Win KaosPilot A-Z 2: Essays on social enterprise

KaosPilot A-Z 2

I am giving away a copy of the now-rare English edition of KaosPilot A-Z, which is filled with essays and stories about social entrepreneurship from KaosPilots board members and friends, such as the late Dame Anita Roddick and Alan Webber of Fast Company, as well as an alphabetical look into life as a KaosPilot.

This book can be bought for DKR 280,- or €40, which doesn’t include shipping and handling. I got mine from a second-hand dealer and it cost me AU$70 all up. And I’m going to give my copy away!

All you have to do is answer these simple questions. All the answers can be found on the KaosPilots.NL website. You’ll also need to describe the KaosPilots Netherlands in your own words. Don’t worry, we don’t need essays )

Anyone can enter! Just get all your entries in by 30th April 2008. The results will be posted here by the 3rd of May at the very latest, and I’ll get in touch with the winner to send the book over.

Don’t hesitate, it’s just a simple task.

Enter Now!

Some reviews of KaosPilot A-Z 2:

Fast Company
WorldChanging
Pioneers of Change

Reviews of the original Danish edition, KaosPilot A-Z (the version I’m giving away is in English)

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Malaysian Student Leaders Summit 2008

Thanks Yong Wei Chong for this update:

Organized by the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC), the summit will be a platform for intellectual and scholastic discourse between prominent local leaders and Malaysian student leaders from around the world.

This year’s prospective speakers include Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, Y.B. Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, YB Senator Zaid Ibrahim, Dr Farish Ahmad-Noor, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Prof. Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi, Dato’ Nazir Razak, Karim Raslan, Zainah Anwar etc, while issues discussed will include transparency and accountability in governance, the restoration of faith in the judicial system, race relations, the National Education Blueprint, religious diversity etc.

The Summit will be held at Nikko Hotel on the 2nd and 3rd of August 2008.

Admission is free.
Places are limited to the first 500 participants who register at www.msls08.com.
For pictures of last year’s inaugural Malaysian Student Leaders Summit, please visit www.ukeconline.com.

Doug Belshaw’s 10 ‘Home Truths’ about Schooling and Education

Education blogger Doug Belshaw posits his musings about schooling and education, at least in the traditional systems:

1. For there to be ‘good’ parents there must be ‘bad’ parents. The same is true of teachers.
2. It is almost impossible to effect a fundamental change in worldview in an individual whom you see as part of a class of ~30 for less than an hour per week.
3. To learn how to ride a bicycle you have to take the stabilisers off at some point. In the same way, Internet safety cannot be taught effectively in an artificially closed, filtered, environment.
4. More content ? more achievement.
5. Being good at passing examinations does not mean an individual will be of benefit of society or ‘flourish’ (in an Aristotelian sense)
6. Technology often serves to magnify talents and, moreover, weaknesses in pedagogy.
7. If some pilots knew the same about flying as some teachers know about ‘real’ teaching, the aircraft would never get to its destination.
8. It may be a cliché to cite time-motion studies that show that the majority of time in school, children are waiting for something to happen. This does not mean, however, that the situation has been rectified.
9. If the school is a business, then each department should know how the others fit into corporate aims and philosophies. If it is not, and is child-centred, it needs to have a holistic approach. Either way, most schools need to improve communication between subject areas.
10. One of the chief functions of schools in the 21st century is to babysit children for ever-increasing periods of time (think: extended schools).

#5 is especially noteworthy, at least for Malaysian attitudes.

IssueLab: CloseUp on Volunteering – research resources

IssueLab is an organization that aims to archive, distribute, and promote research conducted by the non-profit sector. This research can be used by students, activists, organizations, and anyone else interested in various non-profit-related issues.

Every month they have a CloseUp, which focuses on a specific issue. This month’s CloseUp is on volunteerism, and for this topic they have various resources such as:

  • Government reports and statistics
  • Foundation studies
  • Opinion pieces
  • Practice advice

and much more.

They also have a CloseUp on youth media which is equally as informative.

IssueLab is relatively new, but they’re already a great resource for information and are worth a visit. Keep an eye for future CloseUps and research pieces on various other issues.

