ISLAMABAD: Set against the picturesque Margalla Hills, A World of Tomorrow kicked off at the Pak-China Friendship Centre on March 11, 2017.The two-day event organised by Beaconhouse is part of School of Tomorrow Events and aims to understand how external forces, such as geopolitics, technologies, art and culture and the environment are shaping society and to pose new directions for the future of education.At the inaugural ceremony, Chief Guest, Advisor to Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz commended Beaconhouse’s efforts, stating, “the greater the uncertainty, greater the need to prepare for it.” A panel discussion on setting directions for the event was moderated by CE Beaconhouse School System KasimKasuri. Panellists including Pervez Hoodbhoy, KamilaShamsie, JehanAra, Lesley Hazleton and Lawrence Burke, explored a vision of the future through the inter-relationship of five dimensions: digital, balanced, safer, inclusive and expressive future.A heated debate was held on ‘Smart Technology is making us Un-smart’; Executive Director Beaconhouse North Nassir Kasuri strongly supported technology declaring, ‘technology allows you to democratise the expression of ideas and challenges the monopolised narrative and hidden agenda of news agencies.’ Deepak Perwani, renowned fashion designer, refuted the argument stating, ‘technology results in taking over our lives.’In a session on grades and learning, Programme Manager Habib University Karachi FramjiMinwalla expressed scepticism about the grading system but gave government educationists an ‘F’. The Gymboree Talks session on good parenting discussed pressures faced by parents. Dr Ambreen Ahmed’s advice was, ‘The biggest gift parents can give is roots to stand firm and wings to fly’.The panellists in a session on nationalism and identity highlighted the difference between nationalism and patriotism. Panellists appealed to policy makers to change the school curriculum and teach students tolerance. Narrow and limited definitions taught at all levels should be broadened and redefined to let our youth become tolerant and start thinking for themselves.‘We, as adults, need to set good examples as role models for today’s child’, urged Ms Valerie Khan, ‘Children reciprocate what they see.’ This was part of a crucial session entitled ‘What Your Child is Not Telling You.’ A discussion on drug abuse highlighted the difference between legal and illegal drugs and circumstances that lead to drug abuse. Limited recreational activities and threats of terrorism were considered the main cause of drug abuse. With 40 sessions and more than 140 speakers from Pakistan and around the world, the event will continue on Sunday, March 12 and feature more exciting discussions, celebrity conversations, debates, workshops, an interactive science and art exhibition, comedy, puppetry and a musical concert by rock star Ali Azmat.‘The truth is, the future is already here and is happening right now,’ stated MD CareemJunaidIqbal, summing up the event.