Article about UNESCO Futures of Education

“UNESCO”

Sobe, Noah W. (2022). The future and the past are unevenly distributed: COVID’s educational disruptions and UNESCO’s global reports on educationPaedagogica Historica, DOI: 10.1080/00309230.2022.2112244

“the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed”

Willian Gibson

“For half a century the UN’s principal agency on education, UNESCO, has sought to shape the world’s educational landscape through a once-every-generation global report (e.g. the Faure report of 1972 and the Delors report of 1996). The latest of these reports – the Sahle-Work Commission’s “Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education” – was developed and released amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This article considers the ways the pandemic entered into the production of educational futures – and pasts – in this tradition of UNESCO global reports. It argues that the uneven distribution of pasts and futures is one of the key, already- existing systems of difference that set the stage for a disruptive event like the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Sobe, 2022, p. 1)

“The core of the proposed transformation agenda is the call for building “a new social contract for education” that consists of agreed-upon core principles, a redesign of education on multiple dimensions, and a rethinking of the actions and actors that implement and manage educational institutions, programmes and processes.” (Sobe, 2022, p. 8)

As more than one of the Sahle-Work Commission members has noted, the word “together” is the most important word in the report’s title. (Some, 2022, p. 10)

NOTE: The Center for Intercultural Dialogue held focus groups as part of the information gathering stage of the Futures of Education project, preparing what we learned as a report for UNESCO, in 2021.

 

Launch of UNESCO Framework for Enabling Intercultural Dialogue

“UNESCO”

Launch of UNESCO Framework for Enabling Intercultural Dialogue and accompanying global report, We Need to Talk: Measuring Intercultural Dialogue for Peace and Inclusion, Paris, France, 20 September 2022, 3:30-5:30 PM (CET).

On September 20th, UNESCO will launch the UNESCO Framework for Enabling Intercultural Dialogue and accompanying global report, We Need to Talk: Measuring Intercultural Dialogue for Peace and Inclusion. Everyone is invited to register and attend.

Featuring a ministerial roundtable and expert panel, this global launch will highlight the initial findings of the new Framework, which tell an important story of the connection of Intercultural Dialogue has to peace building, development, and security. The event will feature real world applications and success stories of Intercultural Dialogue from the viewpoints of a variety of stakeholders.

Intercultural Dialogue, transformative communication between different people based in respect, empathy, and openness, can enable us to leverage the power of our diversity and address global challenges.

Recognizing the potential of Intercultural Dialogue, UNESCO, in partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace, has developed the data led UNESCO Framework for Enabling Intercultural Dialogue to support Intercultural Dialogue as a tool for conflict prevention, sustainable peace and human rights

Learning how to live together in a world of increasing diversity has emerged as one of the pressing challenges of our time. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, we must develop innovative approaches to harness the power of our diversity and tackle global challenges such as inequality, divisive political discourses, discrimination and intolerance, internal displacement, and violent extremism.

Intercultural Dialogue has the potential to help us tackle these global challenges. Through data and improved knowledge as provided by the new Framework, we can leverage the power of Intercultural Dialogue.

NOTE: if you missed the launch, there is a recording available on YouTube, in the original English, and translated into French. Now that it is available, the link to the document itself has been added to the note at the top of the page.

UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant 2022

Grants
Silk Roads Youth Research Grant, UNESCO, Paris, France. Deadline: 31 May 2022.

The call for proposals for the second edition of the Silk Roads Youth Research Grant is now open. As part of the Silk Roads Programme’s ongoing work to better understand the rich history and shared legacy and spirit of the Silk Roads, UNESCO, with the support of the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO, launched the ‘Silk Roads Youth Research Grant’ in 2021 within the framework of the Social and Human Sciences Sector. The second edition has been launched on 1 March 2022.

This initiative, which aims to mobilize young researchers for further study of the Silk Roads shared heritage, will award 12 research grants to young women and men under 35 years of age. Grant applicants are invited to address areas of academic study which relate to the shared heritage and plural identities of the Silk Roads, as well as its internal diversity, and potential in contemporary societies for creativity, intercultural dialogue, social cohesion, regional and international cooperation, and ultimately sustainable peace and development.

UNESCO Futures of Education Report Issued

“UNESCO”

UNESCO Futures of Education Commission. (2021). Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education. Paris, France: UNESCO.

UNESCO launched its Futures of Education Initiative in September 2019. Drawing on extensive consultations, the International Commission has just released their final report, Reimagining Our Futures Together: a new social contract for education. The brief overview of their conclusions is here. Most critically, they conclude that: “we need a new social contract for education that can repair injustices while transforming the future. This new social contract must be grounded in human rights and based on principles of non-discrimination, social justice, respect for life, human dignity and cultural diversity. It must encompass an ethic of care, reciprocity, and solidarity. It must strengthen education as a public endeavour and a common good.”

Among other comments in the report, those most directly related to CID are probably these:

The world is rich in multicultural and multi-ethnic societies and education should promote intercultural citizenship. Beyond learning about the value of diversity, education should promote the skills, values and conditions needed for horizontal, democratic dialogue with diverse groups, knowledge systems and practices. The basis for intercultural citizenship is the affirmation of one ́s cultural identities. Knowing who you are is the starting point for respecting others. (p. 53). . .Education at its best is a collective process that acknowledges the value of peer and intergenerational as well as intercultural learning. (p. 134)

[CID was one of the organizations consulted by the initiative, and is acknowledged in the report; see the CID Report for UNESCO Futures of Education for the conclusions of 3 focus groups we organized at their request.]

Update as of March 2022: Reimagining our futures together is available in English and French, with the Executive Summary also available in Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

UNESCO Futures of Education Report Coming

“UNESCO”UNESCO Futures of Education initiative: Launch of the Report will occur 10 November 2021 1:30-2:30 CET (Webinar open to the public and broadcast in multiple languages).

UNESCO launched its Futures of Education initiative at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019. Chaired by the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Madame Sahle- Work Zewde, an International Commission of thought-leaders from the worlds of politics, academia, the arts, science, business, and education, undertook a broad, inclusive global engagement effort involving educators, youth, researchers, governments, business and civil society. [Read basic information about the Futures of Education Initiative. CID was one of the organizations consulted; read the CID Report for UNESCO Futures of Education, sharing the results of 3 focus groups we organized at their request.]

Drawing on their extensive consultations, the International Commission has prepared a Report that will be the third in a series of UNESCO global reports on the future of education. The Commission’s Report, Reimagining Our Futures Together: a new social contract for education, will be officially launched at UNESCO’s 41st General Conference.

This launch event will present the key ideas and recommendations of the new flagship report to Member States, and initiate the mobilization of the global education community and UNESCO strategic partners to take forward the global debate and action on the Futures of Education. The event will be livestreamed to the general public in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Please click here to join the livestream of the event.

UNESCO: Reporting on Migrants and Refugees (Handbook)

“UNESCO”UNESCO. (2021). Reporting on Migrants and Refugees: Handbook for Journalism Educators. Paris, France: UNESCO.

This handbook enables journalism educators worldwide to address one of the challenges of the 21st century – migration and refugee matters. In a set of thirteen modules, journal-ism educators are provided with a comprehensive curriculum. It covers all aspects needed to train analysis, research, presentation, marketing, and ethics of migration coverage.

The handbook is unique as it comprises results of communication studies as well as political and social sciences. It has been developed by an international and cross-cultural group of media researchers, media educators and media practitioners. (p. iii)

Reporting on Migrants and Refugees: Handbook for Journalism Educators is published as part of the UNESCO Series on Journalism Education, and is available in Open Access.

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.

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