The Art of Giving | Modern Philanthropy and Education

Lurdes de Sousa

Skills. It’s all about skills.
Where are we now? The first industrial revolution used water and steam to mechanize production. The second used electric energy to create mass production, and the third used electronics and information technology to automate production. The fourth revolution is the digital era reshaping the entire production, management and governance systems.
We live in an era of digital technology and Artificial Intelligence. The time of the fourth industrial revolution is here to stay. Are we prepared? One thing we know is that the future of the tech industry relies heavily on people’s skills. “Artificial Intelligence will require the entire workforce to learn new skills” as noted in LinkedIn’s 2020 emerging job report. Are we prepared?
Neuroscientist Tara Swart stresses in her writings that brain agility makes us more adaptable and resilient. It enables us to master our emotions, trust our intuition and be more creative. Creativity is an essential skill that gives us the power to reinvent, rethink and imagine. Imagination and creativity are the supportive tools guiding us in making decision for social good.
Let’s come back to philanthropy. In a series of recent published articles by Le Monde, modern philanthropy, described as an “American history”, is very much brought into question when evaluating the impact that philanthropists had in the past and present century for the common good. We are living in a global “philanthropy crisis” the reflection seems to suggest.
Philanthropy needs to be reinvented, rethought, reimagined. Philanthropists cannot not meet themselves, and alone, this challenge without surrounding creative minds in their decision-making process. Skills. It all about skills. And consequently, how we train younger minds to be creative (and multicultural). How does global governance address this question? Very poorly, based on the assumption that our global education system must be, in many parts of the world, completely reinvented.
The arts, the neglected child of our education systems, have been proved to be one of the key success answer for creative intelligence. Arts in education develops crucial skills to foster creativity and imagination. Some years ago, leading knowledge institutions opposed the STEM system where Science, Technology, Engineering and Math were considered the excellence of knowledge. An “A” for the Arts was added, making it the STEAM movement. For far too long in education, we’ve been working with the presumption of teaching to ensure our students get a “good job”. Foolishly (and the word is not too strong) we are still today in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, preparing students for jobs that won’t (or don’t) even exist anymore. If we aim at achieving sustainable and inclusive development goals and give back to society by ensuring the well-being of tomorrow’s generation, we must prepare global creative minds to respond to pressing global challenges.
That’s an area where philanthropy can reinvent itself. If global governance cannot encourage the arts in education then leading philanthropists and philanthropic institutions should contribute and fund reimagined programs for the arts inside or outside the educational system. Again, it’s all about skills…
As a final note and as we are entering the new lunar year, the Associação Internacional de Filantropia (Macau) 國際博愛協會(澳門)wishes readers a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Rat!

*President, Associação Internacional
de Filantropia (Macau)
國際博愛協會 (澳門)

Macau Daily Times is the official media partner of the Associação Internacional de Filantropia (Macau).

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