A keynote address was delivered by Kiran Bir Sethi, founder and director of the Ahmedabad Riverside School located in Gujarat, India. Sethi’s speech focused primarily on her experience as a mother, facing the realization that the education system values high test scores and good grades over a child’s sense of :I Can". In 2001, Kiran set up her own school in Ahmedabad, India. She had found that modern education places insufficient emphasis upon imagination, emotional well-being and choice, and that a new paradigm was needed in which pupils creatively explore the world, develop themselves and care for others. Central to Kiran’s teaching method is a simplified Design Thinking approach that leads students to understand empathetically rather than just intellectually, and puts academic learning into a real-world context. This in turn encourages collaboration and the creation of future ‘citizen leaders’ who make a positive impact on the world around them. See her TED talk below.
The main event of the night involved the twenty social entrepreneurs, all of which were given two minutes to pitch their social venture. The ventures touched on a broad number of subjects, including accessibility for the blind and deaf, improving Christian-Muslim relations, developing debate skills, and many others. The event closed with a roundtable in which a select group of social entrepreneurships engaged in discussions with UWCSEA students, offering advice and answering questions about the industry and what drives them to create positive change. Overall, the night was a major success, reaffirming the importance of changemaking driven by youth.