Welcome to Global Learn Day -- Voyage Number Eight.
My name is John Hibbs and I am your make-believe Captain on a make-believe ship that is about to sail from the very real North Island of New Zealand to the very real South Shore of Honolulu, westward, the long way around.
While the title "Captain" is indeed make-believe, and so too is the ship, the people aboard are anything but make-believe.
In fact they are the brainiest, most innovative, most passionate people you will ever meet. Although they come from every part of the globe, in every skin color imaginable, with different passports, different mother tongues, different educational backgrounds, different skill sets, different jobs, on this Voyage of Discovery, they all have one thing in common:
They are all deeply addicted to the idea of free knowledge sharing.
There is no make-believe to how proud I am that they are aboard. To all of them - keynoters, panelists, regional team leaders, presenters, sail makers, page pushers, phone bridgers, to each and to all of you.... thank you, thank you very, very much.
- They come aboard anxious to tell us about exceptional activities for which they are justifiably proud.
- They leave, awed by finding there are so many others who are doing work that is also quite extraordinary.
And to all of you listening, wherever you may be, in real time or from our archives, anywhere from Dublin to Seoul or Cairo to Capetown, thank you -- just as much.
Where have we come from? And where are we going?
Eight years ago, we managed a miracle with a rounding that was pulled off by guys named Berger, Rocherolle, Lepine and -- believe this or not - an angel, in the form of a homeless bum, who came out of nowhere -- and then disappeared.
Since that first Voyage we've continued to build on the shoulders of hard working team members who aren't bothered that monetary reward is as rare as a sighting of a great sea turtle.
The hard fact is that even though this is Voyage Number Eight, we are still finding our way.....which, when you think about it, is not so unusual.
We, like every other innovator on the planet, are taking our very first peek under a colossus of a tent called the Internet. Inside that tent is wide agreement that the killer application of the Internet is education and training.
Here are forces so powerful that within one generation - two at the absolute most - the Net will have more impact on our planet than did Gutenberg or television or the telephone.
When you consider the goal of Global Learn Day is to substantially accelerate those forces by widely showcasing people leading the parade, this is hard stuff.
Fortunately, I've found comfort in a book entitled 'The Clock of the Long Now'. Its author, Stuart Brand, wants to build a clock that will last 10,000 years.
Well, Stuart argues that by building something made to last as long as the the pyramids that such an undertaking will help change people who think in sound bites to people who think inter-generationally.
Stuart's message is urgent and crucial - if we don't take care of the mountain, the mountain won't take care of us.
Do yourself a favor and visit longnow.org. When you have done so I think you will agree that eight years is not such a long time to chart a course to destinations of inter-generational consequence.
Here's another topic that I want those aboard to chew on during Voyage Number Eight.
Unless and until every single minute of all 24 hours is both deeply compelling and every major element is of large value to every other element, this will not be a world class event.
And -- unless Global Learn Day is truly world class it will not be broadcast by those who can bring, collectively, audiences in the millions.
We do not have to -- and we should not settle for -- last minute get togethers -- thrown together in a way that is well beneath our skill sets, our brain power and the high standards to which we all hold ourselves every other day of the year.
Here are real questions for those on the work benches of our make-believe ship as we make our way west on our make-believe voyage:
To those questions, as you can expect, I've given hard thought. It's also one very big reason why I look forward to time spent on an imaginary sailing craft on its annual global expedition.
- --What happens if we restructure our thinking in a way where ownership of the major components of this event passes to those who are already leaders in their arena?
- --What happens if they visualize their component can become a Pinnacle Conference -- and a key element to their own outreach and fund raising?
- --Why can't these efforts lead to the making of their own rocket ship capable of taking them, independently. to destinations not otherwise possible?
- --What happens if once each year eight or ten Pinnacle Conferences get braided and paraded within a framework called Global Learn Day?
