Globalisation and digitalisation have connected people, cities, countries and continents in ways that vastly increase our individual and collective potential. But the same forces have also made the world more volatile, more complex, more uncertain and more ambiguous. The world is witnessing a growing disconnect between an infinite growth imperative and the finite resources and delicate ecosystems of our planet; between the financial economy and the real economy; between the wealthy and the poor; between the concept of gross domestic product and the well-being of people; between technology and social needs; and between governance and the perceived voicelessness of people.

No one should hold education responsible for all of this but neither should anyone underestimate the role that people’s knowledge, skills, attitudes and values play in social and economic development and in shaping the cultural context.

In today’s world, education is no longer just about teaching students something but about helping them develop a reliable compass and the tools to confidently navigate through an increasingly complex, volatile and uncertain world. Success in education today is about identity, it is about agency and it is about purpose. It is about building curiosity – opening minds. It is about compassion – opening hearts. And it is about courage – mobilising our cognitive, social and emotional resources to take action. These are also our best weapons against the biggest threats of our times: ignorance – the closed mind; hate – the closed heart; and fear – the enemy of agency.