Johnston calls for the global expansion of knowledge

“Yes, I’ve come home, and it’s good to be home,” said David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada and former president of the University of Waterloo, at Congress 2012 Saturday afternoon as part of the “Big Thinking” series happening throughout this week.

The focus of Johnston’s lecture was about how education and knowledge can collaborate with the fields of technology and science to further the scholarship of the average student, or as he put it, for the “democratization of knowledge.” The topic of the lecture was in tune with the theme of the conference, “Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World.”

“This is the best time in history to be scholars,” said Johnston to a crowd of academics and local figures, including Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid.

Despite the advancements in technology that can make learning — at times — a lot easier, Johnston still stressed the importance of teachers. Johnston added that by doing this, in a now increasingly global community, is what will make education better.

“If you’re only going to remember three words from what I say today, they are ‘cherish our teachers’,” said Johnston.

Johnston also called for the expansion of knowledge so that all citizens from all societies can have access to learning. This is possible with the use of the Internet and other forms of technology.

“The core of a democratic society is the idea that people know enough to govern themselves,” he added.

Johnston left the audience with a series questions to ponder while the convention continues for the rest of the week. Johnston wants education to have fewer boundaries so that students, not just from Canada, can have the privilege of learning, but with Canada being in a leadership role.

He also mentioned the ideas of integration and application of education in a more multi-discipline approach. The humanities and social sciences should no longer be centralized but should have a global consciousness.

The “Big Thinking” series at Congress 2012 until May 31 and will include more lectures by prominent intellectuals such as Canadian authors Jane Urquhart and Margaret Atwood.

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