Driven by Curiosity
By Tamela Noboa, Discovery Communications
Education is the key to success – no matter where we come from or where we are headed. Many of us take it for granted. Yet more than 57 million children around the world have no access to education – no clear path to knowledge, better health or economic opportunity.
However, children everywhere are curious. 100% of them – as a mother of two young girls, I can attest to this. If we give all children the opportunity to investigate, to discover, to learn and to create, those in need have the potential to find a way out of poverty…in fact, they have the potential to change the world.
In A Curious Discovery: An Entrepreneur’s Story, John Hendricks, Founder and Chairman of Discovery Communications, shares his story of triumphs and failures in establishing the world’s largest provider of television content. He explains how it all began with curiosity – a driving force in his life, and in the world. It is a sense of wonder, wanting to understand, and driving us to solve problems. It is a trait that unites humanity. And as a student and teacher at heart, John is still on that journey to satisfy people’s curiosity – no matter where they live – and to improve education around the world.
In the book he relays:
“On September 26, 2012, I was in attendance at the United Nations headquarters building in New York when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced the [Global] Education First [Initiative], a worldwide initiative to get every child educated. The Secretary-General appointed Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as his Special Envoy for Global Education. Prior to the UN event, Gordon Brown had phoned me to invite me to join with other corporate leaders on the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education).”
Chaired by Sarah Brown, a passionate advocate for women’s health and global education issues around the world, and wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, GBC-Education brings together corporate leaders committed to delivering on the promise of quality education for all of the world’s children.
John goes on, “Will all of this happen tomorrow? Hardly. But I learned long ago that the path from daydream to reality can be long and twisty, and filled with roadblocks. But if you refuse to give up; if you are both patient and ready to strike when the moment is right; and if you work smart, daydreams can become more real than you ever imagined. And it helps to have partners in the mission.”
I have had the great pleasure of working with John on several initiatives, like GBC-Education and the Global Education First Initiative, that are near and dear to both our hearts. My journey with Discovery began in 1999, when I learned that Discovery Communications had recently established an independent non-profit organization – Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership (DCGEP) – to bring together public and private sector partners in a global effort to use the power of media to transform education and improve lives in under-served areas of the world. I had just returned from Africa, with a dream to use television and media to advance education, health and other international development goals. I was soon hired to help develop Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership, which now reaches over 3 million people in 16 countries. As John reminds us in his book, daydreams can become realities when we believe strongly enough to persevere.
In his book John shares his optimism about the role of technology in satisfying the curiosity of all children, everywhere. After all, “these are the astronomers, geologists, scientists of the future.” He shares his vision for expanding on the success of Discovery Education and DCGEP so that all children have the chance at a better life, one that begins with education. The impact of putting appropriate technology and educational media in the hands of trained teachers and students is profound. Evaluations have already demonstrated that. And partners like Chevron, Coca-Cola, Shell, and USAID are working with us to create these new opportunities for students in the developing world. Who else will partner with us to take these initiatives to scale and make them available to every child?
Tamela Noboa has been with Discovery Communications for 15 years. She is Vice President, Strategic Partnerships in the Office of the Founder and Chairman, and Managing Director of Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership.
For more information on “A Curious Discovery,” please visit ACuriousDiscovery.com.
For more information on Discovery’s work in the developing world through DCGEP, please visit www.thepowerofTV.org.
Consistent with his mission driven work, John is donating proceeds from his book to the following non-profit organizations: Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership, Lowell Observatory, the National Forest Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy.