Kiran Sethi, Youth Empowerment Advocate, On Experiential Learning And The 'I Can' Teaching Model (VIDEO)

07/23/2013 01:09 pm ET

Is the answer to engaging and empowering global youth simpler than we think?

Last month at the Ideas Festival in Aspen, Design For Change founder Kiran Sethi shared with HuffPost Live the two words that can open doors for children around the world: "I can."

Sethi first spoke about the 'I Can' teaching model in a 2009 TED Talk. She then brought the idea to life at the Riverside School, which she founded in Ahmedabad, India, in 2001. She postulates that the need to empower students comes from "removing choice from their vocabulary" from a very early age.

"As young as 5 years, that belief system that comes into children so early on scripts the rest of their understanding of who they are," Sethi said in the interview, "And then, after 15 years we're saying, 'Why aren't our children empathetic or concerned or proactive?' Well, for 15 years you're telling them, 'You can't!'"

The mother of two also spoke about the infectious nature of the 'I Can' mentality, as well as the importance of renewing inspiration.

"Inspiration has a shelf life," she said. "Every week you need to be inspired again."

Her formula for empowerment stems from sharing stories of success and setting "visible, accessible" examples that make replication and sustainability possible. Design For Change has developed a resource bank of children's stories of transformation from around the world to keep propelling the movement forward.

And when asked about her own valuation of the Third Metric, Sethi told us why she's not concerned about being successful and instead puts greater emphasis on the significance of her actions.

"I hope I'm not a success, because then I'm going to say, 'I got it, I'm done.' I don't want to be called a success at all."

This video is part of a series of interviews with speakers, attendees and panelists at The Aspen Ideas Festival, produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with The Aspen Institute. For more videos from the series, click here. For more information about The Aspen Institute, click here.

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