‘Design Thinking’ Approach Aims to Train Dutch Students’ Ability to Solve Problems | US News


Creating is just one element of the “design thinking” classes now installed in 400 Dutch primary schools. In education, this approach focuses on identifying new challenges as they develop and finding potential solutions. As Harvard’s Graduate School of Education notes, this framework can be used to design specific courses or for group projects.

Having empathy and critical thinking skills are crucial for this educational approach, says the program’s inventor, Emer Beamer. An Irish native living in the Netherlands, she founded her nonprofit organization Designathon Works five years ago. Since then, 23,680 children have worked with design thinking principles and the project has already spread to more than three dozen other countries.

Source: ‘Design Thinking’ Approach Aims to Train Dutch Students’ Ability to Solve Problems | Best Countries | US News

The Next Great-Power Conflict Will Be Fought Through Subversion


Foreign subversion is a covert, indirect form of modern statecraft. It involves empowering illicit and armed nonstate groups that act as extensions of a sponsor state. These proxies inflict damage on target states with the aim of deconsolidating them and creating ungoverned space. Their attacks distract the target state and deny it resources, creating bargaining leverage for the sponsor.

Although subversion featured prominently in the Cold War, policymakers have only recently begun to pay attention to the problem of subversion in its updated form. This oversight has been costly to Western interests. Russian subversion deprived Ukraine and Georgia of control over significant swaths of territory. Pakistani subversion has prevented the Afghan state from consolidating any authority beyond Kabul. And Iranian subversion against the Yemeni government and against Saudi Arabia destabilizes the Persian Gulf region.

With the exception of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, which Russia annexed directly, Moscow, Islamabad, and Tehran outsourced their dirty work to local proxies that proved to be highly effective extensions of their external sponsors.

The indirect nature of subversion is crucial to its value as an instrument of foreign policy. By outsourcing the imposition of costs to nonstate actors, subversion requires less military capability and fewer financial resources than conventional force. It is also less visible, which reduces the likelihood of detection. And when it is detected, ambiguity permits plausible deniability. These features are highly advantageous in an international environment in which conventional force is costly and legally proscribed.

Two signs indicate that a state is likely to use subversion: a motive and a means. The motive generally arises when a state is locked in a severe, salient, and intractable policy dispute with another state.

The means depends on the existence of proxies on the ground—agents willing to disrupt order and govern in lieu of state authorities. These agents cannot be easily manufactured out of thin air. In virtually all cases of subversion, foreign sponsors empowered existing aggrieved groups with ambitions to defy the political center.

Subversion is especially attractive when states have few other tools in their foreign policy toolkits.

Beijing, for example, has not yet engaged in subversion because China’s economic might endows it with economic instruments of statecraft that are unavailable to Russia, Pakistan, or Iran. China’s importance to global value chains, the size of its market, and the magnitude of its official finances give it sufficient sources of foreign policy leverage (although if its economy were to slow, subversion could become more attractive).

U.S. policymakers have been slow to recognize the growing threat of subversion and remain ill-equipped to counter it.

A quarter century of unipolarity seems to have caused Washington to forget one of the most important lessons of the Cold War. In the meantime, new technology has lowered the costs of subversion while U.S. military superiority has increased its attractiveness.

Source: The Next Great-Power Conflict Will Be Fought Through Subversion

Should the EU embrace artificial intelligence, or fear it? | EURACTIV.com


As Ursula von der Leyen took office as the new President of the European Commission this week, she said her administration will prioritize two issues above all: guiding Europe through the energy transition in response to climate change, and guiding it through the digital transition in response to new technologies.

On the latter, she has her work cut out. “Digitalization is making things possible that were unthinkable even a generation ago,” she told the European Parliament ahead of her approval last week.

“To grasp the opportunities and to address the dangers that are out there, we must be able to strike a smart balance where the market cannot. We must protect our European well‑being and our European values. In the digital age, we must continue on our European path.”

Source: Should the EU embrace artificial intelligence, or fear it? – EURACTIV.com

Is virtue signalling a perversion of morality? | Aeon Ideas


Accusing someone of virtue signaling is to accuse them of a kind of hypocrisy.

The accused person claims to be deeply concerned about some moral issue but their main concern is – so the argument goes – with themselves. They’re not really concerned with changing minds, let alone with changing the world, but with displaying themselves in the best light possible.

