Education » Overview

Education and labor issues have featured as topics for discussion in our program portfolio since the 1950s. Recognizing that the way we learn and the future of work will change beyond recognition in coming decades, Salzburg Global Seminar is scaling up its commitment to explore these topics through a multi-year program on Education for Tomorrow’s World.

New technologies are taking us faster towards a post-industrial world, even in emerging and least-developed economies. Current teaching systems and metrics are being called into question. Young people, in particular, urgently need skills and support networks to realize their potential and forge individualized pathways for learning and work. Special attention needs to be paid to neglected talent, especially among marginalized groups, exploring how best to identify and nurture this otherwise wasted potential.

Relearning learning is critical to energize truly entrepreneurial societies. This will go far beyond education ministries to involve innovators, neuroscientists, data analysts and students themselves. As well as critically engaging with the ‘supply side’ of education, we must review the “demand side” – how to meet immediate needs to fill current jobs, identify new talents suited to new jobs, and promote access and diversity in a rapidly changing labor market.  

This program, launched in 2015, directly supports action to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (particularly Goal 4). It is a key component of Salzburg Global’s Human Transformation axis for 2016-2020, which recognizes that the digital and life sciences revolutions are radically changing assumptions and systems around education, jobs, families, health and ethics. Managing for change requires personal and organizational resilience, and for new technologies to be rooted in deep understanding of human needs and wants. 

To view related sessions, click here.

What is ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ and from what age should it be developed?
What is ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ and from what age should it be developed?
Chris Hamill-Stewart & Yeji Park 
“It means developing the whole person: the cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of human development. I think we have to begin the learning process at birth. It begins when parents or guardians interact with young babies. It is the continuous quality of those interactions that develop people into human beings that are tolerant, that have a good work ethic and high-quality human interactions.” 
Michael T. Nettles
Senior Vice President, ETS, USA “It means learning things like resilience and grit. It’s massive in the UK at the moment. People are trying to think about how we can make our students more resilient [toward] things when they get upset by something and that they are able to deal with it in the right way and have the support behind them. I think it should start from primary school. Those things develop at a quite young age so you need to be dealing with it earlier rather than later at university when it’s too much of a problem by that point that they haven’t had that support.” 
Eleanor Busby
Journalist, Times Educational Supplement, United Kingdom “In my view, social and emotional skills have three core areas, or important dimensions, where social and emotional skills play an important role: the capacity to achieve goals; to work well with others; and to cope with emotional challenges. The sooner this development takes place the better, although some recent evidence suggests that sensitive periods are during early adolescence, not necessarily during early childhood – because this is a time when children’s social interactions change a lot.” 
Koji Miyamoto
Senior Economist, World Bank’s Education Global Practice, USA “Social and emotional learning, to me, refers to the emotional resilience of a learner, and their ability to absorb and respond to different experiences throughout the learning process. I think it’s important throughout the developmental cycle, but especially around adolescence, when people start to become more independent. It’s important when what they encounter in their environment has to be reconciled personally, rather than in a protected space.” 
David Wilsey
Director of Masters Program in Sustainable Development Practice, University of Minnesota, USA “For a long time in my country, teaching and learning has been focused on the academic, cognitive processes.  At Twaweza, we have been assessing reading, writing and numeracy competencies, but I think in order to really assess and nurture a child – a whole person – we need to go on beyond those traditional subjects. We need to nurture skills like confidence, resilience, and communication, skills people will need in their real life, social and emotional skills. I think the earlier this takes place the better, these skills should start being nurtured before school.” 
Mary Goretti Nakabugo
Senior Management Team, Twaweza East Africa, Uganda  “The child should be emotionally stable and socially sensitive to other human beings around him or her. He or she should also have these skills in order to contribute as a productive citizen in society. SEL development, in fact, starts even before the child goes to school in the family itself, from the values family instill in the child. I think it should start as early as possible.” 
Sandeep Pandey
Vice-President, Socialist Party, India Have an opinion? Tweet @SalzburgGlobal using the hashtag #SGSedu
Michael Nettles - Why the ‘Whole Child’ Matters
Michael Nettles - Why the ‘Whole Child’ Matters
Michael T. Nettles 

I am delighted to see so many familiar faces — and also so many unfamiliar faces! It is great to be with old friends, and it is great to make new friends, also known as Allies in the Cause.

