Rediscovering Childhood


Early Childhood Development

Karachi, Pakistan
3-6 April 2006 

The Sindh Education Foundation organized a three-day symposium of Rediscovering Childhood and a one-day conference on Early Childhood Development in Karachi, Pakistan. The symposium took place on 3, 4 and 5 April; the conference on 6 April 2006.

Major themes for discussion and exploration were:

  • Childhood across cultures
  • Social institutions and childhood
  • Technology and childhood
  • Shaping of childhood in the age of development
  • Globalization and childhood.

LDI President Jan Visser presented two invited keynotes during the event. Following are the titles and a brief description of their underlying rationale for the two keynotes, as well as links to the relevant slide shows and handouts for the attendees.

1) Opening Keynote:


Each child now born faces a world that is in a number of ways essentially different from the world previous generations were facing. It is a world whose essential problems are complex rather than linear, requiring conscious human beings to interact with such problems in a complex manner. It is also a world in which changes occur at a rate that makes it impossible to be prepared for change in any other way than by being prepared to interact intelligently and constructively with uncertainty. It is furthermore a world that is the healthy product of a history of human development that has allowed us to be diverse in such respects as the worldviews we entertain, the cultures we share, the languages we speak, and the ways in which we deal with problems. It is essential to care for and nurture such diversity, a challenge that is particularly interesting – and acute – in view of the high level of interconnectedness we now experience thanks to technologies such as the Internet and satellite communication. Finally, it is a world that, if together we don't deal with it the right way, is at a greater risk than ever to simply disappear.

The opportunities, challenges and dangers of our time require deep reflection on the question: What does it mean to be a good human being, to live responsively and responsibly, to play a constructive role in and be a harmonious part of the evolutionary history of a diverse species that has a unique opportunity to elevate its shared consciousness to the next higher level. The way we prepare the conditions for all of us to learn in that world, starting with the very young, has everything to do with the search for intelligent answers to the above question.

The following link is to thePDF version of the PowerPoint presentation for the above opening keynote on Born in a Connected, Complex, Turbulent and Uncertain World: Growing up at the start of the Third Millennium. This is a 1 MB PDF file, which takes some time to download, particularly if you are on a slow connection.

There is also a two-page handout, which accompanied the keynote address.

2) Dinner Keynote:


The logic behind choosing 2026 is that it’s 20 years (one generation) ahead of where we are right now. It’s a foreseeable time span. Politicians, planners and policy makers should be able and willing to look that much ahead and realize that they are not dealing with utopia, but with a reality in the making. In 2026 the world population will have grown to eight billion (eight times ten to the power of nine) people, 33% more than the six billion we had at the turn of the millennium and well on our way to what forecasters believe will be a more or less stable “nine billion plus” around the year 2050. We will be more interconnected than ever before, quite intimately exposed to each other’s ideas, ways of expression and styles of life, and should all be aware of the need to sustain human life on a planet with limited resources that can’t be sacrificed in dissipative conflicts and through the irresponsible spending by some to the detriment of others. We must care for diversity in the different ways in which different cultures view, appreciate, and act within the world in which they live, rising above the divisions that keep us apart, standing in awe of the beautiful complexity we have been able to generate while our species evolved. This requires members of the generations to come to be prepared – in terms of values adopted, attitudes acquired and skills shaped while they learn – to face, and interact constructively with, an environment that is complex as well as in constant and rapid change. Facing the challenge to be prepared for such a future, we must be willing to engage in a serious rethinking of the societal conditions that allow all of us to learn, from infancy to late adulthood.

The following link is to the PowerPoint presentation for the above keynote on Preparing for Learning in Today's World: Challenges at the Horizon of 2026. This is a 1.62 MB PDF file, which takes some time to download, particularly if you are on a slow connection.

Much shorter and quicker to download in the PDF version of a two-page handout prepared for the above keynote.