Marián Zachar is the Co-founder and Executive Director of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Slovakia.
He was selected to the Aspen Young Leaders Program of the Aspen Institute Central Europe and to the Map of Social Innovators, who work for positive change in Slovakia – a project created by the Ashoka and Pontis Foundation in Slovakia.
Below are his thoughts on what he thinks it means to be World Ready.
“The world of tomorrow will look unrecognisable from the world of today. Mass automation, wide-spread integration of AI or virtual reality will shape our world. The Slovakia of today will need to decide whether we want to have cheap and replaceable workers that will attract car makers and shared services centres of global corporations or do we want to prepare for the world of tomorrow when, for example, empathy will be more valuable than welding or the ability to create contingency tables in Excel.
The Award prepares young people for the world of tomorrow because it builds the character strengths such as inner motivation, purposefulness, and grit, instead of just traditional and replaceable hard skills.
“The Award indeed prepares young people for this world of tomorrow because it builds the character strengths, such as inner motivation, purposefulness, and grit, instead of just traditional and replaceable hard skills. The Award helps young people discover what they want to do with their lives and how to achieve that. And on the road, they will understand that it will require a huge amount of will and hard work to achieve their goals. The Award can play a crucial role that Slovakia needs for transitioning from the automotive “Detroit style” economy to the innovative economy built around people with those character strengths that can’t be replicated by machines that easily.
“There are many reasons why these three character strengths are important for individuals and for Slovakia, but I will just mention two of them. Firstly, research from Angela Duckworth proves that inner motivation with perseverance (called grit) is much more important for individual success than high IQ or coding skill. Secondly, these strengths are globally transferable to any profession, region or time even if one wishes to become a teacher, manager or a waiter.
“I hope for the future, that with hundreds of teachers and volunteers serving their students as Award Leaders, we will enable young people across Slovakia and the world to develop the character strengths that will enable them to become ready for the world.”