And it is a good cause! I would characterize our goal over the next few days as coming up with new ways to make students better people — better friends, better sons and daughters, better co-workers, better citizens, and of course better students — by developing their social and emotional skills. Social and emotional learning, or SEL, involves going beyond development of students’ cognitive skills to develop what is sometimes referred to as “the whole child.”

I like how our friend and colleague Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education and Skills at the OECD, put it in one of his excellent blog entries on the Huffington Post last year:

Common sense tells us that social and emotional skills — such as perseverance, self-control or agreeableness — help individuals have more fulfilling lives. People who persevere and work hard are more likely to succeed in a highly dynamic and skill-driven labor market. Those who work hard are more likely to follow healthier lifestyles and remain fit. Individuals who are capable of coping with their emotions and adapting to change are more likely to cope with job loss, family disintegration or crime. And of course, social and emotional skills matter because they help develop and enforce cognitive skills. Children with self-control, for example, are more likely to finish reading a book, to complete a difficult maths problem or to follow through a science project. [1]

That is as good an argument and as comprehensive a summary as I have seen as to why social and emotional learning matters. I am not surprised, given that the OECD is a leader in this research, which includes an international longitudinal study of skills development in major cities around the world [2]. It is sure to advance the cause of social and emotional learning.

I do not want to spend too much time persuading you of the importance of SEL research and interventions. Presumably, you are already persuaded and would not be here otherwise. But I do want to articulate what I presume is a shared belief — namely, that we are each here because we each believe that the success of our communities, our countries, and our infinitely diverse global society depends on one simple thing: our ability to get along with one another, whether in the playroom, the classroom, the workplace, the checkout line, the subway, and the public square. Perhaps most importantly, we have to get along with ourselves. As our friend and colleague from an earlier era, put it, “All of man’s misfortune comes from one thing, which is not knowing how to sit quietly in a room.” [3]

If that is true, then far too few of us know how to sit quietly in our rooms. The world is a very troubled place.

Are we patient? Are we respectful? Are we tolerant of our differences in appearance, values, belief, habits and behavior? Do we persevere through adversity, and even failure? Can we empathize with the suffering of others? Are we able to work collaboratively and creatively toward shared goals? Can we keep our tempers in check, more or less?

These are some of the questions SEL asks. When we can answer them in the affirmative, we will have made the world a less troubled place. So this is important work that we are doing here this week.

A question that you may ask is why any of this is of interest to my organization, ETS. We are known for our world-class educational assessments: the TOEIC and TOEFL tests of English proficiency; the GRE graduate-school admissions test; the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the United States Department of Education; the PISA and PIAAC assessments for the OECD among them.

ETS has a longstanding interest in understanding and measuring noncognitive traits for both the academic and workplace arenas, and in designing tools to develop those traits. Among our initial assessments in this area was the ETS Personal Potential Index, a large-scale test that institutions of higher education used for evaluating resilience, teamwork, and other personal attributes considered important for postsecondary success.

More recently, we developed the ETS SuccessNavigator assessment. It is a 30-minute, nonproctored, online test to help colleges identify, and provide support for, at-risk first-year students. It does so by measuring a student’s behaviors, beliefs and skills that directly affect academic success, such as their commitment to academic success; their ability to anticipate and respond to the pressures and stresses of college life; and their access to resources to support their academic success.

For the workplace, we recently developed what we call the WorkFORCE Assessment for Job Fit. It is a web-based, employment-recruiting tool that measures a job applicant on six behavioral competencies associated with workplace success: flexibility and resilience; initiative and perseverance; responsibility; teamwork and citizenship; customer-service orientation; and problem solving and ingenuity. A companion measure, the WorkFORCE Program for Career Development, is an assessment and training program to support employee and job-seeker success by identifying the same six traits.

We have discontinued the Personal Potential Index, but we are intensifying our research and development of noncognitive traits and measures because of the growing evidence of their importance in school, work, and life from multiple fields and sources, including neuroscience, health, employment, psychology, classroom management, learning theory, economics, and the prevention of youth problem behaviors. In our time together this week, we will learn about this expanding body of research, much of which is drawn from programs and interventions that have successfully integrated SEL with classroom practice and produced positive results.

