Magnus Persson, an inspiration and ESD role model


© Learning Teacher Network
18 November 2016

It is with deep sorrow that the ESD community learned of the passing of a dear colleague Magnus Persson of Sweden. Magnus died of a fatal heart attack on November 11, 2016. As well as a loving husband and father, Magnus was a manager in International Affairs in the Local Education Authority in Karlstad, Sweden. In the past Magnus served the city as Mayor and Vice-mayor.

Magnus worked tirelessly as President and Coordinator of The Learning Teacher Network (LTN), an organization of formal and non-formal educators spanning approximately 50 countries. With Magnus’s leadership and the strong support of the membership, the LTN won a Gold Medal from the European Commission for best Network Project. Through his influence the LTN began to focus on education for sustainable development and in 2014 became a key GAP member and focal point on teacher education. Magnus believed very deeply in the potential of education, public awareness and training as keys to a more sustainable future for all. He largely devoted his life and being to this belief.

As well as an ESD leader in Sweden, Magnus worked extensively on the international scene. Over the last ten years Magnus emerged as a leading global champion of ESD as a cornerstone of quality 21st Century education. Only days before his passing, he addressed the 7th Beijing International Forum on Education for Sustainable Development of the Asia-Pacific Institute on ESD where he also served as Deputy Director.

Magnus will be remembered as a passionate human being and as an ESD visionary.  He saw the power of policy and pursued it; but along the way he constantly stopped to help others in any way he could.  No one knew where he found the time to accomplish so much and yet remain in personal contact with his large circle of friends and colleagues around the world.

We were fortunate to have Magnus with us for the Decade and GAP years.  He was and remains an inspiration and ESD role model for many and we will remain thankful for his endless support of ESD. In an obituary published in China he was referred to as a True ESD Hero.  He will be missed sorely by many and we mourn our loss.


by Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability, York University, Canada (GAP Key Partner)