Stephen Lewis is a widely respected former politician and an advocate in the fight for equality, climate change action, and universal education. In his lecture titled “Education: The World’s Greatest Force for Good”, he highlighted the many ways in which education is the most underestimated instrument for social transformation.
“How does one build an international community that has respect and regard for each other and understands the priorities of the human condition and deals with issues in a way which is informed and knowledgeable and effective - how do you do that without education?” he noted on November 18 at the Trent University Athletics Centre.
He emphasized that education is the solution to many of the world’s crises– education breaks the cycle of violence and conflict; it is a pathway to the prevention of HIV; it is the guide to a superior understanding of the human condition by eradicating ignorance and discrimination and working towards reconciliation; it is the force that has enlightened the world to the ramifications of climate change and our responsibility to act.
“Education is so often the answer to the restoration of human civility,’ Stephen expressed.
Among those that attended the lecture, was Environmental Studies student Ankit Tripathi who expressed, "As someone in their higher education, not only did Stephen Lewis showcase how valuable education is for the human civilization, but also reminded everyone that educated folks, have a responsibility to empower others through education! I, just as everyone else, have a vested responsibility to make the changes I want to see in the world and continue empowering everyone.”
Trent alumni Jessica Evans noted “As an international development studies graduate, it was moving to see the prominent human rights advocate in his eighties critical of the current global climate but hopeful that we have the agency to move toward a more optimistic future if we just work together at a human level, starting with education. Stephen is not daunted by the challenging conversations necessary to stimulate change.”
Before the lecture, Mr. Lewis took time to sit down with several student leaders at Trent University. They discussed WUSC, the Student Refugee Program at Trent, and what it means to be a student during the global climate crisis.
Stephen Lewis kicked off International Education Week at Trent University, which is a celebration of international educational efforts, global engagement, international knowledge, and diversity.