In my own reading of the literature, I have found the evidence highly compelling. An organization that does excellent work in this area is the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or CASEL, which is based in Chicago. In 2011, CASEL conducted a meta-analysis of 213 studies involving more than 270,000 students. It showed an 11 percentile-point gain in academic achievement among students who participated in SEL programs compared to students who did not. Participating students also showed improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school. [4]

A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found statistically significant associations between measured social-emotional skills in kindergarten and key young-adult outcomes across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health. The findings would seem to support use of an SEL test to measure whether kindergartners are at risk for deficits in noncognitive skills later in life so that they can receive early intervention. [5]

As for the cost of SEL interventions, CASEL points to a recent study by researchers at Columbia University showing that the measurable benefits of SEL exceed its costs, in some instances dramatically. [6]

Cost, then, should not be an impediment to broad use of SEL in schools.

Neither should politics. But that is always a wild card in public education. That is certainly the case in the United States, where public education is far less centralized than in many other countries. Very often, public education becomes a proxy for political and cultural combat between the Left and the Right.

It would seem that SEL could be just one more field of battle. I can see conservatives viewing social and emotional interventions as politically correct coddling of children who would benefit more from some old-fashioned discipline — what we call the “spare the rod, spoil the child” approach to pedagogy. And I can see progressives viewing SEL, with its emphasis on behavior, as a way for conservatives to infect the curriculum with conservative morality.

And yet …

And yet two Washington, D.C., public policy think tanks — the Brookings Institution on the left, and the American Enterprise Institute on the right — recently collaborated on a study on ways to improve the prospects of people born into poverty. If there is anything that provokes partisan conflict, it is poverty relief.

And yet these partisan scholars found common ground on SEL. Their recommendations include educating “the whole child to promote social-emotional and character development as well as academic skills.” [7] Even the authors seemed surprised by their agreement. But as they write in their report, “The only way forward, we believe, is to work together.” [8]

It must have taken enormous amounts of social and emotional skills for them to work together, let alone agree!

Finally, this topic is of interest to ETS in the context of our previous Salzburg Global Seminars, in particular last year’s. It was titled “Untapped Talent,” and it asked the question “Can better testing and data accelerate creativity in learning and societies?” We answered in the affirmative. Our view was that much of the data being generated in our Information Age can be captured, analyzed and put to use to improve educational and workplace outcomes through such tools as data mining and analytics. It was an excellent and productive session. In fact, participants suggested that we broaden the discussion beyond academic, technical and vocational skills to include social and emotional skills and measures.

And so here we are.

This work is not without challenges. It is true that there is a foundation of excellent, groundbreaking, cross-discipline research in support of integrating SEL with cognitive classroom work. And as I noted a moment ago, there is even political common ground on which SEL interventions can move forward.

But social and emotional skills measurement is still in its nascent stage. And to state the obvious, it is quite unlike measuring cognitive skills. We are not measuring a student’s ability to solve a math — or “maths” — problem, dissect a frog or identify five causes of the Second World War. Measuring soft skills entails an element of subjectivity. Moreover, some of the successful programs that have been studied were customized for local conditions and are not easily replicable or scalable. Wide adoption of SEL interventions will require development of reliable, valid and scalable measures.

But I do believe that will happen, hopefully in part through our discussions here this week.

It seems like a blindingly obvious proposition: Being a good, empathic, thoughtful, even-tempered person able to work with others will make you happier, healthier, and more productive. We have an expression in the United States to indicate something that is so obvious: “Duh.”

But just because 15 scholars in Washington, D.C., can agree on an issue does not mean that the issue is settled. It may just mean that the battle is joined. It is certain that there will be resistance to the very idea that schools should teach emotional skills instead of just focusing on the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. And as always, there is unlikely to be one approach that will work for all countries and cultures. There should not be. The approach needs to fit the place, not the other way around.

Still, we are not starting from scratch. And social and emotional learning does have something for all parties. Teachers support it, employers want it, economists value it, and researchers are excited by it.