Thanks to Vanessa Beck for the heads-up!

Guest Post: Max Norman – Being a Diplomat in a Multicultural World

Max Norman is the main blogger of Ask The Kid, where he provides answers to life’s queries from the perspective of a young person. We are pleased to bring you a guest post by him today:


Being a Diplomat in a Multicultural World

We no longer live in a world of nations and governments; we live in a world of sects and movements, religions and cultures. As you already know, these differences have lead to great conflict and senseless hate. As the next generation, we must embrace this world, for it can not be changed. We need to learn the art of diplomacy in a new fashion, for a new world. It is up to us to re sow the seeds of peace and well being, of enlightenment and education, because the world will fall apart without peace; people will keep fighting until the end. If you practice diplomacy, you will set yourself apart, gain respect and help make the world a more peaceful place.

These skills aren’t something you can learn in school. They must be tried, tested and refined in the real world with real people. The family unit is a fairly apt forum to practice the majority of your diplomacy abilities, although the broader skills must be engaged with other, different people. To start off, you must learn how to communicate your thoughts effectively–this is usually what starts conflicts. Speak, write or illustrate ideas in a simple manner in a common language, and spend all the necessary time to get your point across. Staying persistent reaffirms confidence in relationships, because it shows that you are patient and willing to accept differences; this makes a good impression. It is VERY important to make a good first impression, but remember that with each culture, virtues change. Do research to explore the manners and courtesy of the person’s/organization’s culture.

Understanding motivations is a key tool for solving problems and creating new relationships, even if the motivation is foreign and seems unfounded. Everyone is driven by passion, which can be used to sway their feelings; if one can tap their driving force and aim it in a new direction, your goal is achieved. This must be done using rhetorical skills and demonstrations persistently to convince them of the right way to go. For example, if a criminal is shown the consequences of crime, then shown how much better life is preventing crime, many times they will migrate away from illegality. If not, a stern action–like an arrest–can set them on the road to enlightenment. This applies directly to conflict: if you show the trouble makers why they are wrong, provide a solution and foster change, people might just change their minds, which even in small increments advances your cause. Motivation never goes away; it just shifts in a new direction.

In our world today, a lot of violence is fueled by heritage. In Iraq, the Sunnis are fighting the Shiites because once very long ago, one of the sects–it is not known which–murdered a relative of Mohammed, the creator of Islam. The terrorists who kill themselves for these causes were told to do so from a very young age, which is important to keep in mind. This same pattern occurs is most religious wars, and must be taken into account when negotiating and appeasing members of these parties. One must at least appear independent of both sides, and talk as equals to find out what is causing this violence. From there, steps can be made to appease warring factions.

The quest for peace is as old as humankind. Until recently, diplomacy was on the national level with governments and rulers, but it has now shifted to sects, organizations and cultures—all different. To negotiate for peace, you need to be able to communicate your solutions effectively, and always understand that determination is not superficial: much conflict is brought about by deeply rooted emotional factors such as religion and history. Practice these skills; use them at home and at school, for you will be the ones using them in the future. Even in the best of times, conflict will not be completely vanquished, but diplomacy can work on issues bit by bit, every one bringing you closer to peace.


If you’d like to contribute a guest post for EducateDeviate, feel free to contact me with your ideas. I’m particularly looking for contributions from young people on topics that interest them.

The Blue Chillies are Back!

For the third year running, KLue Magazine is taking in nominations for their Blue Chilli Awards:

KLue Blue Chilli Awards 2008

KLue brings you again our third annual Blue Chilli awards, where we aim to uncover the next wave of young talented individuals who have made strong contributions in their respective industries. Think you know anyone who fits the bill? KLue Blue Chilli 2008 brings you the chance to highlight your own list of nominees; it doesn’t matter if it’s an ingenious filmmaker, an innovative designer or a social activist. We want to find the next Jimmy Choo or even the next Michelle Yeoh!

Nominees have to have resided in Malaysia for at least a year, and be between 18 and 28 years old. Past nominees and winners have included Khai Lee and Suzanne Lee (whom we’ve profiled before).

