THE BLOG
04/19/2013 03:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Rethinking Learning

How can we make education more relevant for young people, how can we learn to be more effective with impact investing, and how can we advance philanthropy? We wrestled with these questions on day two of the 2013 Global Philanthropy Forum Conference.

Jennifer Buffett, President and Co-chair of the NoVo Foundation, suggested engaging youth by actively involving them in issues. José Zaglul, President of EARTH University, encouraged us to minimize competition, "because when you compete only one wins, and that's a problem in our society." And Amit Bhatia, Founder and Chairman of Aspire, asked us, "what have we armed these young people with? We no longer send people to war with bows and arrows and swords, but we're sending children out of the education system with antiquated learning."

We also examined what we need to learn to unlock the potential of impact investing. "The big risk," said Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer at the Acumen Fund, "is that we cherry-pick in slightly easier-to-serve populations and in a few years the toughest to reach population hasn't changed because we skipped a step."

We must also learn to make space for bottom-up innovation within communities. Looking at philanthropy in Africa, Toyin Saraki, Founder and President of the WellBeing Foundation, stressed "the importance of picking champions that exist within communities."

We ended the day with a game changer in the field of education. Salman Khan, the Founder and Executive Director of Khan Academy, shared his vision of pushing the envelope of what is possible virtually in order to create a free, world-class education for anyone anywhere.