GEMS Head of School Message

The Digital New Silk Road

This article is a continuation of the theme from my last blog post.

That is, our school’s mission is to create an environment in which creative, entrepreneurial and innovative skills are the foundations of the taught curriculum.

This week I was fortunate to introduce the keynote speaker at a GEMS (Singapore) sponsored event which was hosted by the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.

The speaker, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, is the Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs. He has held many roles in a political career spanning 16 years. To view his bio click here.

One particular phrase which he used caught my attention and that was in reference to the “digital new silk road”.

In May this year, The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was comprised of 29 foreign Heads of State, met in Beijing and discussed the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and the Digital New Silk Road.

This last road is also referred to as the “information silk road”. The concept is that innovations within Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) will lead to greater opportunities for commerce while also reducing the environmental impact of trade.

Smart technologies could reduce greenhouse emissions. We have heard of drones being trialed for delivery of goods to our homes, but can you imagine a world in which we use a 3D printer to “print” the materials at home and then self-assemble the product we wish to buy?

UPS has already begun its plans to house 3D printing facilities to replace some of its warehouse facilities around the world.

As I dug deeper I saw a direct correlation between the importance of what we are doing in our classrooms at GEMS (Singapore) and key initiatives such as the Digital New Silk Road.

The challenge relates to our school mission. Our children must be prepared to not only be adaptable to these new realities but we are responsible at GEMS to teach students the skills to be the innovative leaders as they run down these new roads of global engagement.


Richard Henry
, Head of School

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