Yesterday I (and many other Fellows!) had the opportunity to attend the UNA-USA's event about the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Durham, and it was quite an eye-opening experience. The event focused on looking past the impending cut-off for the MDG's and asked the big question: What next? With 2015 just around the corner, it is important to look at the next agenda, and its focus on achieving new goals by 2030. So, after taking some time to examine the current goals, participants at the meeting broke into groups to discuss the targets for the next set of MDG's. Possible targets included equality between men and women, action on climate change, phone and internet access, political freedoms, and many more. I was assigned to a good education and access to clean water and sanitation, and while both were interesting, the former really stuck with me, especially considering my topic for WomenNC.
The conversation on a good education was an exciting one. It's members had varying ages, and though it was predominantly female, the male participant had plenty of input. The backgrounds of the panelists added another dimension to the group--two undergrads, a graduate student in neuroscience, and a handful of educators, including two who had experience abroad. While we were all uncertain of how to begin our discussion, we all agreed on one thing: The face of education, locally and globally, had to change.
From there, the conversation started rolling and everyone made excellent points. The topics ranged from community colleges, to holistic approaches, to issues such as retention rates, and support systems. As I sat listening to the discussion, and the segues building it, I realized how flawed our educational system was, especially in North Carolina. Furthermore, I came to the conclusion that education wasn't only a catalyst for empowerment. It was the launchpad to the future. From there we all confirmed one thing: Education is no longer just an academic institution. It is a social institution. It is built upon social, economic, and political aspects, and requires a hierarchy of support systems. While I do realize how grand of an idea education it is, I'm confident that by transforming the current system, little by little, we can improve our quality of education, locally and globally.
Overall, I enjoyed the chance to meet with people from different backgrounds, and find connections with them over matters I'm passionate about. It was also a fabulous opportunity to bond with the other Fellows, especially during the lunch break we had (thanks, Sheraton!) Later that evening, when I was still thinking over all the discussions of the day, I coincidentally came across a video discussing our educational system, and it touched on many of the same themes we had examined earlier. And though it doesn't focus on women and girls' education per se, it does have an insight into our current educational models. I need to meet this kid!
As always, I hope everyone has a fantastic week and a VERY merry turkey day!
Until next time!