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A Call for Education and Innovation Among Youth
Cairo, 24 March 2008  -- In a speech at AUC about youth, entrepreneurship and the developing world, Ismail Serageldin argued that Egyptian youth have the potential to place the country on the global technology roadmap. “Can we do it? Yes we can!” Serageldin said. “Our youth may look weak and vulnerable, but working together we will surprise you. Working together, we’ll put Egypt back on top of the world.” In his lecture, Serageldin touched on various topics, ranging from climate change and the new paradigm of high technology to a history of America’s greatest inventors and various anecdotes on development. He spoke primarily about the recent upheavals in technology and education, of which Egypt must be a part. Describing paradigm shifts in the global economy, Serageldin noted that the knowledge revolution of today followed the agricultural and industrial revolutions of the past. “Nowadays, we communicate with e-mails, literally at the speed of light,” he explained. “We are getting rid of wires; this is part of our liberation. We are expanding the brain’s reach.” Despite such advancements, problems still existed and could be amplified by what he described as the third global revolution. Of particular interest for Serageldin was the problem of youth unemployment, which he called heartbreaking. “How many dreams must go unrealized?” he asked. In order to take advantage of global changes, Serageldin noted that education must evolve. “I guarantee you that any information I give you in physics or chemistry will be obsolete in 10 or 15 years,” he said. “Children must learn to learn.” Serageldin used examples of great entrepreneurs such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to argue that success comes through innovation. Applying such a model to the developing world, he said that, like Gates, entrepreneurs should “invent a better future.”

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