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Event Highlights – New Philanthropy: “Disruption” and the Implications for Education Development

As part of the Philanthropy in Education (PiE) series of symposia, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and NORRAG in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research and the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS), organized two related events in the US, San Francisco Bay area, in April 2019. The first was a set of two panels at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual conference on April 16, and the second a symposium on April 19th at Stanford PACS in Palo Alto, CA. Some 100 scholars and practitioners participated in a series of conversations based on research, analysis and case studies around the influence of contemporary Silicon Valley philanthropists’ aims and practices. Presenters sought to draw out the implications of emerging trends for education and development globally.

Key takeaways from the discussions included questions about the often-critical analyses of “new” philanthropy and its perceived structural impact. Several interventions pointed out that old philanthropy and new philanthropy might have more in common that contemporary analysis tends to highlight. On another note, whereas simple volume philanthropy is dwarfed by public spending and development assistance, assessments differ as to its impact on institutional change and innovation. Most presenters emphasized diversity of motivations and styles of philanthropy (including the new philanthropy), the desire for stronger networking between scholars and practitioners, a need to learn more about sustainability of giving programmes, more bottom-up needs identification, and of course, practitioner-scholar collaboration concerning programming, research and standards.

The outcomes of the panels and symposium will be a publication in a special issue series that will include presentations and additional short papers on the topic of technology, philanthropy and education. All participants will have the option to contribute to the special issues and a broader call for papers will be issued in June 2019. Through the international research symposium and special issues publication, the organizing partners expect to foster the dialogue and enhance research on philanthropy and education.

See the programmes of the PiE event at Stanford PACS and CIES 2019.


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