#GOINGTOIEU

08/07/2024

IE University’s Junior Advisory Board program challenges high school students to shape the future through interdisciplinary thinking. This annual program invites teenagers from around the world to engage in academic and multicultural discourse. Each year features a different theme aimed at fostering innovation, critical thinking and new perspectives on current issues. 

Humanities, technologies and temporalities

This year’s edition saw 15 gifted students gather at IE University for the intellectual journey of a lifetime. The theme, “Humanities, technologies and temporalities,” emphasized how an interdisciplinary education can shape the future of mankind.

Part of this entailed an extensive study into the Silicon Valley ethos, “move fast and break things.” Participants critically examined this approach, including the associated controversies around planned obsolescence, e-waste and corporate greed. Through the lens of the humanities, participants questioned what values should guide development in our rapidly changing society. 

“Humanities are key for people to understand and to build the future. We need to focus on the relationship between the humanities, technology and other fields in order to build the future that we want.”

-Daniel Valtuena, Adjunct Professor, IE School of Humanities 

Navigating our future with the humanities

A central concept of the Junior Advisory Board 2024 was its emphasis on how the humanities as a subject can positively shape the future. This discipline holds the key to developing a healthy and productive approach to technology as our society moves forward. IE University Professor Daniel Valtuena explains, “We need to focus on the relationship between the humanities, technology and other fields in order to build the future that we want.”

Group of syudents presenting to jurors and rest of the class

To explore the interconnection of technology and the humanities, students engaged in an immersive case study around virtual reality. The hands-on approach allowed for a deep dive into ethical dilemmas in technological innovation. 

Throughout the event, cohort members engaged in activities ranging from workshops and conferences to interactive sessions and team-building projects. These experiences not only challenged students intellectually but also promoted cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.

“Humanities should be learned because they not only provide tools for our daily lives but also help us learn and to practice critical thinking. This is important because the only way to preserve and protect our future is through the knowledge of our past.”

-Olivia Reyes, Professor and Researcher, IE University Archaeology Unit

Fostering critical thinking and global citizenship

Another recurring theme throughout the Junior Advisory Board 2024 was the importance of critical thinking skills. A strong background in the humanities can help students develop increased empathy and the ability to analyze situations from multiple angles. That’s why IE University considers the humanities to be one of its core values.

The international dynamics of the group also had a great impact on the participants. Students from countries including China, Mongolia, India and the United States came together to share their unique perspectives. As participant Yana Teckchandaney says, “I realized that I was in this tiny little world back in Mumbai—I came here and saw there is an entire universe that I have never been exposed to.”

“I realized that I was in this tiny little world back in Mumbai—I came here and saw there is an entire universe that I have never been exposed to.”

-Yana Teckchandaney, participant from India

Shaping tomorrow’s global leaders

JAB students presenting certificates

The Junior Advisory Board event is a powerful demonstration of the power of a humanities education. By highlighting global perspectives and critical thinking, this pre-college program prepares participants to become thoughtful and innovative leaders. 

Participants left the program with new knowledge and insights into new technologies. At the same time, they developed a profound appreciation for the role of the humanities in addressing global challenges. “The only way to preserve and protect our future is through the knowledge of our past,” comments Olivia Reyes, Professor at IE School of Humanities. 

As more future technology advancements await us, programs like this one show us the importance of being methodical. That’s to say, while we may need to move fast, we must also move wisely. All of this becomes more possible if we value the timeless insights of the humanities. 

Experience the Journey: Watch the Full Video

Witness firsthand how high school students from around the globe tackled critical issues at the intersection of humanities and technology. Click below to watch the full video and see how future global leaders are shaping tomorrow with interdisciplinary thinking and innovative insights!