- --What happens if the first of these is Global Learn Day Nine, held on October 9, the day the United Nations has designated as Discovery Day?
- --What are the synergies we can expect when the engines of all the Pinnacle Conferences are firing as one?
- --In an event centric world, what other architecture would bring so much?
You see, I'm incredibly optimistic that by the time we pull into our very last stop in the Central Pacific -- where Bruce Best will take us on a delightful tour of the outback Marianas -- the work benches of this make-believe ship will have turned out sailing charts suitable for brainy voyagers with heady ambitions.
And ones not so different than those building clocks good for 10,000 years.
Here's another thought. My guess is that chart-crafting won't be done just by the crew, or the speakers. Some of its shape -- and some of its ownership -- will come from -- and go to -- the passengers.
This too, I ask you to contemplate as we make ready for departure:
In a Google-ized, globalized, corporatized, computerized world, the spirits that we all know are out there have today a much harder time finding their way, deep into our hearts.
Where is there a better place to let those spirits come inside each of us than on a make-believe voyage on a make-believe ship held together by the magic of electronic conductivity? Is the heart beat you hear your own? --- or does it belong to a fellow passenger on the other side of the planet? What happens to inter-generationl chart making if the spirits are part of the chalk?
How can we add to pluralism, motivation, curiosity, human rights and high self-directed learning without the lift that such spirits can provide?
-- Now, for purposes of both work benching about Pinnacle Conferences plus a tiny preview of some key elements on today's journey, here's this
The only thing missing is how to cause the smell of an orchid sent over the Net.
- Annette Stock, in New Zealand, uses rap music for challenged students who do poorly in reading. Hers has the making for a Pinnacle Conference designed to advance literacy for those who come out of the hood.
- Dr. Passi, in Bangkok, supported by friends in Kyoto, will talk about Peace, Justice, technology and education. What Pinnacle topic is more important than this one?
- Arun Meta, from New Delhi, and a bunch of brainy geeks, have plans to affordably wire every home in India. Next year this will be a Pinnacle Conference no prime minister should miss.
- In Kenya, lead by Janet Feldman, the topic is health, training,education and good use of the ordinary radio. With 80,000 community radio stations, world wide, how many will carry Pinnacle Conference broadcasts? In Africa, what subject needs more attention?
- In Europe, old friends Lukas Ritzel, David Wortley, Heiner Benking and Eric Schneider will link their talk to collaboration and networking - wonderfully suitable for a region in realignment.
- In Latin Americas, Argentine scientist Gabriel Rshaid will explain why a mission to Mars is so good for us ordinary earthlings. All of it makings for a Pinnacle Conference underpinned by scientists with Long Now stuff deep in their veins.
- In Canada and the USA, Yvonne Andres and her friends from the Global School Net will talk about the beauties of Project Based Learning. Take note that I warned her about a project for her next year. The project is Ben Franklin's 300th birthday, January 17, 2006. I will ask Yvonne for a case study to show how she how got 100 million school kids to light a birthday cake for a man who knows the true meaning to the Way to Wealth. For Yvonne and her network, that's a walk in the park.
- After all this, we make our last stop in the Central Pacific where John Southworth and his buddies are providing learning solutions to small numbers of poor people scattered over territory bigger than Canada. The neat part is this anchorage is fused with a closing that is part art and part spiritual, lead by Colene Riffo.
From Voyage Nine will come the continuous reminder that learning is the key to a sustainable planet. If so, doesn't if follow that the other side of the Earth Day coin is Global Learn Day? Is there any reason to not believe our celebration should be any less noteworthy than theirs?
WHEW!! - Stay with me, please - the good part is just ahead.
OUR KEYNOTERS TO GLOBAL LEARN DAY EIGHT
In just a couple minutes, I get the honor and pleasure to introduce to you Global Learn Day Eight Keynote Speakers -- a terrific pleasure...as well as a subject to which I give hard thought....so, a wee bit of background first. Con permissmo - even make-believe captains get special privileges.
