Paris-based economist, former Vice President of the World Bank and bestselling author Jean-Francois Rischard delivered the opening keynote address – the first of a three-keynote series on exploring excellence in education – at ISTE 2010. The four-day conference for educators is being held June 27 through 30 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
Rischard opened his provocative keynote with a look at "the world's uncertain future," focusing on "20 global problems and 20 years to solve them." He analyzed the escalating threats from worldwide climate change, economic instability, water shortages and lack of education.
The exponential rate of change with regards to these problems over the past few decades has "overwhelmed human institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and UNESCO," he said. "Institutions tend to be much more change-resistant when they should be the opposite."
Yet these problems are solvable, as long as we approach them globally, using new tools, skills, knowledge and especially a new mindset that puts global thinking first and local and national thinking second, Rischard said.
"Education is the biggest lever for solving our problems," he added. He challenged educators at ISTE 2010 to include a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural approach in their classrooms and invited them to join a Global Issues Network.