At Business 20 – a forum held on the sidelines of the G20 – business leaders, including American economist Jeffery Sachs, emphasize the importance of prioritizing education as one of the means to building better societies.
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ – Bali, Indonesia
The 2022 G20 Summit is the 17th meeting of the Group of Twenty – a summit scheduled for November 15-16, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia.
Leading up to the event, the G20 Presidency has put together various side events, including the B20 (or Business 20) – a forum for dialogue with the global business community, aiming to provide concrete actionable policy recommendations on priorities to boost economic growth and development.
This year’s B20 Summit (November 13-14) included the theme “Advancing Innovative, Inclusive and Collaborative Growth” in support of the G20 motto: “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”, inspired by the desire to strategize together for the times to shape post-pandemic recovery.
On Monday morning, several dignitaries, students and people from the business world gathered at a B20 session on the island of “Kura Kura” – one of the thousands that Indonesia has – to discuss the topic: “Future knowledge and blending.”
Mr. Nadiem Makarim, the Indonesian Minister of Education, offered the first contribution, emphasizing the importance of education. He highlighted his ministry’s initiative to unbundle the country’s education program so that educational institutions from all over the world can become part of the Indonesian education system for a semester.
Shared responsibility to save the climate and end wars
Next came Mr. Jeffrey Sachs, President of the UN Network for Sustainable Development Solutions, who insisted that finance must be in harmony with human values, religion and the environment.
Speaking to Vatican News, the American-born economist said the G20 countries have a “responsibility to help solve the problems of climate change and end wars.” Business leaders from these nations, he added, want to do their part to solve these global problems.
“All these conflicts are the biggest obstacle we face,” he said. “That’s why Pope Francis says all the time that we need a negotiated end to this war. We need the fighting to stop.”
Mr. Sachs also underlined the importance of values, some of which are present in Indonesian culture and can contribute to the betterment of society.
“Bali has a philosophy called Tri Hita Karanawhat ‘harmony’ means with people, nature and God,” he noted, adding that this coincides with the Pope’s efforts for peace and dialogue, as with his encyclical Fratelli tutti.
Learn critical thinking skills
Monday’s B20 summit included an interactive session between Mr. Makarim and Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, who attended the event via video call. The Indonesian minister asked the tech entrepreneur some pre-prepared questions and Mr. Musk answered the attendees of the event.
Mr Musk emphasized the importance of establishing the relevance of what we learn, rather than viewing learning as just a mental obstacle course. He said critical thinking needs to be taught early in education as it helps create a kind of “firewall” against misconceptions.
He encouraged young people to pursue careers in sustainable energy, artificial intelligence and synthetic biology, which he believes will be relevant in the future as medicine becomes increasingly digitised.
When asked about his attitude toward failure, Mr. Musk encouraged everyone to “make fewer mistakes over time” and seek critical feedback in their quest for knowledge.
He also considered physics an important aspect of his personal experience, urging people to return to principles as “physics is the law and everything else is recommendation”.
In response to another question about his daily habits that have made him who he is, Mr. Musk urged everyone to have a sense of obsessive curiosity and a spirit of adventure and never allow their fears to be inflated disproportionately.