Past Program

Dec 06 - Dec 11, 2011

Optimizing Talent: Closing Educational and Social Mobility Gaps Worldwide


While education is essential for an individual to realize his or her true potential, ideally an equitable and effective education system also facilitates social mobility and leads to the development and increased prosperity of societies as a whole. Great strides have been made in providing enhanced access for children and young adults to education worldwide, but substantial gaps remain. The Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS) and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) are convening a seminar series to identify where these educational and social mobility gaps still exist, what effect they have, why they persist -- or increase sometimes, even in societies where the economy is growing - and what can be done to eliminate them. Arising from a planning meeting in 2010, this 2011 session will focus on education up to age 18, to be followed in 2012 by a session which will address the same key` issues in connection with post-secondary education and the transition to the workplace and lifelong learning.


Each of the seminar sessions will contribute to a Salzburg Strategy outlining the policy framework needed to address educational attainment gaps and social mobility while we establish a global advocacy group and forum "Optimizing Talent Worldwide". In addition, a series of papers, commissioned specially for the sessions, will be published as collections, in the light of our discussions at Salzburg.

As part of the development of the Salzburg Strategy, this year's session will bring together sixty established and emerging leaders in the field, educational researchers, policy makers, practitioners and advocates from around the world. It will highlight education up to age 18 by examining three areas of global significance educationally. Through the exchange of case studies showing best practice and innovation, each will address the needs of under-served populations in diverse regions of the world, North and South:

a. Education: establishing consensus on the principles of basic education needed to ensure social mobility.


b. Finance: understanding the cost and creating strategies for leveraging the investment necessary for relevant and high quality basic education, i.e., who should, and how should, we pay for it


c. Policy: producing policy strategies and processes for advancing educational achievement, quality, access and attainment, especially for the most disadvantaged populations, i.e., what policies will sustain social mobility


d. Transitions: we will examine the sequence of access, quality, and completion issues from the pre-school and early childhood level, through primary and secondary education, and beyond to the post-secondary level, including vocational education, community colleges and universities.

Other specific issues to be tackled under our main headings include: teacher training, gender-related discrimination, talent identification, and the need for effective harmonization of educational and labor market policies.

Participants will seek to identify where interventions are most needed and have the most potential for success in helping disadvantaged populations, not only to gain access to quality education, but also to complete their education.

ETS Policy Notes - 'Optimizing Talent: Closing Educational and Social Mobility Gaps Worldwide', derived from 2010 preparatory meeting at Salzburg Global Seminar:

Click here to read the Report




Session participants, along with fellows of previous SGS sessions, and other interested individuals, will be following and reporting out on the conference using social media.
Please use the Twitter hashtag #SGSEDU and join the discussion!

Information regarding how to participate using Twitter.


Mariana Aylwin
Executive Director, Corporación Educacional Aprender, former Minister of Education, Santiago, Chile
Costel Bercus
Chair, Roma Education Fund, Budapest
Veronica Boix Mansilla
Principal Investigator and Lecturer in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, USA
Teresa Bracho
Profesora Investigadora, Flacso, Sede México, Mexico City
Nicholas Burnett
Principal and Managing Director, Results for Development Institute, Washington, DC
Cristián Cox
Professor of Curriculum Policies in the Faculty of Education, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago
Birger Fredriksen
former Director for Human Development for Africa, The World Bank
Molly Hunter
Director, Education Justice, Education Law Center, Newark, NJ
Mee Foong Lee
Executive Secretary, European Access Network, London
Maureen McLaughlin
Director, International Affairs Office, US Department of Education, Washington, DC
Catherine Millett
Senior Research Scientist, ETS Policy Evaluation & Research Center, United States
Junko Miyahara
Coordinator, Asia-Pacific Regional Network for early Childhood (ARNEC), Singapore
Betty Mould-Iddrisu
Minister of Education, Ministry of Education of the Republic of Ghana, Accra
Jozef Ritzen
Professorial Fellow, International Economics of Science, Technology and Higher Education at UNU-MERIT and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Yusuf Sayed
Reader in International Education, School of Ecucation and Social Work, e Universtity of Sussex, Brighton
Rong Wang
Director and Professor, China Institute for Educational Finance Research, Peking University
Dylan Wiliam
Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment, Institute of Education, University of London
Marian Wright Edelman
Founder & President, Children's Defense Fund, Washington, DC