UNESCO: COVID and Intercultural Dialogue

“UNESCO”

UNESCO. (2020). The socio-cultural impact of COVID-19: Exploring the role of intercultural dialogue in emerging responses. Paris, France: UNESCO.

This report published by UNESCO argues that intercultural dialogue (ICD) is a substantial part of how the world responds to global challenges such as the pandemic.

[T]he emerging post COVID-19 world will be shaped by new dynamics and complex realities immersed in virtual inter-connectivity and driven by cross-sectoral engagements. To this end, the ICD agenda will have a significant role to play in developing a new socio-cultural compact that will contribute to shaping the way we live, work, connect and engage across national, ethnic and civilizational lines. (p. 15)

In addition to agreeing with the general sentiment, I was delighted to read the friendly comments about the report I prepared for UNESCO 8 years ago:

In its influential 2013 report ‘Intercultural Competencies: conceptual and operational framework‘ UNESCO approaches intercultural dialogue (ICD) as assuming ‘that participants agree to listen to and understand multiple perspectives, including even those held by groups or individuals with whom they disagree’. (p. 2)

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

 

UNESCO: Art-Lab for Human Rights & Dialogue (Online)

“UNESCO”Art-Lab for Human Rights and Dialogue, for World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, UNESCO and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (webinar),  22 May 2020.

Five “artivists”, artists/activists, will share with the audience how they adapted, in light of Covid-19, their strategies to reach out to the most vulnerable, who are also, most often, the most invisible. Moreover, they will explain how the pandemic has uncovered human and social realities that we can no longer afford to avoid in the post Covid-19 era.

Art-Lab places human rights and dignity at the centre of sustainable development where cultural diversity and dialogue play a fundamental role. In particular, it strives to mainstream artistic and cultural programmes to reposition the central issue of human rights for policy-actors and to support vulnerable communities in the advancement of their human rights and dignity, by providing them with the necessary resistance resources through the Arts.

The webinar aims to shed light on the important role of art and culture as a tool for Dialogue and Development within a context where economic, social and cultural gaps are growing in parallel with the pandemic – echoing #ArtConnects and #ResiliArt, UNESCO’s recent social media campaign shedding light on the resilience of artists during the pandemic.

Held every year on 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development celebrates not only the richness of the world’s cultures, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development. The United Nations General Assembly first declared this World Day in 2002, following UNESCO’s adoption of the 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognizing the need to “enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development and global peaceful coexistence.”

UNESCO: Concrete Experiences for Transformational Change

“UNESCO”

Report Addendum: Concrete Experiences for Transformational Change, CID Focus Groups for the UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative, May 2021.

CID Focus Groups report for UNESCOIn January, UNESCO invited the Center for Intercultural Dialogue to participate in the Futures of Education Initiative by holding focus groups on how education needs to evolve today, in order to be more relevant tomorrow. Three sessions were convened, on January 28, 29, and 30, 2021. A report of our conclusions, framed as a response to the UNESCO document, Education in a Post-COVID World: Nine Ideas for Public Action, was submitted in February.

CID Poster 14: 10 IdeasWe proposed a tenth idea, that learning to live together requires intercultural dialogue, which was also published as CID Poster #14.

In April, UNESCO asked the Center to return to the forum group participants, this time requesting “innovative and inspiring concrete experiences to serve as good illustrations of activities and approaches that can contribute to transformational change.” Eight members of the original group were able to submit examples by the tight deadline in early May.  Thanks to the participants who were able to respond so quickly:

  • Evangelos A. Afendras (Greece/Malaysia): Stumbling on adverse realities while building a “Humaniversity” for MDG ideals: Some autoethnographic notes
  • Giovanna Carloni (Italy), Virtual exchange as a transformative process in the Global South
  • Mohammed Guamguami (Morocco): COIL education: Glocal principled innovation
  • Nazan Haydari and Onur Sesigür (Turkey): Gender and sound culture workshop in Turkey 
  • Maria Hussain (UK): Nurturing inclusive intercultural dialogue beyond borders through student-led podcasts: The case of Cultural Insight Wednesdays 
  • Sr. Teresa Joseph (India): Don Bosco: Word in the Ear
  • Maura Di Mauro (Italy): Systemic university change towards internationalisation for academia (SUCTIA) 
  • Yehuda Silverman (Canada/USA): Incorporating diversity into intrapersonal peace and conflict prevention

Constructing ICD 12One of these examples has already been published as Constructing Intercultural Dialogues #12, and several others are in preparation as further publications on this site.

