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Raya  Bidshahri

Raya Bidshahri is a serial entrepreneur, author, futurist, educator and keynote speaker. As the Founder and CEO of Awecademy, Raya is one of the world’s leading experts in alternative models in education, the future of work and exponential innovation. She has been featured by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential and inspirational woman globally and is a member of the Bett Global Education Council. She has been described as a techno optimist, a communicator of popular science, and an advocate of curiosity, critical thinking, wonder, and awe. 

Book Raya  Bidshahri

Raya is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Awecademy, an award-winning organization that offers future-focussed and wisdom-based education. She is a founding member at SciFest Dubai, a city-wide science festival which serves to celebrate science through the arts. Raya is also the Co-founder of Intelligent Optimism, a global movement with 500.000+ followers that aims to inspire a better future for humanity through evidence and rationality. Finally, she is the co-founder of Cafe Scientifique, a social meetup group to talk about science, technology, innovation and the future. 

Raya has been keynoting at conferences for the last 9 years - since she was 16 - and brings a much-needed youth perspective to discussions about the future of our species.  Raya speaks about the implications of exponential technologies on the future of work, education and humanity at large. She infuses into her talks a sense of cosmic perspectives, moonshot thinking, existential awareness and intelligent optimism. also, Raya is notable for her ability to take audiences through an inspiring vision for a radical model of education that can contribute to positive civilization-level change. 

She has keynoted at numerous global conferences in cities and countries around the world,  at multiple venues including the G20 Summit, Global Education & Skills Forum, UNESCO Expo-Sciences, EduTech MENA, PATA annual summit at much more. She has been featured on CNN, BBC, SF Chronicle and in numerous other international magazines and newspapers. She is also a regular guest speaker on national radio shows and podcasts. Raya has organized and spoken at several TEDx events.

A voracious reader and writer, Raya writes about the societal and existential implications of accelerating technology on our species. She is a contributing journalist to the Singularity Hub, where her articles have been read by millions worldwide. Raya studied Neuroscience at Boston University where she was involved with multiple Neuroscience & Bioethics research projects.



Topics

Education in the Day After Tomorrow

In a world of accelerating change due to exponential technologies, the global education system is ripe for disruption. What does the world “school” mean in a world where the only constant is change? How often do we learn something that leaves us awestruck? 

During these talks, Raya Bidshahri outlines how and why we urgently need to overhaul our educational policies, curriculum, pedagogy, mindsets and school models for the Exponential Age. She takes audiences through a vision of the school of the future: no classes, no exams, no school buildings, but a model that is based on personalized learning, interdisciplinary curriculums, purpose-driven accomplishments and project-based training. The talks also explore examples of such “schools of the future”, including the Awecademy Learning Hub. 

Also, Raya illustrates that awe-based and intrinsically motivated teaching and training have the power to inspire positive change in schools, organizations and the world at large. Together with her audience, she explores how we can infuse more excitement, inspiration and immersive experiences into learning experiences --- be it in high schools or in corporate environments.

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Mindsets for Exponential Innovation

Often, radical innovation stems from mindsets, more than it does from technical skills. Also, we tend to get so preoccupied with our issues here on earth that we forget that we are part of a grand cosmic arena. What if we start by zooming out of our planet and observe our actions and values through a transcendent lens? 

Raya gives audiences a wider outlook and explores the power of existential awareness in kickstarting innovation and human progress. These talks involve a deep-dive into mindsets that catalyze innovation --- including exponential thinking, abundance mindset, intelligent optimism, cosmic perspectives and critical thinking. 

what’s more, in a world of digital disruption, many young minds are lost, pessimistic or confused about their future. Via a Youth Talk, Raya can guide young audiences through a series of strategies that empower them to create a desirable future for themselves, and for humanity at large. This talk explores strategies for finding purpose, building tribes and tackling humanity’s grand challenges to get ready for the Day After Tomorrow.

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COVID-19: Opportunities for Alternative Models of Education

The focus of this talk is to summarize the radical changes in education over the last 6 months and examine the opportunities that COVID-19 has exposed, with the use of case studies

There is a recap of what has and hasn't worked with distance learning approaches around the world, and the lessons learned. It explores the need for radical imagination, to design and execute alternative models of education. 

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