On Wednesday, April 21, the Cushing community participated in the third University of Oxford-Cushing Academy Discussion Series entitled “21st Century Challenges and Opportunities in Global Health.” Arranged by the Cushing Institute for 21st Century Leadership, our panel discussions bring together distinguished international scholars to examine major trends shaping this century.
Concurrent with the panel discussion, approximately 80 students participated from the Fisher-Watkins Library in Cushing’s first school-wide online collaborative learning experience. These students, along with several faculty members, utilized Elluminate, a web conferencing tool, to communicate and collaborate on questions for the panelists. While viewing the conference streaming live on SMART Boards and monitors, four students posted up-to-the-minute Tweets on the Cushing Twitter account, sharing key issues and broader discussion topics they find relevant in 21st Century education.
Joining Headmaster Tracy, panel moderator, were Dr. Gerald Keusch, Associate Director of the Boston University National Emerging Infectious Diseases Lab and Special Assistant to the University President for Global Health; Dr. Sonia Ehrlich Sachs (via video link) Director of Health, Millennium Villages Project, The Earth Institute, Columbia University; and Dr. Devi Sridhar (via video link) Director of the Global Health Project, Global Economic Governance Programme, University College, and Senior Researcher, All Souls College, University of Oxford.
The questions ranged from the current state of global health, to the rise of chronic disease, the allocation of resources, and what high school students can do now and in the future as the next generation of global health and human development activists, experts, and leaders. Panelists all stressed the importance of connecting with others around the world, to see how they live and think, and to apply new solutions to global issues.
“When looking at the circumstances of the world, we need to focus on the fact that dramatic change has occurred,” noted Dr. Keusch. “People look at Africa, for example, as a dark cloud, but it can really be a bread basket. There are so many things happening, not just with charity but with development. If we can do that consistently, the world will be a better place. It all boils down to three words: knowledge, application, and power.” Citing the impact travel had on her at an early age, Dr. Sridhar urged students to look beyond their immediate world. “Connect with people. Go somewhere new and go with an open mind. Take time out to talk with people. See more of the world. This all leads to innovation and new ways of education.”
Relating several questions to the Millennium Villages Project, Dr. Ehrlich Sachs stressed interconnectedness. “We need to remember that it’s not just one magic bullet that can fix everything. Global health is part and parcel of a multidisciplinary approach. We need to learn about other communities.” Dr. Sachs also invited Cushing to connect with a school in a poor village to discuss their lives, the worlds in which they live, and to develop curriculum.
The Cushing Institute for 21st Century Leadership gratefully acknowledges
the generous sponsorship of Mark and MaryGrace Gudis P'13