WAY – Wisdom Accelerator for Youth

Many thanks to all those who positively contributed to the second edition of Wisdom Accelerator for Youth (WAY) Davos. For further details please contact marcelo@wisdomaccelerator.org

We often speak about empowering our children to better prepare them for the future – the WAY concept postulates that “accelerating wisdom” is one of the most powerful means to achieve that highly laudable goal regardless of their cultural, economic and spiritual backgrounds.

Wisdom means different things to different people, but it is universally admired and can be significantly accelerated via generous sharing of knowledge amongst their own peer group, reinforced by listening to relevant stories told by recognized leaders on a specific topic of interests for their age bracket.

The WAY program focuses on convening a small classroom sized group (max 20) of highly motivated teenagers from around the globe during the Davos WEF week so that they can have fun together to bond as a community, learn from world leaders in fields that they find relevant and produce valuable materials to share with as many teenagers around the world as possible.

After a very successful inaugural edition in 2019, we organized the second WAY event in Davos during the last World Economic Forum week (18-25/01/20). Participants stayed in a mountain lodge less than ten minutes away by gondola from the main train station, explored the Davos surroundings during the week and had a series of meaningful conversations around the main topics being proposed.

WAY Davos Location

Learning and Doing should be Fun too 

FUN: Bonding with similarly motivated and highly engaged global teens for a whole week in a relaxed Winter Camp environment, doing lots of cool activities hard to experience elsewhere, such as learning about avalanche rescue, how to build an igloo, snowshoe treks, etc.

LEARN: Having fun with new friends establishes a relaxed and open mindset, making the group far better prepared to listen to the experts invited as speakers and of course to one another. We invite thought leaders present in Davos to come up the mountain to give talks on their areas of specialization, as well as welcome many remote speakers via video conference calls.

DO: Once the group learns about many subjects highly relevant to their future, they have the opportunity to produce specific deliverables as well. Major topics are proposed to become structured presentations defining specific action points which teenagers worldwide can strive to achieve.

The WAY to have FUN 

We recognize that enjoyment together is key to bonding our classes into strong communities, so every morning of the WAY program is packed full with great activities which are designed to be inclusive even to participants unfamiliar with the practice of harder to learn winter sports (skiing, snowboarding) – while giving all a chance to kickstart or improve those skills.

Depending on weather conditions, the group learns about building igloos, snowbank shelters, better understanding avalanches, going for snowshoe treks and practicing easier to learn winter sports such as “forest skating” and cross-country skiing.

WAY days so far were almost always sunny, but in case poor weather occurs participants can remain mostly indoors visiting many attractions such as local museums and unique research institutions.

The WAY to LEARN 

With an open mind fostered by all the unique outdoors activities, participants are then well positioned to learn about topics relevant to their interests. Previous WAY topics included: 

  • Future of Work – including Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blockchain and more
  • Cyberbullying and Digital Privacy
  • Fake News and Fact Checking
  • Ecological Challenges – including Plastic Pollution and Climate Change topics

Thought leaders present in Davos for the WEF are invited up to the mountain lodge to chat with the group and those based elsewhere are asked to join via video chats.

All participants have the opportunity to share their own “superpower skills” with the whole group as well… after all the best form of learning is teaching.

blur book close up data

The WAY to DO 

It is equally important that participants feel ownership of those key issues and a clear urge to contribute towards their resolution.

Each of the themes will have as planned output a presentation consolidating consensus action points on how teenagers from around the world can also make a difference individually. WAY participants can volunteer to join any of the initiatives and we expect most of them to join this effort.

We plan to translate the final four presentation from English to eight of the most commonly languages in the world spoken as a native tongue – therefore reaching more than half of the world’s population older than twelve years old (those more likely to be fully literate) with concise information that they can understand.

These presentations will then be distributed to global schools via key channels (UNICEF, UNESCO, relevant NGOs, etc).

Most common languages in the world by number of native speakers (totalling 3bn+):

1- Mandarin  950m
2- Spanish  400m
3- English  360m
4- Hindi  310m
5- Arabic  300m
6- Portuguese  215m
7- Bangla  205m
8- Russian  155m
9- Japanese  125m 

We wish to consolidate the freshest knowledge from the brightest minds seen through the eyes of teenagers and presented in a language that as many people as possible can easily comprehend.

Participant Selection Criteria for Pilot

The WAY concept is designed to be as inclusive as possible and the main selection criteria is therefore the level of intrinsic motivation that candidates have to make the world a better place in any way they feel they can contribute. During the first edition in Jan’19 we had a gender balanced group of 15 participants representing 12 countries and five continents.

