Raising the talents of tomorrow

The spirit of innovation springs out from the courage to experiment and to think critically.

Wojciech Przybylski
11 June 2015

This is the editorial from the new issue of Visegrad Insight: Raising innovators. Get your copy here.


For generations, countries of Central Europe have invested in a great change of education – from primary schools to universities, doors and minds have been opened to free thinking and a truly liberal education. It’s time to ask how to raise the talents of tomorrow to at least sustain the long lasting effects of that strategic reform.

In the last issue of the Visegrad Insight we announced the New Europe 100 project, a list of challengers – one hundred people from the broadly understood region of Eastern Europe who are the drivers of the world’s innovation. From science to business, from civic activism to politics and administration we are proud to identify and then meet in person many of those talents. No doubt, that the project was a great success, much owed to the individual and collective sum of achievements we identified – after last year’s edition we were more than encouraged to repeat it every year.

Hence, together with the team of Res Publica, Visegrad Insight’s publisher, we had a long session of critical thinking. Indeed, the New Europe has been transformed by an unprecedented progress brought about by cooperation of such innovative challengers as that one hundred and several more that we hope to identify and announce in the years to come. But the obvious question is: for how many more years will we be able to make such lists? What will help the number of nominees grow and what will narrow it down to the non-exceptional margin of society? And the obvious factor turns out to be education.

We decided to focus on education in this issue, acknowledging it to be the most strategic policy area in respect to innovation. How to ensure that our schooling system will inspire open minded, innovative and courageous citizens? As we cannot know ourselves what the next 25 years will bring, we cannot program some definite tracks to follow. Yet, we must make a decision in respect to both potential economic demand and outputs as well as the ambition to be among the leaders of the free, democratic world.

This discussion is not new. To the contrary, regardless of political circumstances, history has recoded countless political debates like this – from classical Plato’s academia and Rousseau’s ‘Emil’ to the recent clash between Obama’s call for technical education for utilitarian ends and Fareed Zakaira who responded with a romantic praise of liberal education. The Central European debate is just as timely. We dream of pursuing the societal and economic progress further. We write on the best ideas to make it happen.

Read more about the challengers at ne100.org

Wojciech Przybylski is the editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight, Res Publica Nowa and Eurozine.