I hope we all view the next few days as an opportunity to learn from one another and to inspire, encourage, and motivate one another to bring back to our home countries a simple message: the whole child matters.
[1]  Andreas Schleicher. (2015). “
Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills,”
  [2] International Longitudinal Study of Skills Development in Cities, OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation.

[3] Blaise Pascal, The Pensées.
 [4] J.A. Durlak, R.P. Weissberg, A.B. Dymnicki, R.D. Taylor and K.B. Schellinger. (2011). “The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions.” Child Development magazine, 82(1): 405–432. See also CASEL website Research page.
 [5] Damon E. Jones, Mark Greenberg, and Max Crowley. (2015). "Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness,” American Journal of Public Health: Vol. 105, No. 11, pp. 2283-2290. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302630.

[6] Clive Belfield, Brooks Bowden, Alli Klapp, Henry Levin, Robert Shand and Sabine Zander. (2015). "The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning," Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education Teachers College, Columbia University See also CASEL website Research page.

[7] American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution. (2015). “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream, p.5. See also CASEL website Research page.

[8] Ibid.
Getting Smart - Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills
Getting Smart - Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills
Getting Smart - Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills
Chris Hamill-Stewart 
Twenty-first Century jobs will require 21st Century skills, and according to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020. With new technologies and artificial intelligence hurtling us towards a "Fourth Industrial Revolution" in countries at all stages of economic development, how we prepare this generation of learners to be the next generation of working is an increasingly important issue. To address this issue of a changing economic landscape and shifting understanding of what is important in education and work, Salzburg Global Seminar, in partnership with ETS (Education Testing Service) , will convene the session Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills, December 4 to 9 at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria, as part of its multi-year series Education for Tomorrow’s World. Education for Tomorrow's World seeks to address systemic challenges and opportunities for re-shaping education to prepare for the societies and work of the future. The series was conceived as part of the long-running collaboration between Salzburg Global Seminar and ETS in recognition of the fact that in order to identify talent and foster success across our societies, assessment science and practice, along with predicative analytics will need to become drivers for change. The 2015 session, “Untapped Talent: Can better testing and data accelerate creativity in learning and societies?” explored these issues, focusing especially on the use of data in prediction, analysis, and driving change. The 2016 session “Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills” will build on the outcomes of the 2015 session. It will bring up to forty education leaders and other stakeholders together from around the world to explore the challenges and benefits of fostering SEL (Social and Emotional Learning), including how this will affect the development of academic skills and more general testing of learners' abilities. Emerging evidence in education, psychology, neuroscience, and economics suggests that SEL skills can also be measured and developed to help improve academic achievement, reduce negative behaviors, and enrich interpersonal relationships. Cultivating SEL skills through a more systematic approach could therefore have long-term benefits for learners, schools and colleges, and workplaces. Participants will approach this topic in session-wide discussions and smaller breakout groups, asking and answering questions such as “What are the political, organizational and financial constraints that education leaders face in promoting social and emotional learning?”, “How do we best measure social and emotional skills?” and “What are the next steps that education leaders and other stakeholders can take to leverage opportunities for social and emotional learning and enhance support to children, particularly those in adversity?” By addressing these questions in a highly collaborative and open environment, participants will aim to produce a set of strategic principles on how best to strengthen social and emotional skills through education policy, curricular development, assessment and whole school policies. They will produce a concise “Salzburg Statement” suitable for wide dissemination, challenging policymakers and educational leaders to enhance social and emotional learning. In addition, this year’s session will facilitate on-going cross-border exchange between participants, and will play an important role in the future of the Education For Tomorrow’s World program.
The Salzburg Global Session Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills is part of the Salzburg Global series Education for Tomorrow's World, hosted partnership with ETS. More information on the session can be found here: You can follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag: #SGSedu
Report now online Untapped Talent: Can Better Testing and Data Accelerate Creativity in Learning and Societies?
Report now online Untapped Talent: Can Better Testing and Data Accelerate Creativity in Learning and Societies?
Louise Hallman 
The report from the session Untapped Talent: Can Better Testing and Data Accelerate Creativity in Learning and Societies? is now available online to read, download and share. The session was held last December in collaboration with ETS (Education Testing Service), the InterAmerican Development Bank and the US-based National Science Foundation, and in association with the UK’s RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and formed part of Salzburg Global's multi-year series Education For Tomorrow's World. The five-day program focused on the current gap between standardized assessments and the need to educate and measure for “21st century skills” of creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, from early childhood through formal education and beyond. The gathered cohort of 41 Salzburg Global Fellows, including experts in education, policy, learning science, and neuroscience; education activists and advocates; and representatives from private enterprises and international organizations, from across 18 different education systems, explored the power of data of all sorts – data exhaust and predictive analytics as well as educational testing – to reveal new pathways for people to develop these skills, and access work in a transforming labor market, with particular attention paid to marginalized groups at risk of exclusion across generations. Through a variety of panelled plenary discussions and in-depth group work, the session addressed the growing demand for interdisciplinary practice and education, which depends on a mix of divergent and convergent thinking at the heart of creativity, culminating in a collaborative Salzburg Statement on Realizing Human Potential through Better Use of Assessment and Data in Education. Summaries of all the session's discussions and a full version of the Statement are now available in the session report. The report is published ahead of this December's session Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills, which is also being held in partnership with ETS. (Registration for the 2016 session is currently open.) Download the report as a (lo-res) PDF

