Innovative Approaches to Education: Curiosity, Imagination, Discovery (2017)

The 10th "Sabancı Foundation Philanthropy Seminar" was held on December 5, 2017 at Sabancı Center with the attendance of Ms. Güler Sabancı (Chairman of Sabancı Foundation Board of Trustees) and representatives from the public sector, business, media, education, art community, foundations, associations and universities in Turkey.

Moderated by Şirin Payzın, the Philanthropy Seminar hosted guest speakers; Paul Collard, the founder of Creativity, Culture and Education Foundation that implements international projects on education, and academician from New York University, Selçuk Şirin.

In the opening speech of the Philanthropy Seminar, Chairman of Sabancı Foundation Board of Trustees Ms. Güler Sabancı emphasized that they organize this seminar each year within the same week of the Human Rights Day on December 10 and said: "Everyone has responsibility to create a society where every individual benefits from human rights equally. If we are talking about human rights, we know that the most fundamental right is the right for education both for women and men." 

Stating that technological developments reshaped needs in several areas from business to social life, Ms. Sabancı continued: “Along with digitalization this new world and new working system demands different skills and competencies. We determined our seminar title with these ideas: ‘Innovative Approaches to Education: Curiosity, Imagination, Discovery’. We need to design education accordingly, and to develop self-confidence and creativity of children first in the family, and then in school without discouraging them. Civil society, families, teachers and policy makers have their own responsibilities to provide this. We should be open to novelty in education and develop new applicable models to equip children with 21st century skills.”

The first guest speaker of the seminar, academician and author Selçuk Şirin said: “in 21st century, while needs are changing, there is a new competition in education too. Today we are also in the same point with England. The important thing is to use the opportunity that technology bring us and to redesign the education accordingly. This is the secret of increasing the per capita income of Turkey, as well as the life and education quality. We should make our children have non-realistic dreams and give them an education that supports their imagination.”

The second guest speaker of the seminar, education expert who works on unconventional learning and teaching methods, Paul Collard, expressed: “One out of three employers indicates that they cannot find employees with skills that they need. On the other hand, young people cannot find a job. To resolve this imbalance between supply and demand, we should teach children the ‘creative habits of mind’ and encourage them to be inquisitive, persistent, imaginative, disciplined and collaborative. When we think that the professions that 60% of today’s students will perform in the future are still undiscovered, only in this way it can be possible to prepare them for the future.”


Selçuk Şirin is New York University Javits Professor and an expert on statistical and applied behavioral sciences. He received his PhD from Boston College and has almost hundred scientific publications. While writing data based articles on education, he also designed a game based learning application, entitled “PROJECT HOPE”, with the aim of contributing to the educational and psychological crisis faced by Syrian children. 

Education Expert/Foundation Executive Director

Paul Collard is the founder and the Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) Foundation, an international institution dedicated to unlocking the creativity of young people in and out of formal education. He ran several projects designed to use the arts, culture and creativity to improve local and regional economies while addressing deep seated social issues. He has an expertise on unconventional learning and teaching methods.

For the written document of the seminar please click here.

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