UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022 - Barcelona, 18-20 May

WHEC2022-3

From 18 to 20 May the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2022 took place in Barcelona, Spain, with the aim of reshaping ideas and practices in higher education to ensure sustainable development for the planet and humanity. The event was organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the Government of Spain, the regional Government of Catalonia, the City Hall and the Regional Authority of Barcelona, in partnership with GUNi/ACUP.

As part of the UNESCO Futures of Education initiative, which aims at mobilizing the many rich ways of being and knowing in order to leverage humanity’s collective intelligence, two roundtable sessions and a scenario development workshop were organized by the Future of Learning and Innovation team, on Theme 10: The futures of higher education.
 

WHEC2022
 

The first Round Table organized by the FLI team aimed to explore some of the implications of the Sahle-Work Commission Report Reimagining our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education, in relation to the role of higher education in transforming society.

The 90-minute session included keynote speeches of Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, H.E. President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia and Chair of the International Commission of Education, and António Nóvoa, Professor of Education of the University of Lisbon. It also featured insights and key recommendations from expert panel members, who expressed the need for higher education to be more inclusive, open, innovative, and resilient, fostering cooperation over competition.  
 

WHEC2022-2

From left to right: Sobhi Tawil, Francesc Pedro, Hilligje Van’t Land, Yume Yamaguchi, Sebastian Berger, Keri Facer, Mpine Makoe, Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.


Reimagining our Futures Together, the Sahle-Work Commission report on the Futures of Education, asserts that higher education is essential to changing course and shaping more just, inclusive, and sustainable futures. But to transform the future, we must reimagine the futures of higher education within a new social contract for education. Thinking about these futures is vital because it encourages us to visualize unknown possibilities, considering, ‘What should we continue doing? What should we abandon? And what should we creatively reimagine?

A recording of the session can be found here. TEG Round Table Theme 10: Reimagining the Futures of Higher Education EN

The second Round Table organized by the FLI team was on the topic of Co-construction of Knowledge and Research for Sustainable futures. This Round Table explored the contested futures of knowledge and research by considering the potential of collaborative research partnerships, co-design and co-creation of research and evidence, and examining related power dynamics and assumptions. It looked at the futures of the knowledge commons, with attention to the ‘decolonization’ of knowledge. Participants discussed processes of legitimization and delegitimization of different knowledges, including science, Indigenous and local knowledges. Referring to the Sahle-Work Commission report’s call to research, participants shared perspectives on how challenges for equitable partnerships, such as funding processes, gender equality, language issues, engrained assumptions, and power imbalances could be addressed.

A recording of the session can be found here: Round Table Co-construction of Knowledge and Research for Sustainable futures EN

A Scenario Development Workshop for Reimagining the Futures of Higher Education was also held. This hands-on learning session introduced participants to scenario development methodologies for Reimagining the Futures of Higher Education that could be adapted to and applied in different contexts, based on a common good lens and a social justice framework.

Participants were asked (1) How would you like communities to look in 2050 – what type of social and economic activities will be taking place in these communities? (2) How could higher education contribute to better futures for all in 2050? Examples of desirable scenarios previously developed for WHEC2022 through consultations, focus groups and a scenario development workshop were elaborated upon.

A recording of the session can be found here: Reimagining the Futures of Higher Education: Scenario development workshop EN

 

Link to the Futures of Education initiative: https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/initiative

Link to WHEC2022: https://www.whec2022.org/EN/homepage

Contact

UNESCO Headquarters

7 Place de Fontenoy
75007 Paris, France

Division of the Future of Learning and Innovation

futuresofeducation@unesco.org

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