Looking Ahead to Colombia and the 2017 Global Conference
I had a wonderful few days in Bogota this month, meeting with Enseña por Colombia’s team, alumni, board, and stakeholders.
There is so much in store for us when we convene there October 24-26 for the Global Conference. Just months after the historic peace agreement was signed, Colombia sits at a critical juncture as it works toward its aspirations. The roots of the long-standing conflict are deep social disparities and disenfranchisement, and there is widespread belief that achieving lasting peace will rest on developing collective leadership for an inclusive society. It was also striking to see the hope and faith that the country is placing in its students. The incredibly capable woman who served as Vice Minister of Defense is now the Minister of Education, which says so much about the shift in the country’s focus! Unprompted, she couldn’t have been more passionate about her belief that student leadership will prove to be the key to peace.
Loved meeting with some of Enseña por Colombia’s alumni!
With the theme of collective leadership for this year’s Global Conference, I’m excited for our global community to learn from those in Colombia who are courageously working to come together across geographic and socioeconomic lines for the development of their rural communities, and also to bring together the best thinking we can find globally from within and outside of our network about what collective leadership will require.
On another note, one of the highlights of my time in Colombia was hearing the Enseña por Colombia alumni describe what they’ve learned through their teaching experiences. I’m always amazed at the consistency of the lessons that alumni learn across different countries: they learn just how much their kids can do, they learn just how much they themselves can achieve, and they come to understand so much more about the reality and complexity of inequity. And these learnings inevitably inspire a lasting commitment to working for change, as they have in these alumni, whose pursuits range from developing new curriculum standards in the Ministry of Education to working with the World Bank to support the development of principals and school leaders. Enseña por Colombia is early in its journey for impact, but it was striking to understand from so many stakeholders the important role it has the potential to play in bridging the deep social divides and building the community-level capacity and leadership necessary for the country to reach its aspirations.
Members of Teach For All’s and Enseña por Colombia’s team with the Minister of Education, Yaneth Giha.