Kate Lewis, Teacher of High School Geography, Environmental Systems and Societies and Theory of Knowledge, Dover Campus
“Geography is the only subject that not only gives you a problem to get you to think of a solution, it also gets you to understand the causes of the problem too.” Dr. George Adamson, King’s College London (7 October 2016)
A common question geographers hear is “What careers can a geographer pursue?”, with the growth of global interactions and the unique ability of the geographer to span both the humanities and sciences, there are a great many and increasing number of opportunities. Employers value the multidisciplinary approach of the geographer and their extensive skills set. In the 2016 /17 academic year UWCSEA Dover was delighted to welcome three distinguished speakers each of whom was able to inspire students to look at causes, problems, solutions and open their eyes to future career possibilities.
The first speaker, Dr. George Adamson, King’s College London discussed 'The Many Dimensions of Geography' with a particular focus on 'Climate Change: Past Present and Future'. One theme running through the presentation was “With Geography you get so much more than by looking at the climate change issue from a science perspective”. Dr. Adamson raised some big questions related to climate change, such as, how do we get the CO2 out of the atmosphere? Before highlighting the strengths of geographers, with their unique ability to look at issues from lots of different perspectives, being crucial in the search for solutions. In the latter part of his talk Dr. Adamson focused on the style of learning at University level being a predominantly research led approach resulting in the students gaining career focused transferable skills. At King’s College, and the UK as a whole, geographers remain in the top most employed graduates category due to their extensive skills set. Dr Adamson stated “Employers recognise that geographers have a great diversity of skills which make them highly desired.”
The second speaker, Parag Khanna, a leading geo-strategist, author and Director of the Hybrid Reality Institute, as well as Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS, Senior Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, spoke to students, staff and parents about 'The Hybrid Age' whereby people are entering a bold new pattern of relations with technology. He posed questions to get geographers thinking “How will our lives change as technological innovations accelerate, and we even merge with technology in many new ways?” Before looking at technological breakthroughs, emphasizing their geographic impact on societies and the competition among nations. With engaging case studies, such as Singapore as a new breed of "Info-State" that governs as much through data as democracy. Parag Khanna’s talk helped students appreciate a new set of educational and career choices lay before them.
The third speaker, Professor Jason Pomeroy, an award-winning architect and TV personality at the forefront of the sustainable build environment agenda shared his insights on what it means to be a Smart City directly relating to the (I)GCSE and IB syllabus UWCSEA students study. Rather than taking a stereotypical approach to technological innovations in Smart Cities, Professor Pomeroy highlighted the important roles of governance, culture and community engagement in enabling smart practices to take place. He expanded further that the needs of city dwellers around the world vary, so too do definitions of what makes a Smart City. In the lecture, Professor Pomeroy focused on eight different case studies from his TV series, Smart Cities 2.0 to investigate their unique characteristics, and ultimately ask whether such environments really enhance our daily lives. Students, staff and guests were invited to watch the first episode in the new series, published by Channel NewsAsia, in which Jason, as host, visits Higashimatsushima to learn about energy-resilience and Japan’s version of a smart city post 3/11.
The three speakers left our geographers in little doubt that their potential role in future development could be significant and their skills set means a plethora of interesting career options await them. It’s a great time to be a geographer.