When the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched his Global Education First Initiative in 2012, he identified global citizenship education as one of the initiative’s three priorities areas, recognizing the role of education in creating more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.
Today, there is an urgent call from the international community for education that will help resolve the social, political and global issues of the 21st Century. Discussing this shift in education priorities at a Consultation on Global Citizenship Education in Seoul on 9-10 September 2013, were around 30 experts from across all regions representing civil society, academia, as well as the education and development sectors. For Education International, Senior Research Coordinator Guntars Catlaks participated in the consultations.
Organized by UNESCO and the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with Ministry of Education and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding ( APCEIU), the consultation examined the status and major trends in global citizenship education across the world. Mr. Qian Tang, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, told participants that UNESCO’s longstanding advocacy for quality and relevant education was receiving growing attention, with increasing recognition of education’s central role in addressing global challenges. “Global citizenship education …ensures that the learners of the 21st century are equipped with the right skills, values and knowledge to function in and contribute to the increasingly globalized world,” he said.
Mr. Dong-ik Shin, Republic of Korea's Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs, said that by educating young people about global citizenship, "the next generation of our global leaders will be better prepared to face and overcome any challenges together". Education plays a critical role in transforming the way people think and act, added Mr. Utak Chung, Director of APCEIU. “In a globalized and highly interconnected world where we live now, recognizing the universal values such as human rights, respect, justice and cultural diversity, and taking responsibilities as global citizens is fundamental to making a peaceful and just world.” Among the themes addressed by participants were the role of education in promoting tolerance, appreciation of diversity, conflict resolution and peace, as well as humanitarian action, human rights, humanitarian law and civic responsibilities. Discussions also took place on the definitions, goals and learning outcomes of global citizenship education. The consultation represents the first step in an effort lead by UNESCO to deepen international understanding of global citizenship education. Outcomes from the consultation will feed into a UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education planned for December 2013, in Bangkok Thailand. The forum will seek to develop greater conceptual clarity around the issue, facilitate the exchange of good practice and identify priority actions to support global citizenship education in countries.
This story first appeared on the Global Education First Initiative's blog. Re-published with permission.