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Have a look at the selection of articles the RSA Global Team have been reading over the past month! They include the growing importance of cities to foreign policy initiatives and addressing global challenges such as climate change and recent reports from leading institutions on Automation and Artificial Intelligence.


Behind every ideal school there is an ideal principal. In his World Bank blog, Jamie Saavedra states that “new measures to improve school quality can only be implemented if schools are led by leaders and managers who are committed to the education and well-being of their students.” For more on this, read the article here.

Looking further afield, what will the ideal school of the future look like?  Does technology have a role in shaping it?  For more read the article here.

A recent Stanford Social Innovation Review article highlighted that even though there has been some progress  made on girls education globally there is still a long way to go. In some ways a new approach is needed in order to when focusing on girls education globally.

Unpacking Accountability in Education – At a recent Overseas Development Institute event a group of expert panellists examined what mechanisms are in place to ensure all stakeholders are motivated to provide education fairly and effectively. The panel also discussed what is needed globally and in the UK to ensure accountability within the education system.


In the US recent reports from Pew Research Centre and Brookings examine automation and its implications in modern life. The Pew Research report addresses American attitudes towards current conversations around automation.  It mainly indicates that Americans express worry and concern than optimism.   Whereas the Brookings report analyses how digital technology has permeated every aspect of life – in the home and at the workplace.  

The recently published AI Now Report 2017 reviews current academic research and developments in the area of Artificial Intelligence. It focuses on four key areas such as labour and automation, bias and inclusion, rights and liberties, and ethics and governance. This is necessary read for anyone involved in this research as it frames the challenges which are inevitable as well as underscores the importance of inclusion and fairness as AI becomes more embedded in society.

Building on their research on the future of work, the McKinsey Global Institute’s report entitled Jobs Lost, Jobs gained: Workforce Transitions in a time of automation indicates the number and types of jobs which might be created under various scenarios from present day until 2030. It also reveals what jobs will be lost to automation and implication that has on wages, skills development and training.

Public Services

More and more cities are surpassing nation states as the central actor in international affairs. Recently, the EU has decided to work with cities and regions as key partners in international diplomacy, as part of the EU’s International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme.  Similarly on the other side of the Atlantic, cities, states and municipalities are taking the lead on a key global issue such as climate change.

Is this the end of not in my backyard? Have a look at the newly published Housing strategy from the city of Vancouver which is gathering a lot of attention globally. Among the initiatives proposed in the Housing Strategy are rental only housing zones, deliberately densifying areas that are currently stocked with single-family homes, restricting property ownership by non-permanent residents.

So how is life? This was the question posed by the OECD to persons within the 35 OECD countries including Brazil, South Africa and Colombia in its How’s Life 2017 Report. It has (not surprisingly) revealed deep wellbeing divisions along the lines of age, education and wealth. For more details have a look at the video please read the report here

Global Challenges

It is difficult to determine at the moment how history will judge 2017 but make no mistake that there is definitely a uptick in the threat to democracy globally. The Freedom House report for 2017 indicates that this challenge is actually a dual threat posed by both Populists and Autocrats.

Climate Change, migration and displacement  a recent ODI publication, addressed  two global challenges which are fraught with political and economic implications – Human Mobility and Climate Change. It examines to what extent human mobility i.e. migration, displacement and planned relocation) is driven by climate change.  


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