differ around the Asia-Pacific? Can digital innovations enhance learning? What are the barriers to women’s education? How can education learn from experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic? Does education need to move beyond learning of facts?

Anna d’Addio (UNESCO): Introduced the Global Education Monitoring Report made by UNESCO and reminded the importance of SDG4 (Quality Education). She also emphasized the deep inequalities between and within countries:

> 244 million children will not start the new school year most in low-income countries;

> 40% of poor countries did not target learners at risk in their education response during COVID;

> prolonged closures have increased likelihood of dropout especially for the most vulnerable students;

> issues with regard to access to electricity & internet;

> gender biases and stereotypes are still pervasive.

> Only 30% of students have strong knowledge of environmental science

> ….

COVID has increased the urgency to enhance inclusion, to invest in education and to

leave no one behind

(all students, no matter their backgrounds)

As an illustration the basic ability to use digital tools: policies in developing countries must address the scarcity of digital skills as well as deploy technology with lower skill requirements. Moreover, the scope of target 4.4 / education should include soft skills. Lot of issues were caused by the interruption of education (increased early pregnancy, gender issues,…).

The panelists emphasized the need to improve the opportunity to access education; access internet;… and highlighted the impact of gender stereotypes as barrier to access, as it leads to poor facilities and infrastructures for young women.

What is the purpose of education? To prepare people to deal with the world more effectively, better – but actually jobs are changing so we need to reinvent education.

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