WAY Participant Profiles

As one would expect, the standards for acceptance to WAY Davos are the highest as it is the flagship event of the year. For reference, below are brief descriptions of three of the candidates previously awarded scholarships for our Davos event:

  • 17 years old owner of an App Development company from Israel who started his career age 10 and was awarded a nomination as “Forbes 30 under 30” age 14
  • 13 years old maths wiz and book author from Singapore who’s the second youngest person in the world to pass the Cambridge Maths GCSE exam age 9 (most students pass this test ages 17-18). He wrote a Science Fiction book age 11 and is considering publishing it.
  • 17 years old Event Management CEO from the UK who’s been responsible for organizing several large Teenage Entrepreneurship conferences around the world. He was recently admitted to King’s College London, a very prestigious higher education institution

WAY Guest Lecturers

The standard of lecturers is also very high as they are a self-selected group of high achievers from all fields who elect to go to Davos to meet their global peers and to discuss how to solve the world’s greatest challenges together or have similar levels of accomplishment to be invited to join us via video conference (book authors, scientific expedition leaders, etc). A few highlights out of the total of more than 50 guest speakers so far were:

  • Brian Behlendorf, the former World Economic Forum CTO and founder of the Apache Web Server foundation, describing his achievements developing the first large scale open source web server… and apologizing for having also invented online ads and cookies
  • Paul Bragiel, early investor in Uber and incredible story teller sharing how he went from couch potato to Colombian Cross Country Skiing Champion while attempting to represent the country at the Winter Olympic Games
  • Daphne Liu described of Explorer’s Club (explorers.org) trip to the North Pole with a group of children, the youngest of whom was 2.5 years old and is the current Guinness record holder in that category

The class size for the Davos edition is limited to a maximum of 20 individually referred teenagers between 13-17 years old. Exceptions aside, WAY pilot participants will be requested to attend with the presence of a grown up formally responsible for them – these could be either members of their family (parents, siblings, others) or friends authorized to care for their wellbeing.

We have limited dormitory accommodation in gender separated rooms for the grown ups accompanying WAY participants. Alternatively, it is also possible to find lodging in Davos or nearby Klosters, but due to the WEF Annual Meeting taking place that week it is likely to be very challenging to find affordable options. A very attractive nearby location for families and friends of WAY participants is St. Moritz, 1.5 hours away from Davos by train.

The Jschalp Mountain Lodge is a five minutes gondola ride from the Jakobshorn valley station next to the main Davos Platz train terminal. Service runs from 08:15 (first ascent) to 16:45 (last descent). Participants spend the night up in the lodge in dorms separated by gender and age group. Stakeholders older than 18 (monitors, volunteers) have their own gender divided dorm rooms. Breakfasts and dinners are served at the Jschalp restaurant, lunch and snacks/refreshments depend on sites of specific activities.

Below is a sample activity grid:

Alternative plans for inclement weather

Vaillant Ice Skating Arena (Tour + Training)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaillant_Arena

Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche

www.slf.ch/en.html

Winter Sports Museum

www.wintersportmuseum.ch

Medicine Museum 

www.medizinmuseum-davos.ch

Davos Traditional Museum

www.heimatmuseum-davos.ch 

Train trip to St. Moritz (3hrs roundtrip)

www.stmoritz.com/en

Curling, Davos Hospital visit, Meditating, etc 

The WAY Production Team

“Wisdom Accelerator for Youth” (WAY) was conceived by Marcelo Garcia (founder of BroadLights.org), based on his personal family experience and on professional community building skills acquired throughout his career.

Marcelo has been active in Davos during the WEF for almost a decade and other than WAY, he has been responsible for hosting several large scale events there in the last few years with hundreds of hours of programming in total.

He gave a TEDx talk on “Refugee Connectivity” and speaks frequently at major events hosted by private institutions and by International Organizations (UNHCR, WTO, etc).

The WAY program is hosted by a Swiss non-profit organization and supported via several partnerships.

Global WAY Program Locations

Wisdom Accelerator for Youth is designed as a global program to provide a strong platform to teenager participants from different regions of the world. Major gatherings are proposed to take place roughly every four months in Davos, New York and Singapore.

  • WAY Davos is always held during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting week, the next one taking place in late January 2021
  • WAY New York and WAY Singapore are currently being planned

Participation Terms and Conditions

The WAY program is not formally affiliated with the WEF, concurrent timing and location aims at maximizing the availability of top speakers willing to join the conversation with WAY participants.

Participation in the WAY programme is subject to a set of expectations worth clarifying, please contact us to receive the full Terms and Conditions. Suitable winter clothes are required, including (moon) boots and sunglasses.

For more details please contact:

marcelo@wisdomaccelerator.org

www.linkedin.com/in/marcelogarcia

General online references

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers

www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/restaurant-jschalp.html; jschalp.com

www.davos.ch/en/winter/mountains/jakobshorn

WAY related activities during the week

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/ski-snowboard

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/ice-sports

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/cross-country-skiing

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/tobogganing

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/winter-walks

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/snowshoeing

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/winter-sports-at-night

www.skateline.ch

www.schatzalp.ch

Optional activities possible before or after WAY

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/ice-climbing

www.davos.ch/en/winter/activities/fatbike

www.davos.ch/en/summer/activities/further-activities/paraglider-or-hang-glider

antique art bookcase books

This event is not associated with the World Economic Forum or any of its affiliates and is independently organized by a third party at a private location in a Davos hotel

© 2017-20 Marcelo Garcia – All Rights Reserved