This year’s enlightED, the global conference which brings together leading experts in education, technology and innovation, which is taking place from 2-4 October in Madrid.

Fundación Telefónica, IE University and South Summit promote enlightED, with the addition of Fundación Santillana, in its capacity as principal sponsor to promote a major debate on education in the digital era.

This year’s event will attract thinkers and innovators from around the world, among them:

  • Niall Ferguson
  • Patricia Kuhl
  • Ju-Ho Lee
  • Simon Nelson
  • Kelly Palmer, and
  • Tal Ben Sahar

For the second consecutive year the enlightED awards issue a call until August 4 to identify and promote the best edTech startups in the world.

These are some of the questions to be posed during enlightED, a meeting promoted by Fundación Telefónica, IE University, South Summit and Santillana Foundation:

  • How should we prepare for the educational challenges we will face in 2030?
  • How should schools rethink educating students in the digital age?
  • How should universities adapt to meet the needs of companies ahead of the emergence of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?
  • What challenges does EdTech face in responding to the educational and business sector?

This second edition will be held between October 2-4 in La Nave (Madrid) within the framework of South Summit 2019.

Leading experts meet to discuss education in the digital age

Among the speakers who have already confirmed their participation in enlightED 2019 are:

  • Niall Ferguson, historian, writer and lecturer at Stanford University and CES Harvard University;
  • Kelly Palmer, co-founder and Chief Learning and Talent Officer at Degreed;
  • Tal Ben-Shahar, bestselling author and lecturer in Positive Psychology, Happiness and Leadership, who formally taught at Harvard University and is a consultant to multinational organizations;
  • Siva Kumari, General Director at International Baccalaureate;
  • Simon Nelson, CEO of Future Learn;
  • Markus Witte, CEO of Babbel;
  • Orlando Ayala, Advisor to the President of Colombia in Education and Technology;
  • Pierre Dubuc, Cofounder and CEO of Openclassrooms;
  • Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington;
  • Ju-Ho Lee, former Minister of Education of South Korea; and
  • Alex Romero, Founder & CEO, Alto Data Analytics.

Also attending will be the presidents of the supporting organizations:

  • José María Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica;
  • Santiago Iñiguez, president of IE University;
  • César Alierta, CEO of Fundación Telefónica;
  • María Benjumea, founder and CEO of South Summit and
  • Ignacio Polanco Moreno, president of the Santillana Foundation.

Technology and humanism

The debate will once again impact on the ethical limits of technology, with the focus on how education must reinvent itself as we face the digital revolution.

José María Álvarez-Pallete, president of Telefónica, describes the challenges we face:

"We are experiencing an unprecedented technological revolution and ethics is fundamental to manage it. Values ​​and transparency are priorities in this new digital world to achieve a more just and balanced society and leave no one behind."

María Benjumea, the founder of South Summit, adds:

"Education is key to responding in a timely manner to the technological and digital revolution in which we find ourselves and the best pillar to achieve a more egalitarian society with greater opportunities."

With a transversal and participatory approach, enlightED will bring together business leaders, academics, innovators, students and futurists in a debate on the new opportunities for learning and development in the EdTech world. In this second edition, new disruptive spaces will be created with the aim of promoting greater interaction and networking.

For Santiago Íñiguez de Onzoño, president of IE University,

"the education sector of the future will focus on new content, new formats and a leading role in technology to make a greater impact on people to face new challenges in a digital world. In enlightED we will raise these challenges and look for new answers.”

Ignacio Polanco Moreno, president of the Fundación Santillana, 


“For us this is a real honor to join this marvellous Project as principal sponsor, allowing us to bring our wide experience at the highest levels of teaching such as our Deep knowledge of Latin America.”

enlightED will be held in parallel with the South Summit 2018 at the La Nave conference center in Madrid. Attendees of both events will be able meet and participate.

enlightED Awards: in search of the best edTech startups

As in the first edition, the enlightED Awards will select the best entrepreneurial initiatives in education, innovation and edTech in the world. Convened by the promoters, along with partners such as Wayra and Telefónica Educación Digital, the enlightED Awards are open to global startups at any stage of development until August 4 on the enlightED website.

The finalists will travel to Madrid to present their projects and along with the competition organized by South Summit, enlightED will award prizes in the following four categories:

  1. IE University Award for Best startup in Higher Education
  2. Fundación Telefónica Startup Award with the greatest social impact in Education
  3. Telefónica Digital Education Award for Startup with the best technological solution for learning and training
  4. Wayra Award for Most Scalable Edtech Startup'

The winner of the enlightED Awards will also be the winner of the South Summit Startup Competition 2019, and will compete with the rest of the categories to be the overall final winner.

The winning projects will have access to IE University’s Edtech IE Rockets startup incubator, the Wayra international entrepreneurship network and the entire South Summit investment ecosystem, as well as the possibility of collaboratig with its partners and collaborators.

In 2018, more than 615 submissions were received, of which 58% were international, coming from more than 40 countries.

enlightED 2018

The first edition of enlightED, held in 2018, brought together more than 10,000 attendees, both face-to-face and through streaming, as well as more than 1,200 corporations and more than 1,100 startups.

The first meeting on educational innovation in the framework of the South Summit attracted thinkers and innovators like Sir Ken Robinson, Barbara Oakley, Jonathan Zittrain, Maysa Jalbout and Gerd Leonhard.

Fundación Telefónica, promoting the social side of the digital era

At Fundación Telefónica we have been working since 1998 to be catalysts for social inclusion in the digital era.

With this vision, we seek to improve the development opportunities of people through inclusive projects with a digital soul and a global vocation through education, training and the dissemination of knowledge as the fundamental vehicles for social transformation.

We develop educational, cultural, employability and volunteering projects that respond to the challenges of the digital world, with the goal of leaving nobody behind.

With a presence in 30 countries – Spain, Latin America, Africa and Asia – over the course of 2018 we reached more than 8.6 million people through our programs.

About IE University: Offering a technology-based learning ecosystem for leaders seeking to make a difference in the world through innovation, a global vision, an entrepreneurial mindset and a unique approach based on the Humanities, IE University’s faculty of more than 500 academics currently teach degrees, master's programs, doctorates and executive training to students from 131 countries. IE University's platform of more than 60,000 alumni is present in 165 countries.

About South Summit: A global platform of full innovation services connecting startups, investors and corporations focused on business opportunities. It is currently a global event, having extended its connection network through the rest of Europe, Latin America, Israel and the United States. The last South Summit meeting in Madrid was held at La Nave between October 3-5 in 2018 and was attended by more than 6,700 founders and more than 175 investment funds with an investment capacity of $55 billion.

About the Fundación Santillana: Since its creation in 1979, the Fundación Santillana promotes educational and cultural projects related to publishing, information and education. With offices in Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Brazil, its work has an impact in 21 Latin American countries. Through its Ed21 program, Fundación Santillana promotes educational debate on the abilities and skills required by our students to meet the challenges of society today, with the objective of generating collective intelligence that brings together the ideas, thinking, proposals and aspirations of the entire Latin American educational community. Furthermore, it promotes, along with the Autonomous University of Madrid, a Masters in Governance and Human Rights, organized by the Professor of Latin American Studies, Jesús de Polanco.

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