The future can substantially change when we can inspire the youth and empower them with character, universal values, and moral and innovative leadership capacities. Global Peace Foundation’s new enterprise, Transforming Education in the Global South, incorporates holistic development and cultivation of character in educators and youth. The number of young people in the world is the most significant number it has ever been—over 1.2 billion, with almost 90% living in the global south. This presents a golden opportunity for families and educators to provide these young people with the principles, tools, and skills to develop the moral character crucial for their growth and development to lead the world toward peace.

Educating our youth is critical to their ability to establish a strong foundation of character to become moral and innovative leaders committed to a purposeful future of positively contributing to society. The Global Peace Foundation (GPF) recognizes the importance of this and, as such, has made transforming education one of its global core components. Transformative education expands the focus from conventional education and its rigid emphasis on academics, uniformity, and obedience to a more holistic model, underscoring the importance of character and creativity necessary to thrive in today’s rapidly changing technical world.

GPF’s new enterprise, Transforming Education in the Global South: Toward 2050 (TEGS:2050), embodies the principles of holistic development and cultivation of character first for educators and leaders as changemakers, followed by students. As noted in GPF’s TEGS: 2050 Launch Story, the number of young people in the world is the largest number it has ever been—over 1.2 billion, with almost 90% living in the global south and representing a significant portion of the population. This presents a rare opportunity for families and educators to provide these young people with the principles, tools, and skills to develop moral character and values crucial for their growth and development as future leaders under GPF’s vision of “One Family Under God.”

TEGS: 2050 utilizes a four-pronged strategy. In addition to holistically transforming educators, leaders, and students, the three additional focus areas are creating regional models in nations, creating great schools and universities, and building campaign awareness. The emphasis on developing regional models has seen the initiative grow from its initial inception in Region 3 of the Philippines in 2022 to its expansion to other areas, such as Kenya, Uganda, and India in the Global South in 2023. Further expansion is planned for 2024 and beyond.

Partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities have created an outline of core competencies for educators to champion change, embodying three areas: amazing culture, continuous innovation, and quality outreach extending beyond educational institutions to families, communities, and organizations.

For example, an Education Transformation Workshop (1 of 3 Series) for Senior Education Stakeholders was held at Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Uganda, on October 30 and 31, 2023. Dr. Tony Devine, GPF vice president of Education, was the workshop’s chief facilitator with a theme of Shaping a Purposeful Future Together through Transformative Education. The in-person event was attended by 81 people on October 30 and 95 people on October 31, with a supplemental audience of virtual attendees on both days and follow-up meetings and phone calls with several university and government officials shortly after the workshop concluded.

The workshop covered four topics delivered in three sessions: (1) Visualizing the Purpose and Future of Education—Towards 2050, (2) The Foundation of Character, and (3) The Holistic Development of Educators and Students and Moral and Innovative Leadership. Participants were enthusiastically engaged in each session. One attendee stated, “Technological changes are occurring today; hence, changes are inevitable, such as the use of smartphones. We should, therefore, find the best means of guiding our learners on responsible use of technology.” Another participant commented on the importance of building moral character: “Character is superior to knowledge. As a teacher, I should put more emphasis on character than content in my teaching to nurture more morally upright individuals.”

Building awareness of the TEGS:2050 campaign is ongoing. Efforts to align the initiative regionally and expand the vision across educational institutions were part of a targeted strategy during 2023. A key achievement was the Global Peace Leadership Conference in Region 3 of the Philippines, which began in December 2002, where over 300 education representatives gathered to learn about TEGS:2050 foundational concepts. The launch of TEGS:2050 was also highlighted at the Global Peace Convention in December 2023, where transformative education concepts were presented to an engaged audience of more than 300 educators and leaders.

The journey continues in 2024 as the strategy to actualize the transformative vision of TEGS:2050 grows stronger with activities such as the upcoming phases 4, 5, and 6 of Transformative Education workshops and Moral and Innovative Leadership training in the Philippines. Enhanced collaboratives will also be initiated with educators, policymakers, and leaders in the Philippines, Uganda, and Kenya to further align curriculum and national models with the TEGS: 2050 initiative.

The future of peaceful coexistence relies on today’s development of tomorrow’s moral and innovative leaders. In other words, today’s young people are our hope for a better tomorrow. However, they depend on an education that prepares them with the knowledge, tools, and skills to build the character and creativity necessary to positively assess, adapt, and act in ways that positively impact their families, communities, and society. TEGS:2050 provides a path to do just that.

The original post appears on Global Peace Foundation. Global Peace Foundation is an international non-sectarian, non-partisan, nonprofit organization, which promotes an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding, guided by the vision of One Family under God.  GPF engages and organizes a global network of public and private-sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peacebuilding models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies. Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon is the founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation.