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Business Officer Magazine

Bold Thinking for a Better World

"When I look back at the early 20th century, I'm struck by not only the innovation taking place, but by the great public policy developments," said Zanny Minton Beddoes, at Tuesday's closing general session.

Beddoes, economics editor for The Economist and a frequent television and radio commentator, pointed out that "it was a time when the U.S. pioneered secondary and tertiary education. We are not thinking nearly as boldly today as we could as a country. So much depends on how creatively institutions and policymakers move to transfer the ways we fund education and how we deliver it."

Two global factors are producing a tectonic shift, explained Beddoes. "Growth of technology and aging populations in many countries are changing the world in ways that make it virtually unrecognizable." Everyone's jobs will be affected on a scale that is potentially huge, suggested Beddoes. "A huge and growing challenge is how to prepare people for such a shift. We must rethink the way we educate people—education can be an equalizing force in an environment where the world overall is becoming less unequal, but in individual countries, such as the U.S., inequality is growing dramatically."

Concluded Beddoes: "It is an exciting time and a scary time—and you, as higher education business officers, have a huge responsibility, and you can make a huge difference."

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