UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed the need to rethink education, at the opening of the Second UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCED), Building peaceful and sustainable societies: preparing for post-2015, which runs from 28 to 30 January at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
“We need new skills for new times – to foster greater respect and understanding between cultures, to give learners tools to make the most of diversity, to develop new values and behaviours of solidarity and responsibility, to harness the energy of young women and men for the benefit of all,” said the Director-General. “This is the importance of education for global citizenship and why this Forum is so important.”
Amira Yahyaoui, President and founder of Al Bawsala (Tunisia), emphasised in her feature presentation that “young people are not the future generation, they are the present… [and] Global citizenship education can help explain how they can be responsible citizens today and now”.
The two main objectives of the Forum are to discuss global citizenship education in the context of the post-2015 education agenda and its role for forging peace. The Forum will result in concrete inputs to the emerging Framework for Action on Education post-2015 that will be adopted at the World Education Forum (WEF) in May 2015 in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
As UNESCO is celebrating its 70th Anniversary, the Forum offers an opportunity to “sharpen our vision and place global citizenship education in the context of all our work – to eradicate poverty, to enhance social inclusion, to respond sustainably to the needs of all societies, to build a culture of peace,” said Ms Bokova.
In the course of the Forum, some 250 participants from all regions will discuss a range of issues, including teaching practices, tackling discriminations, social media, the measurement of GCED learning outcomes, inter-religious education and lessons learned from peace and human rights education.
Policy-makers, academics, youth, NGOs and UN entities will seek to identify policy priorities and strategies for implementing GCED during three plenary meetings and 20 concurrent sessions, which offer a unique platform for exchange and networking.
During the Forum, the UNESCO clearinghouse on Global Citizenship Education hosted by the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding will be launched.
The Forum is supported by Austria, the Sultanat of Oman and the Republic of Korea, and benefits from the guidance of a network of partners including UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAIICID) and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), a centre under the auspices of UNESCO.
The first GCED Forum was held in Bangkok from 2-4 December 2013 under the theme of “Global Citizenship Education: Preparing learners for the challenges of the 21st Century”.