This Salzburg Global Seminar session was held in collaboration with the following organizations: ETS, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the National Science Foundation, and in association with the RSA. With additional support from: the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Capital Group Companies, HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust, the Korea Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, the Mexican Business Council Fellowship Program, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and The Nippon Foundation. Salzburg Global Seminar is grateful to all the organizations for their support. Salzburg Global would like to thank all participants for donating their time and expertise to this session.
Making A Statement
Making A Statement
Patrick Wilson 
Since its founding in 1947, Salzburg Global Seminar has been dedicated to bringing some of the most insightful and original voices together to share ideas and accelerate improvements to the world we live in.  One way Salzburg Global harnesses the expertise and energy of our Fellows and partners is to develop “Salzburg Statements”.  These calls-to-action give clear recommendations to key stakeholders to influence policy and advance key actions for shared goals.   “Our programs tackle issues that are highly complex, involving many different stakeholders and levels of intervention,” notes Clare Shine, Vice President and Chief Program Officer. “A Salzburg Statement can distill this into a clear and compelling case for change. This provides real value-add to partners and Fellows who are often under extreme pressure in their day to day operations.”    Collaboration has always been central to Salzburg Global’s work. Salzburg Statements are co-drafted by Fellows and our own program and communications staff, ensuring shared investment and ownership as well as direct relevance for priorities on the ground and at policy level. By drawing on expertise and insights from across geographies, sectors, and generations, the resulting Statements are unusually representative of different perspectives and cultures.   Earlier Salzburg Statements have included the 2011 Salzburg Statement on Shared Decision-Making, which was submitted by health advocates as evidence to the Public Bill Committee of the UK’s Health and Social Care Act (2012), and the 2014 Salzburg Statement on New Dynamics in Global Trade Architecture: The WTO, G20 and Regional Trade Agreements, presented at the annual OECD Forum in Paris.   In 2015, Salzburg Global expanded its production of Salzburg Statements, offering recommendations on issues from data use in health care to human rights violations in North Korea:  The joint drafting process motivates Fellows to proactively disseminate Statements to their networks after leaving Salzburg, urging their peers into action.  After the session International Responses to Crimes Against Humanity: The Case of North Korea, the Statement –  written with input from the three Commissioners of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – was translated into Korean, featured on Voice of America’s Korean-language service, and rapidly published by the Korea Economic Institute of America, the Germany-based DPRK rights NGO Saram, and the dedicated news service, NK News.   The Salzburg Statement on Realizing Human Potential through Better Use of Assessment and Data in Education was the front-page feature of TES, one of the UK’s widest-read education publications and the world’s largest online community of teachers.  The recommendations of the Salzburg Statement on Advancing Innovation and Equity in Aging Societies were featured in the bi-weekly column of Salzburg Global Fellow Gerardo Esquivel Hernandez in El Universal, Mexico’s most read newspaper.  Fellows also use Salzburg Statements to leverage their professional effectiveness.    Sherrie Pugh, a consultant with Vital Aging Network (a community wellness project for over 50s) and a member of the Minnesota Board on Aging and ACT Alzheimer State Leadership, used the Salzburg Statement on Advancing Innovation and Equity in Aging Societies in her presentation to Minnesota legislators. She hopes her proposals will be included in a 2017 bill that aims to create a holistic approach to aging societies, and now she plans to run for political office in the November 2016 elections to lead even deeper policy change on this issue.  Since participating in the symposium International Responses to Crimes Against Humanity: The Challenge of North Korea, James Burt, a UK research and policy officer for The European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea, has acted on the recommendations of the resulting Salzburg Statement. Burt’s charity – Human Atlas – designed, organized, and sponsored a conference on North Korean women and girls held in the UK’s Houses of Parliament in London. The conference assembled exiled North Koreans and global experts in gender issues, women’s rights, and human rights to discuss the often overlooked stories of the women and girls of North Korea.   Charlotte Cole of the US-based Blue Butterfly Collaborative used the Salzburg Statement on Quality Early Childhood Development and Education for All Girls and Boys as a resource while co-producing a new children’s media series in Haiti. The series, Lakou Kajou, is designed for kindergarteners and first graders and promotes a range of early childhood curricular skills.
FELLOWS' TESTIMONIES Marcelo Caetano, Economist at Brazil’s National Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA)
“Part of my work is making speeches about pensions. The great experience that I had in Salzburg and making use of the direction of the Salzburg Statement on Advancing Innovation and Equity in Aging Societies is helping me to improve them and to present better policy recommendations to the general public and to policymakers.”  Sara Watson, Director of ReadyNation
“We’ve actively shared the statement in our ReadyNation newsletters. The statement provided great principles and recommendations to accelerate progress for children and forwards the outcomes we all strived for at the session.”  Charlotte Cole, Founder and Executive Director of Blue Butterfly Collaborative
“A document like the Salzburg Statement helps support work and propel it forward. It brings together a lot of learning in a very succinct way. It’s a way to help other educators who are working in this domain see that there is an international interest, and to elevate the importance of the most recent thinking around important topics.”  Martha Buell, Director of the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood
“The statement we created was used to advocate for the inclusion of early childhood development in the University of Delaware’s strategic plan. The draft plan originally had education starting at kindergarten, so it was incredibly useful to have such a document to advocate for earlier education in the plan.” Yael Harris, Senior Researcher at Mathematica Policy Research
“Since the session several Fellows and other colleagues have begun to develop a further white paper call to action following the direction in our Salzburg Statement... bringing the concepts from the statement to an international organization focused on health and using health information technology to promote health care improvement.”
FIND OUT MORE You can find all the Salzburg Statements online at: 
Architects of the Future
Architects of the Future
Louise Hallman 

