Events & News


The Future of European Competitiveness and The Action Learning Dimension

Dr Yury Boshyk, Chairman of the Global Executive Learning Network

15 Nov 2010

Hotel Royal @ Queens, Level 3, Queens Room, 12 Queen Street, Singapore 188553

3.00 pm – 5.00pm


Dr Boshyk’s lecture was loosely woven around the theme of the “Action Learning” dimension of European business – in all senses of the word, not limited to the purely economic sphere. For him, “Action Learning” is “not a method, but a way of life”. In pursuing this broadly cultural line of enquiry, Dr Boshyk delved into a fascinating examination of the many facets of European integration and how Europe works.

His introductory points dwelled on the usually contentious topic of geopolitics; namely, a critical assessment of Sir Halford Mackinder’s Heartland Theory (“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island”). Dr Boshyk, citing Zbigniew Brzezinski, pointed out the importance of Eastern Europe – and the larger region including  countries like the Ukraine – to the European Union as a whole, not least as a market for Western Europe.

Along the way Dr Boshyk challenged some of the classic statements of naysayers on the future of Europe.  A case in point would be the oft-cited challenge of the aging demographics of Europe. Dr Boshyk saw it, conversely, as a driving force that which would challenge people to work more smartly and efficiently. An aging population is also a goldmine of experience and knowledge to be tapped onto. Taking an innovative turn, Dr Boshyk presented the idea of ‘knowledge centres’ around older people, who might be persuaded to take less salary for less work, and in return focus their efforts in sharing their wealth of knowledge with younger workers. He presented this too as an alternative to unsustainable pension systems.

In the same vein, Dr Boshyk stressed the importance of androgogy (adult education) alongside pedagogy (usually taken to mean general education, but actually meaning child education).  Inherent in this statement was the importance of continual learning beyond one’s formal schooling. The historical foundation of the master-apprentice relationship in Germany is one of the strengths underlying that country’s economic competitiveness.

Questions raised by the audience for discussions were similarly multi-faceted as the lecture was, and solicited responses from Dr Boshyk which were accompanied with numerous illustrative examples. Culture and the arts were cited as important factors for rejuvenating knowledge; the ethos of unhindered information-sharing by scientific laboratories such as the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University; Brussels’s position as ‘capital’ of the EU and the impartial referee for minority issues throughout Europe; and the crucial social and economic lessons learnt from the dark period of National Socialism in Germany, which have now made war largely unimaginable in Europe.