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Global Enlightenment Program

The digital revolution is reshaping the world. It’s redistributing wealth and power while altering economic, social, and political relationships and systems. The overriding and unanswered question at this point is whether citizens will control the changes yet to come.

The Global Enlightenment Program is designed to give citizens control of their lives for their own sake and that of society. The program seeks to give citizens the understanding and skills that will open their minds to the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution.

The Global Enlightenment Program recognizes that a new Age of Reason is within reach through the application of digital technology. Just as ideas about human progress, happiness, acceptance, and knowledge fueled the Age of Enlightenment that swept Western Europe in the 17th century, ideas about digital learning and innovation can reshape today’s world and do so for people everywhere, ushering in an Age of Global Enlightenment. Many of today’s problems, including poverty, ignorance, intolerance, and political repression, can be mitigated through the inclusive and thoughtful application of digital technology.

The Global Enlightenment Program is inspired by UNESCO’s Global Citizenship Education Initiative, which is UNESCO’s response to the challenge of enriching human values in an increasingly interconnected world. Through its program, UNESCO seeks to prepare learners for the challenges of the 21st century. It aims to empower people of all ages and backgrounds to play their part in promoting a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, and sustainable society. Global citizenship is the idea that each person can contribute to making the world a better place and refers to the sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity. It emphasizes political, economic, social, and cultural interdependency, and the connection between the local, the national and the global.

Professor Thomas Patterson, Harvard Kennedy School, co-founder of the Boston global Forum is Chief of the Global Enlightenment Program.