When Clemens Heller, Richard Campbell, and Scott Elledge convened the first “Salzburg Seminar in American Studies” in 1947, they were reacting to a continent ravaged by two World Wars in just three decades. Inspired by the Marshall Plan for Economics, they sought to launch a “Marshall Plan for the Mind” to reinvigorate European and American intellectual capacity, strengthen connections across the Atlantic, and heal deep post-war rifts. 

Fast forward nearly 70 years and Salzburg Global Seminar continues to forge breakthrough ideas and collaborations that bridge global and local divides. Our mission to challenge current and future leaders to solve issues of global concern calls for courage and creativity across generations and sectors.  

Most of Europe may no longer be ravaged by war, unlike some regions, but it faces spiraling tensions that can only be resolved through youth engagement and long-term vision. The recent financial and Euro crises, as well as attempts to accommodate desperate waves of refugees crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety in the European Union, have pushed European institutions, governments, and communities to the brink. New solutions and new energy are sorely needed.  

“As a trusted neutral organization that has witnessed conflict on its doorstep for decades, Salzburg Global has the responsibility to think and act long-term beyond narrow interests,” explains Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer Clare Shine. Our multi-year programs not only seek to address immediate problems facing individuals and institutions, but also systemic challenges, identifying levers for sustainable and socially just change at all levels. 