Given the stature of the persons I am about to introduce, a small "look back" in order. Here is the snapshot of other Keynoters from the past:
All those keynoters wear very big shoes -- and every one of them left some very large footprints.
- In our Inaugural, Global Learn Day Number One, the Keynoter was the Governor of Guam. Not a bad start especially when you know back then we were so far off in our navigation we thought Guam was where the planet began the new day.
- On arrival in Fiji and Auckland we learned of our error. But we knew we were with kind people when the chancellor of a large Kiwi university said to me, while being broadcast over the Net -- "John, don't worry about the small stuff. Shit happens."
- You have no idea how much lift I got from language so perfectly expressed!
- On Voyage Two, the Keynoter was Mayor Blumksky of Wellington, with a guest appearance by Nelson Mandela at the University of South Africa.
- In Three it was Vint Cerf, who has rightful claim to be "Father of the Internet".
- In Four it was Sir John Daniel who earned his knighthood by changing the landscape of higher education in England.
- In Five it was the President of the Commonwealth of Learning and in Six it was the President of the World Association of Community Radio.
- In Seven it was a brilliant intellectual with sharp thoughts about the world after September 11 -- augmented by a gifted scientist from Antarctica who asked troubling questions about what happened to the ice?
Every year my challenge is to find Keynoters who can wear shoes this big....ones who can enlarge the footprints of those ahead of them.
It's a fun job and I give the choices a lot of hard thought.
This past year I came to know two extraordinary women who could comfortably wear those very big shoes. Each of them is so much like the other that I call them "The Twins"...and here's some of the reasons why ---.
In both cases their native language is Portuguese - although their accent is decidedly different. One comes from Brazil, the other from Portugal. Both of them teach English and both have traveled widely. Both are leaders in what is easily the most progressive organization in the whole wide world of English language training....a group called Webheads, --- a group we will feature extensively -- about 12 hours from now.
In my mind's eye there is no question that the leaders of tomorrow are learning English today. That premise makes it axiomatic that "The Twins", and those they represent, are deeply involved in motivating and cultivating many of tomorrow's Movers and Shakers.
In a fractured world where more is spent on tanks than teachers, you tell me of a job more important than that of our Keynoters and their half million counterparts? These are folks who daily grind the wheels of English language instruction --- in every large city on Earth -- and in every miserable nook on the planet as well. Sure, English is important. But what's really important is these folks have deep in their bones the beauties of pluralism, motivation, curiosity, human rights. What they plant deepest is not nouns and verbs. What they plant deepest is a living breathing example of individuals who are unafraid of large challenges.
The Keynoter from Brazil is an English teacher named Barbara. The Keynoter from Portugal is an English teacher named Teresa. They are brainy. They are bright. And they have the biggest, most generous hearts of any human being who has ever come aboard this ship.
They are Pinnacle Leaders in what could arguably be the most important Pinnacle conference of them all.
Believe me these Keynoters are anything but make believe.
Ladies and gentlemen, wherever you may be - from Cairo to Capetown, from Prague to Perth, from Anchorage to Argentina, whether listening in real time or listening from the archives on a ham radio in Antarctica -- or by satellite in Abidjan, or in traffic in Los Angeles -- I am deeply, deeply honored to present to you our Keynote Speakers for Global Learn Day - Voyage Number Eight.
Here is Mrs. Teresa Almeida d'Eca speaking from Portugal. And here is Mrs. Barbara Dieu, also known as Bee - speaking from Brazil.
Teresa - Bee - I am deeply honored that our spotlight is now on you.
If you are interested in Global Learn Day, please write to John Hibbs, email@example.com.
| Our Sponsors
| Become a Sponsor
| Donate |
| GLD VIII home page
| GLD VIII Overview
| Program |
Copyright © 2004 Benjamin Franklin Institute
of Global Education and individual authors. All rights reserved.