UNESCO Futures of Education Progress Update

“UNESCO”

Progress Update, UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative, UNESCO, Paris, France. Response deadline: April 30, 2021.

 

This document presents a progress update from the International Commission on the Futures of Education to inform global consultation and public engagement processes taking place in March and April 2021, prior to the final drafting of the Commission’s Report. It begins with background information on the initiative and its ambitions. This includes an introduction to the co‐construction and consultation features of the initiative and brief discussion of how the Commission is framing the report. The second section of the text presents the provisional outline of the report, followed by an explanation of the main points and arguments currently envisioned for each section and sub‐section.

They are requesting comments and suggestions on this document—particularly around (a) the coherence of the arguments presented, (b) what elements need further attention, development or are missing, and (c) what is most novel and promising about the forthcoming Report as currently envisioned. Responses to be received by the end of April 2021 may be submitted online or sent by email.

Read basic information about the Futures of Education Initiative. Or read the CID Report for UNESCO Futures of Education, sharing the results of 3 focus groups we organized at their request.

UNESCO Futures of Education Webinars

“UNESCO”

UNESCO Associated Schools Network Webinars on UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative  (on Zoom), March 26, March 31, or April 1, 2021.

In the last six months, UNESCO’s Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) has mobilized several thousands of teachers, students and their parents from across the globe to engage in joint reflections about education in the future. How can education promote sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship (GCED), not only today but also tomorrow? How should what, how and where we learn evolve in the future? Learn about the good practices and innovative ideas that came out of these discussions through the Futures of Education x ASPnet Webinar Series.

  • Webinar in French/English: Wednesday, 31 March, 14:00 – 15:30 CET
    • Moderator: Abdelbasset BEN HASSEN, President, Arab Institute for Human Rights
    • Simultaneous interpretation will be available in English and French
    • Please click here to register
  • Webinar in Spanish/English: Thursday, 1 April, 16:00 – 17:30 CET
    • Moderator: Fernando REIMERS, Professor of International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Member of the International Commission on the Futures of Education
    • Simultaneous interpretation will be available in English and Spanish
    • Please click here to register

Please note that there will an opportunity during this webinar for the audience to engage with the speakers.

Read basic information about the Futures of Education Initiative. Or read the CID Report for UNESCO Futures of Education, sharing the results of 3 focus groups we organized at their request.

UNESCO Futures of Education Weekly Polls

“UNESCO”Weekly poll, UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative, UNESCO, Paris, France.

UNESCO’s #FuturesOfEducation initiative is exploring how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet. The question they have posed is: What do we want education to look like in 2050? Everyone is invited to participate in their weekly Education 2050 Poll and help design the #FuturesOfEducation. (It is unclear how long they will host these polls.)

Read basic information about the Futures of Education Initiative. Or read the CID Report for UNESCO Futures of Education, sharing the results of 3 focus groups we organized at their request.

CID Report for UNESCO Futures of Education

“UNESCO”UNESCO invited CID to host focus groups as part of the Futures of Education Initiative. Three focus groups held discussions in January. The report has now been completed, and submitted to UNESCO.

We are delighted that UNESCO invited our participation, and hopeful that they will incorporate our recommendations into their final conclusions. A copy of the report may be had by clicking on the image below.

CID Focus Groups report for UNESCO

Thanks to Linda de Wit, former CID intern and skilled graphic designer, for taking on the project of turning the written report into a polished final document. Thanks to Nazan Haydari, Advisory Board member, for moderating one of the focus groups, and managing the technology for all of them. Thanks to all of the participants, who are named in the report, for their ideas, their time, and their energy for this project.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz
Director, Center for Intercultural Dialogue
intercult.dialogue AT gmail.com


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

UNESCO Futures of Education Focus Groups Completed

“UNESCO”

The Center for Intercultural Dialogue held 3 focus groups as part of the UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative, January 28, 29, and 30, 2021.

UNESCO Futures of EducationThanks first to Nazan Haydari, member of the CID Advisory Board, who who served as moderator of one of the groups, and organized the technology through Istanbul Bilgi University.

