Past Event

The Role of Education in the 21st Century

June 19, 2019
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, No. 26, 1F Core Plaza, 1 Shanyuan Street, Zhongguancun, Haidian District, Beijing

If 20th century was all about industrialization and dawn of the information age, 21st century is when we capitalize on these wonderful innovations to create a more inclusive and just world for human kind.

This century is already bringing about a dramatic shift towards more digitization and universal connectedness via Artificial intelligence and other technologies. People around the world will have to reinvent themselves quite often if they would like to stay relevant in the workforce. Most of the professions, as we know them now, will offer no employment anymore or at least will require entirely new and dynamic set of skills in the employees.

20th century saw a rapid globalization that touched every aspect of our daily lives. After the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 though, we have become more inward and there is a trust deficit among nations of the world. In the present uncertain and ever-changing geopolitical environment, what role can education play to build bridges and further the cause of humans collectively?

On June 19, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing in collaboration with OPAD Group invites you to the eighth panel discussion of the Center's Education Panel Series, entitled "The Role of Education in the 21st Century". Through our panel of eminent experts, we will be able to touch upon important roles education will assume going forward in the 21st century.



Graham Turner, Academic Principal, RDFC ICC (High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China)

In a career spanning 40 years in education, Graham has taught in schools in the UK, Canada, USA and China. For most of his teaching career he has held posts of significant responsibility and leadership. Before working in China he was a Principal in a High School in the north of England for 9 years. Graham's journey in China began in Ningbo where he was a school Principal for 2 years, before being appointed as a Deputy Director for Dipont Education based in Shanghai. With regard to the latter he had specific responsibility for all of the Dipont A Levels and IB schools. Graham is a great believer in distributed leadership and management within schools, not least as a powerful driver for change and ongoing school improvement. Graham will soon take up a position at Sunderland University in the UK, with some responsibility for teaching training in Asia, and China specifically.


Alfonso Reina, Assistant Professor, New York Institute of Technology, Nanjing

Dr. Reina earned his Bachelor's degree in Applied Physics at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico, and later received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT, where he researched methods to fabricate carbon nanomaterials for electronics. After earning his PhD, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He has worked in Asia for the last six years in international education setting, including both high school and undergraduate programs.


Joey Yang, High-school student from The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China

Joey is the Executive President of China Youth P.P.E. (Philosophy, Politic and Economic) Convention. He is the Honorary President of Beijing Middle-School Film, Television, and Media Alliance. He is also the Vice President of RDFZ Student Union, and the Vice President of Beijing Middle School Public Speaking Alliance. He has published the philosophical monograph Chinese Culture and The Common Value of Peace for Humanity at a young age of 16.



6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.



7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Panel discussion / Q&A


8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Networking opportunity



The event will be in English.

Due to limited seats, registration will be verified through the QR code confirmation. Please present your QR code at the entrance. 

Please plan to arrive no earlier than the registration time and no later than 20 minutes after the end of registration period.

If you are unable to attend the event, please inform us in advance. 

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]