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by Justine Hudock
Student Community Engagement, Knovva Academy

Dr. Don Goldmann is a longtime guest instructor and speaker for Knovva. In the past two virtual summits and in his regular appearances on Knovva’s video series, Answering Teens’ Questions, he’s made his face and his particular brand of soft-spoken, attentive teaching style an invaluable guiding point for Knovva students. 

The Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases in the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Don’s staggering résumé belies his kind nature and natural rapport with the young whizzes in this year’s Model G20 Virtual Summit. 

The following quotes are excerpts from his conversation with Knovva following the conclusion of the most recent summit, the first ever virtual Model G20.

“Well, you know, this is the second time I’ve had interaction with high school students through you guys. And I am totally impressed by the questions,” said Dr. Goldmann, smiling at the memory and his lingering surprise. 

“I teach in college and I would have expected that high school students’ questions might not have been quite as sophisticated, but the questions that were asked were really, really good.”

“I suspect that’s because people who are drawn to this activity are really concerned with understanding the world we live in and how it can be changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, or other issues around the quality of life on our planet.”

Dr. Goldmann led one of the summit’s most popular lectures, Lessons from History: The Aftereffects of Pandemics. He credits the success of the talk to the students’ particular absorption and subsequent discussion of the subject.

“Model G20 allows me to do something I can’t do in my usual educational life. It’s bringing perspectives from different parts of the world. I think that’s so important how much the global pandemic we’re in now really emphasizes how important it is to learn from other countries, both their mistakes, and their successes. 

“What Knovva is doing, what the students are doing, I think, has a truly global collaborative emphasis. That’s incredibly important.

Dr. Goldmann thinks for a moment, considering what more he believes is among the most important takeaways for the students, and to his own experiences as an educator.

“The students are getting validation: that somebody who has a lot of experience such as myself, validates the legitimacy of their work and validates the worthiness of their questions. So I hope they have that sense. It should give them confidence to press on.”

You can watch Dr. Goldmann’s full video interview here.

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