Thanks next to all of the participants for all of their ideas. They included: Evangelos Afendras (Greece), Chukwuemeka Amajo (Nigeria), Diana Bebenova-Nikolova (Bulgaria), Giovanna Carloni (Italy), Ivett Rita Guntersdorfer (Germany), Mohammed Guamguami (Morocco), Maria Hussain (UK), Teresa Joseph (India), Emilija Jovanovska (USA/Macedonia), Lasana Kazembe (USA), Sergei Kladko (Russia), Maura Di Mauro (Italy), Katrien Mertens (Belgium), Isabel Mohedano Sohm (Spain), M. L. Papusa Molina (Mexico), Maja Nenadovic (Netherlands), Sushil Oswal (USA), Chris Peltier (France), Anne-Nelly Perret-Clermont (Switzerland), Yehuda Silverman (Canada/USA), and Arianna Vettorazzi (Netherlands/Italy).

The report synthesizing our discussions will be completed, submitted to UNESCO, and posted to this site shortly. [update: now posted here]

For everyone else with an interest in the topic but who was unable to respond quickly enough to participate, in addition to the relevant publications posted previously, UNESCO has now offered several additional possibilities:

Passive participation: you may follow the developments on their website, as they post updates.

Active engagement: there are several possibilities:

  • Take the 1-minute survey on the top 3 challenges and purposes of education
  • Write your thoughts on what they see as the one major issue for the futures of education (max 1000 words).
  • Submit an original artwork of what education might look like in 2050.

Update: UNESCO Futures of Education Focus Groups

“UNESCO”

Update, UNESCO Futures of Education focus groups organized by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue.

 

UNESCO Futures of EducationFirst, thanks to all those who immediately responded to last week’s invitation by saying they want to participate in a focus group on this topic, and contribute ideas to the UNESCO Commission. Participation is now closed, and we’re actively organizing to hold multiple focus groups, as a way to include as many people as possible. (UNESCO requested one focus group; we’ll be giving them three.)

Second, thanks to Nazan Haydari, member of the CID Advisory Board, who has agreed to serve as one of the focus group leaders. The other two will be led by Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, CID Director. [update: final report now posted here]

For everyone else with an interest in the topic but who was unable to respond quickly enough to participate, the following are relevant materials to read.

Publications on education produced by prior UNESCO Commissions, which serve as the background for this one:

Faure, E., et al. (1972). Learning to be: The world of education today and tomorrow. Paris: UNESCO.

Delors, J. (1996). Learning: The treasure within; report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. Paris: UNESCO.

Elfert, M. (2015). Learning to live together: Revisiting the humanism of the Delors report. Education Research and Foresight Working Papers, 12.

UNESCO. (2015). Rethinking education: Towards a global common good? Paris: UNESCO.

Materials already produced by the current Commission:

UNESCO. (2020). Visioning and framing the Futures of Education. Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO. (2020). Education in a post-COVID world: Nine ideas for public action. Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO Invites Contributions to Futures of Education initiative

“UNESCO”If you are interested in participating in a cooperative CID-UNESCO focus group on the role of intercultural dialogue in the futures of education, then please read the following and send an email immediately as this event will be scheduled for late January at a mutually convenient day/time. We cannot guarantee participation, as this will be a small group, but you will also be able to organize your own event if so desired. There will only be one meeting, and then a report of the discussion sent in to UNESCO. 

UPDATE: Several focus groups are now full, thanks to the many responses – more details to be posted shortly as there are results to report. [Second update: the final report is now posted here]

UNESCO Futures of Education

UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative is an ambitious attempt to rethink education and help shape the future. The initiative is catalyzing a global debate on how education, learning and knowledge need to be re-imagined in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity.

As part of this initiative, UNESCO has appointed a high-level International Commission of thought leaders with diverse expertise and perspectives from the worlds of politics, academia, the arts, science and business. The International Commission will prepare a report, to be released in November 2021, that will provide an agenda for action and discussion by policymakers and practitioners.

The report of the International Commission will emerge out of a range of work modalities that emphasize co-creation, a broad participatory and partnership structure, the inclusion of diverse perspectives, and the absence of pre-specified conclusions. Towards this end, UNESCO is encouraging individuals, organizations and networks to organize focus group discussions with their constituencies, inputs from which will feed into to the Commission’s work.

The objective of these consultations is to generate a set of diverse perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for education and learning that can be both anticipated/predicted and imagined/envisioned when looking towards the year 2050. Rethinking as well as fully reimagining the way we live together are key dimensions explored by UNESCO; this is why the Center for Intercultural Dialogue has been approached to mobilize its members in the organization of a focus group discussion. Please send an email asap if you wish to participate!