Source: Is virtue signalling a perversion of morality? | Aeon Ideas

The Best Way to End Modern Slavery? Enabling Legal Migration | Time


In the case of African men and women forced to sell their bodies or labor for little to no pay in Europe, it has a lot to do with an immigration policy out of sync with the demands of the European labor market, combined with the inevitability that young Africans will migrate, no matter the risk, in search for better opportunities than they can find at home.

What the International Labor Organization calls the “new slavery” keeps an estimated 25 million people trapped in debt bondage or other forms of forced labor, producing many of the goods that keep the global economy going.

Forced marriage, which is also considered a form of modern slavery, afflicts another 15.4 million women and young girls. Modern slavery doesn’t come with the iron chains and auctions of the past.

Today’s restraints take the form of withheld documents, the possibility of exposure, and the threat of deportation.

Modern slavery, and the human trafficking networks that enable it, is a $150 billion a year criminal enterprise that spans the world.

Source: The Best Way to End Modern Slavery? Enabling Legal Migration | Time

Do teachers have biased academic perceptions of their English learner students?


Policymakers, educators, and community members often decry the large achievement and attainment gaps between English learner (EL) students and their English-proficient peers.

Increasingly, attention is turning toward understanding not what’s going wrong among these students, but instead what’s going wrong with how schools educate, support, and empower these students. In the last few years, several studies have emerged documenting that simply being classified as an EL student in school can have a direct, negative impact on students’ test scores, graduation, and college-going.

Source: Do teachers have biased academic perceptions of their English learner students?

South Korean actor found dead in latest K-pop tragedy | Reuters


South Korean actor Cha In-ha was found dead in his home, police said on Wednesday, the country’s third young celebrity to die in the past two months amid growing debate about the intense social pressures artists face.

In an unrelated case, K-pop star Kang Daniel’s management agency Konnect Entertainment said the former member of the hit boy band Wanna One had decided to take a break from his performing schedules due to “depression and panic attacks.”

Source: South Korean actor found dead in latest K-pop tragedy – Reuters

The Capitals Special: Europe’s 5G dilemma | EURACTIV.com


EU ministers adopted conclusions on Tuesday concerning the importance and security of 5G technology, which stress that an approach to 5G cybersecurity should be comprehensive and risk-based, while also taking into account ‘non-technical factors’.

What we found proved to be unambiguous: Europe’s future in 5G is completely dependent on wider geopolitical relations, namely with the US and, unsurprisingly, China. When Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen refers to hers as a ‘geopolitical’ Commission, she is not wrong.

More generally, the Commission’s October report on the coordinated risk assessment of 5G networks noted that “threats posed by states or state-backed actors are perceived to be of highest relevance,” and member states have now been tasked with working on a set of risk alleviating measures to mitigate the cybersecurity risks outlined in the report.

Source: The Capitals Special: Europe’s 5G dilemma – EURACTIV.com

Why learning a new language is like an illicit love affair | Aeon Ideas


Those are the languages that will consume you – all of you – as you do everything to make them yours.

You dissect syntax structures. You recite conjugations. You fill notebooks with rivers of new letters. You run your pen over their curves and cusps again and again, like you would trace your fingers over a lover’s face. The words bloom on paper. The phonemes interlace into melodies. The sentences taste fragrant, even as they tumble awkwardly from your mouth like bricks built of foreign symbols. You memorise prose and lyrics and newspaper headlines, just to have them at your lips after the sun dips and when it dawns again.

Verbs after adverbs, nouns after pronouns, your relations deepen. Yet, the closer you get, the more aware you become of the mirage-like void between you. It’s vast, this void of knowledge, and you need a lifetime to traverse it. But you have no fear, since the path to your beloved gleams with curiosity and wonder that is almost urgent.

What truths will you uncover amid the new letters and the new sounds? About the world? About yourself?

Source: Why learning a new language is like an illicit love affair | Aeon Ideas

Pluck and hard work, or luck of birth? Two stories, one man | Aeon Essays


Occupants of the American meritocracy are accustomed to telling stirring stories about their lives. The standard one is a comforting tale about grit in the face of adversity – overcoming obstacles, honing skills, working hard – which then inevitably affords entry to the Promised Land.

But you can also tell a different story, which is more about luck than pluck, and whose driving forces are less your own skill and motivation, and more the happy circumstances you emerged from and the accommodating structure you traversed.

Source: Pluck and hard work, or luck of birth? Two stories, one man | Aeon Essays