Many of Salzburg Global’s 2015 programs addressed critical issues faced by young people around the world. These included Youth, Economics, and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which tackled the interconnected problems and opportunities of burgeoning youth populations and marginalized youth in key cities and regions. Early Childhood Development & Education and Untapped Talent: Can Better Testing and Data Accelerate Creativity in Learning and Societies – both in partnership with ETS – examined ways to improve education and social care systems from early years to university to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to fully develop and realize their potential. Two off-site panel discussions in Vienna on Educating Young People for the Jobs of the Future and Washington, DC on The Immigration Crisis: A Preview of Things to Come? explored the need for labor markets and societies to accommodate technological disruption, changing demographics, and human mobility.  

In addition to youth futures in the areas of education, employment, and civic engagement, Salzburg Global’s 2015 programs also concentrated on finance and corporate governance systems that shape the prospects of – and will be shaped by – upcoming generations. It is vital to include rising and non-standard perspectives in these high-level dialogues, explains Salzburg Global Program Director Charles E. Ehrlich: “They question conventional thinking, enabling established participants to reassess today’s systems in the light of global challenges.”  

Younger professionals need to be at the table not only because they broaden perspectives, but also because they will be the architects of transnational systems on which future prosperity, environmental protection, and the achievement of global agendas such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals will depend. Engaging fresh talent on equal terms is the way Salzburg Global leverages new voices, new brains, and new geographies. 

“By bringing smart young voices to the center of interdisciplinary discussions, Salzburg Global empowers next generation leaders to influence current policymakers and affect positive change into the future,” adds Ehrlich. 

To equip youth from all backgrounds to become effective leaders, it is critical to invest in their human capital development. Salzburg Global not only opens up opportunities for informal mentoring and network growth through attending sessions on topics from health care innovation to the future of financial regulation, but also runs dedicated capacity-building programs, such as the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum), the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, and the now-independent Global Citizenship Alliance

Participating in the annual YCI Forum in Salzburg helps teams of innovators from city hubs around the world develop new skills focused on intra- and entrepreneurship, the latest digital resources, new business models, risk-taking and innovation, the psychology of leadership and emotional intelligence, and cross-cultural communication and negotiating skills. They leave “turbo-charged” to expand their work in their communities. This motivation and upskilling is all the more valuable, as many of these city hubs face significant economic, political, cultural, and/or racial stress.  

Reflecting on his participation in the YCI Forum, David Olawuyi Fakunle from Baltimore, MD, USA, said: “I will look back on Salzburg as the five days that changed my life. It gave me a glimpse into what the world can be when everyone is driven by understanding, cooperation, and social good. It is comforting and personally it has strengthened my purpose. Just as importantly, I left with a plan for action. That is what I needed, and the fact that I received it will take my efforts to provide healing in Baltimore to the next level.” 

Dafni Kalafati from Athens, Greece added: “What I took back home was a heart full of joy and a mind full of inspiration. Bringing together so many innovative minds can only create a better world to live in.”  

Heller, Campbell, and Elledge would likely agree.

Alina von Davier - “There are many things we don't measure because we don't know how”
A still from the Alina von Davier's animation
Alina von Davier - “There are many things we don't measure because we don't know how”
Patrick Wilson 

Salzburg Global Fellow Alina von Davier has released an animation on her work on collaboration for her organization Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Alina von Davier is a Fellow of the 2015 session The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? She is also senior research director at ETS and adjunct professor at Fordham University, New York, NY, USA. At ETS she has developed the expertise and psychometric research agenda in support of the next generation of assessments.

The animation details a new research method that can be used to measure how individuals interact in collaborative problem solving. The video explains the research by Davier to find out what are 21st century skills and how to measure them. Davier discusses how current research on collaboration and 21st century skills only focuses on what we already know, stating: “we measure very, very well what we know how to measure, but there are many things out there that we don't measure because we don't know how to measure them.” 

The US-based education nonprofit ETS works to advance quality and equity in education on a worldwide scale by creating assessments based on research as well as conducting educational research, analysis and policy studies and developing customized services and products for teacher certification, English language learning and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education.

ETS has partnered with Salzburg Global Seminar for several Salzburg Global programs, most recently of which was Untapped Talent: Can better testing and data accelerate creativity in learning and societies?in December 2015.

The research laid out in this animation aims to be applied in schools within formative assessments for English language learners and potentially summative assessments in the workplace.

The video can be viewed here.

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