Nominations are open from 4th to 30th April 2008. So nominate now!

The Oncologist Fallacy (or Why University Rankings are Unreliable)

This is an argument that I often receive when debating the merit of applying to a university solely based on their prestige or ranking. Ming, sorry, I don’t mean to pick on you, but you’ve articulated the argument very well.

If getting treatment from the best oncologist in the world is within the means for a cancer patient, chances are she will do so.

Besides the obvious, that education is nothing like medicine, there are a few reasons why statements like that don’t stand when it comes to choosing a university, or choosing your educational direction in general.

1. You don’t go to see an oncologist if you’re having problems with your foot, or if you’re feeling fine. Similarly, not every university is suited for everyone. Harvard is often the standard for “top university”, but you wouldn’t be happy at Harvard if you prefer smaller classrooms and you’re very artistic and rather hippie-ish. As far as I know, Harvard doesn’t have a great creative arts/creative industries faculty. To use a statement now stressed by many college counselors and university faculty everywhere, university is a MATCH, not a TROPHY. You should be aiming for the school that best matches your needs, ideals, and personality – even if it turns out to be an obscure school in the middle of nowhere.

2. There isn’t a single “best oncologist”; no one doctor holds the monopoly on quality. Just because XYZ Doctor managed to hold the top post, doesn’t mean all the other doctors below him are crap. Similarly, just because XYZ University did not rate very high on the rankings, does not mean they’re terrible and are not worth a look. There are many brilliant universities (and doctors) out there, particularly in regions like Western Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, South America, New Zealand/rest of Oceania, and other places that just don’t figure into traditional ranks. It is really stupid to think that only a handful of universities are able to provide a top-notch learning environment.

3. Best according to who? Rankings, despite looking objective, are actually rather subjective – it all depends on how the ranking body decides to calculate their criteria. How would you put into numbers something like “satisfaction of student body” or “best match for your needs”? The U.S. News, which is generally the “gold standard” for US university rankings, have come under fire for putting in false information for colleges that refuse to participate in the rankings. So are the rankings necessarily reliable? Not when you have a growing backlash of colleges against it. It’s not just America either; there has been criticism over the UK’s Times Higher Education List, as well as Canada’s Maclean’s list.

4. How honest is the oncologist? It’s not just the rankings body that messes up numbers; some universities are also cheating at the game. There is a major lack of transparency on both sides about how the numbers are calculated and calibrated. There is no way for us to know that the numbers are at all accurate or representative, so why rely on them as your main – or only – source of information. It would be far better to do more research on each university individually, getting information straight from the source, and making up your own minds based on your own needs.

5. Everything happens in context. You may have found the best oncologist, but what if they live too far away? Or they’re booked up for months? Or if they’re too expensive for your budget? Similarly, there are many other considerations to make when choosing a university. Where are they located – is it an atmosphere you enjoy, is the weather good, can you afford to live there? How about the student body – how homogenized (or not) are they? Is it small or big? Are the classes heavy on theory, or are they more practical? Does the school expect you to do an internship or semester abroad as part of the course? Does one course differ from another in style? There are many aspects that make up the learning process of a university, and are things that aren’t necessarily reflected well in rankings.

6. Can you afford it? Another argument that is usually made for going to a “top university” is that they supposedly give you a lot of funding, so you can afford to go. Never mind their extreme selectiveness; it is extremely difficult to get funding for studies, particularly if you’re an international student. In many countries, international students are expected to pay full-fee, and scholarships are highly limited. FAFSA, which is the US Government’s way of working out financial aid, is not applicable to international students. The world of financial aid is mysterious and complex, especially if you’re a “high-ranking” university – funding resources are limited and not all of them can afford to (or want to) support students that can’t pay full fee. Interestingly, there are a growing number of smaller-scale universities that are open and willing to give full financial support – they are often more attuned to student welfare (treating the students as individuals with needs and desires) and don’t have to deal with too much internal competition.

Looking for a good university or college? Don’t put too much stock on ratings. Do your own research, and you’re more likely to find the choice that’s best for you – and save a lot of money, time, effort, and heartache.

Relevant Reading: