Georgia Southern education professor, Dalai Lama join for first international Human Education in the Third Millennium project in India
Georgia Southern University College of Education professor John A. Weaver, Ph.D., recently joined with the Dalai Lama and 14 other leading scholars from 10 countries for the first Round Table Conference of the Human Education in the Third Millennium project. The conference for the project, which addresses the obstacles of educational equality on a world level and proposes a renewal of educational values utilizing different traditions from across the world, was hosted in the personal residence of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. He served as the honorary keynote speaker.
Weaver, a faculty member at Georgia Southern for 18 years who teaches in the doctoral program in curriculum studies, was one of two participants from the United States.
Invited for his research and expertise in post-humanism, theories that critically analyze the traditional ideas about humanity and the human condition, Weaver joined the group of scholars in July to begin discussions to articulate the significant challenges of education.
One of the common concerns identified was a tendency to view education through an economic lens.
“It’s this idea that everything that is private is good, and everything that is public is not good,” explained Weaver. “Nobel Prize-winning economist Kenneth Arrow said that under perfect conditions there is no government involvement and a perfect balance of supply and demand. However, there are two aspects where he says this does not work — health care and education. We should be listening to Arrow.”
The Dalai Lama offered his thoughts on ethics and education for the new millennium.
“If education is supposed to have produced individuals living a happy life in happy communities in a happy world, it seems to have failed,” he said to the group.
Weaver will assist with organizing a Human Education in the Third Millennium World forum, which will take place in November 2020. Educators, politicians and philosophers will all be invited to gather for presentations and discussion on themes including policy, humanism, democracy and pedagogy.
“I get to play a part in shaping what the themes for this conference will be,” he said. “The goal is to bring as many people to the forum as possible with as much support as possible so that there is little expense to come, and we receive input and ideas from every area of the world.”
After the forum, Weaver and his colleagues will compile a book of their experiences that detail the future of education.
“We all have the common, shared vision that education is being threatened by various forces across the world,” Weaver said. “Neoliberalism was a recurring theme that we discussed — where, for instance, here in the United States, people are trying to turn public education into another site for profit.
“One thing that struck me — there were 15 different people from 10 different countries and yet we all had very similar concerns,” he added. “These are world problems.”
For more information on the Human Education in the Third Millennium, visit https://humaneducation.net.
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