Two thousand years ago, the fundamental purpose of education (root word meaning to lead others) in both the East and West was to foster and cultivate certain characteristics of an ideal person. Today, the main purpose of education is mainly limited to providing analytical skills and knowledge so that a person can sufficiently adapt and function in society.
Yet rapid changes and the high level of uncertainties brought about globalization and information technology have revealed that the generation of knowledge as currently conceived is inadequate, insuffi- cient, and quickly becomes outdated. Knowledge generation and diffusion accelerate and emerge from different places, not exclusively academic, resulting in ever greater complexity.
At the same time, walls and barriers remain, between nations, between the haves and haves not, be- tween individuals, and even between one’s different selves, despite the evidence of the interdependence and interconnectedness of everything, from the minute nano levels to the large macro levels. We collectively create unintended outcomes that nobody wants: disarray in our social systems, environmental threats and anarchical development.
Never has there been a moment in human history and evolution until now that man has the capacity to destroy everything he loves, cherished, or created. Man now has the capacity to assure extinction of his very own existence; as such, a fundamental shift is not only needed, but extremely vital.
Leaders play a crucial and important role in shifting and orientating the direction of human evolution and development. For humankind to proceed toward optimal development, conscious leaders are needed. It is through them that human society can progress as a whole toward greater collective develop- ment.
The purpose of the International Governance and Sustainable Development Program is thus:
To foster a shift in the fundamental state of being of leaders toward greater mindfulness.
This will be accomplished in three ways:
By advancing knowledge and the knowledge-based structures in economy and society and
human being in depth
By increasing human capital in the form of subjective well being
By fostering integration, competencies, and fluidity of different levels and domains of life, humanity, and structures (political, economic, religious) in an interconnected world.
States of Knowledge & Teaching Paradigm
“Change your perception and the world changes.”
The teaching paradigm is based on underlying assumptions of knowledge acquisition – how do we know what we know: The current way of teaching, for instance, emphasizes objective, value-free learning. Subjective and experiential learning and knowledge are relegated to a lesser role whereas rational thinking, experimentation, and replication are regarded as premium knowledge. Empathetic and generative learn- ing, on the other hand, suggests that knowledge is co-created in a dynamic fashion. It is participatory and shared, with both parties receiving and giving knowledge. Historically, teaching paradigms have empha- sized didactics and objective knowledge, and deemphasized empathetic and generative learning.
Yet what works in the past or present may not necessarily work in the emerging future. On the other hand, there is a natural tendency of leaders and institutions to adopt what has worked in the past in their efforts to maintain certainty and coherence. But impermanence is a fundamental phenomenon of nature and being. In today’s world, the ability of leaders to change, and to engage in a dynamic interactions of change is more needed than ever. This requires a different teaching paradigm in knowledge acquisition, and different types of knowledge.
Whereas the didactic and objective teaching approaches emphasize stability, empathetic and generative teaching approaches embrace change and complex dynamics. This approach focuses on opening the mind, opening the heart, and opening the will in a whole and engaging process. The idea is to shift the leader to a different state of awareness, to a collective state of generativity and compassion so that leaders will lead by virtues. Leaders not only have knowledge but must become the embodiment of knowledge.
The approach, the generative one adopted in our program, has three main foci:
Developing not only intellectual knowledge and cutting edge global comprehensiveness, but also emotional and spiritual intelligence
Providing opportunities to exercise empathetic and generative knowledge
Focusing on mastering change and presenting the emerging future