Huffington Post – What If What We Studied Had Global Impact? I September 6, 2014

February 9, 2014


For all the hope and promise the 21st century has brought us, it’s also bringing us a brand new set of issues that can’t be solved using 20th century approaches. What if these new challenges that are emerging also demand a new kind of professional? And what if our traditional institutes of education have not been nimble enough to prepare the world for the people it will need to keep pushing forward?

The biggest problems we face are problems that cross national boundaries. They’re also wickedly complex systems that require creativity, curiosity and a systems approach to solve. How do we prepare a generation to deal with this reality? What if, in order to overcome the biggest problems we’re facing, we need a two-pronged attack that places greater emphasis on interdisciplinary thought and experiential learning as opposed to rigid disciplines and lectures?

This why work the Amani Institute is doing is so important. According to their website:

The Amani Institute envisions a world without boundaries. These are boundaries between nations and, therefore, between peoples. Boundaries between religions and disciplines and ideologies. Boundaries between the classroom and society, between working for a living and working for meaning. We envision Amani Institute students seeing themselves as global changemakers — able to operate flexibly and freely wherever they are called to go, living and working in ways that transcend boundaries. And in the course of their lives and the model they set for others, these individuals practice this identity and develop its meaning and strength and wisdom.


But what if it’s not just the world that demands the type of professionals the Amani Institute is helping to create? Higher education has been slow to evolve how it prepares its students for a world in which anyone with a smartphone can have as much content knowledge as someone with a PhD and Wikipedia is the number one source of medical information for patients and healthcare professionals. What if the realities of the world are shifting faster than the infrastructure of higher education institutions can adapt?

And what if skills employers are demanding in new hires such as leadership, problem solving, and communication are best taught on projects instead of in classrooms? What if, in an increasingly globalized society, there is real value in studying in a country other than the one in which you were born or are most familiar?

This is why what the Amani Institute is doing is so important. Not only are they providing a model of higher education that produces future leaders through intensive cross-boundary work, they’re doing it at cost lower than most traditional institutions of global education.

They’ve also embraced the concept of the collaboration. They’re not operating under a goal of putting existing schools out of business. They want to be a voice in the conversation of how to shape the system of higher education; they want to work with leading universities to create a better world together.

Not only does the Amani Institute seek to make positive impact on the world through collaboration; they also don’t want to overcomplicate things. What If the most complex problems we face can be conquered by developing four essential skills? According to the Amani Institute, the four skills essential for leaders of the future to master are:

1. Have the vision to see what needs to change.
2. Have the courage to step into the unknown.
3. Have the empathy to work effectively with others. 
4. Have an ethos of change-making in the service of building of a more peaceful world.

If you’re interested in learning the skills of the future and you’re set on making sure whatever you study in school and do for a living impacts the world, you should definitely give the Amani Institute a look. Even better, you can apply for their next program in Kenya before February 20. What if the world could be your classroom?

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