UNESCO Chair Newsletter May 2021 – Education Needs to Transform to #LearnForOurPlanet

Dear Colleagues, Network Partners, and Friends,

It is May 2021 and it has been more than a year since COVID-19 dropped us into this virtual work adventure pivoting towards keeping our connections and creating meaningful contributions in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

In just a few weeks, the UNESCO World Conference on ESD will be held virtually for the first time and we cannot wait to see many of you during the virtual sessions. A UNESCO Chairs’ Live Session will take place on 17 May 2021. We sincerely hope that we will be able to create a unique experience that will motivate and assist all of us to work together on promoting ESD for 2030. Many of the sessions will be available through live streaming and we encourage you to participate to support transforming education to #LearnForOurPlanet.

We are also proud to announce our first webinar in collaboration with the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens that will be hosted by the Austrian Cultural Forum at the Austrian Embassy in Ottawa to be held on 5 May 2021.

Keeping our global partnerships active and continuously learning from each other are crucial principles if we want to tackle the wicked global sustainability problems. We would love to know about your events and activities!

Have a look at other events to come in the next weeks and feel free to share this newsletter with your networks. Please continue to stay both healthy and happy, we look forward to e-seeing many of you soon!

Best wishes from Toronto,
Charles Hopkins
UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability
York University

Transformative education in the 21st century - transatlantic perspectives

Quickly changing environments, climate change, unprecedented developments in technology while we are collectively overcoming a global pandemic with the help of global networks of scientists sets the context of living with accelerating change. How are we educating future generations in a world that is marked by challenging change yet full of opportunity? How can we prepare and empower students to become actively engaged citizens, taking responsible actions in a world of complexity and uncertainty to make it more sustainable? The 2030 Agenda calls for an Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship embedded within a Quality Education. What do these concepts entail and how can they change the way we look at education? How can education live up to its potential to be at the core of all efforts towards a sustainable future?

Monika Froehler, Chief Executive Officer of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability at York University, will present their institutions and discuss educating future generations. The event will be hosted virtually by the Austrian Cultural Forum at the Austrian Embassy in Ottawa.

Register here to join us on 5 May 2021 at 6 PM CET/noon EST.

Teaching without borders: remote learning at all levels of education as a lasting, yet positive pandemic impact

Formal schooling at all levels has experienced an unprecedented interruption due to the pandemic. So, is it time to think outside the box when imagining new approaches towards schooling to offer a Quality Education for all as delineated by SDG 4. What if we broaden our ideas of international education and studying abroad towards K-12 education? What if students can attend school not only in their own country but also choose to go to school in another country for a term or for a full programme? Is it time to question the traditional approach to schooling in a much broader way if students no longer attend the physical space of school? As we get better in creating appropriate virtual learning environments, we are presented with the opportunity to offer K-12 education beyond borders.

See our latest contribution to the Taylor & Francis Sustainable Development Goals Online Collection of thought leaders – compelling new writing about the SDGs by leading experts.

Also interested in sustainable development and resource productivity? Learn more about the 4th Factor X publication from the German Environment Agency and see our take on education, sustainable development, and resource management.

UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development on 17-19 May 2021

 The UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) will gather decision makers and professionals from the world’s education and sustainable development communities. It will mobilize multilayered support for ESD for 2030, the UNESCO programme on ESD, while also raising global awareness on sustainable development challenges and the crucial role of ESD as a key enabler for the successful achievement of all SDGs. Join UNESCO’s call for education to change so that we can all  #LearnForOurPlanetSign up to UNESCO´s newsletter to receive updates and learn how to livestream key events.

A special session of 13 UNESCO Chairs from around the world including York University´s UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability will be held on 17 May 2021 at 5.30 pm CET/11.30 am EST. How can UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN networks promote ESD for the SDGs? More details to follow here.

RCE Sask Awards to be hosted by Saskatchewan Environmental Society on 12 May 2021

Join to recognize and celebrate local sustainability leaders! The RCE Saskatchewan’s 13th Annual Education for Sustainable Development Recognition Event will be held on 12 May 2021 at 9 am CST/ 11 am EST. RSVP requested, please contact rcesk.event@gmail.com if you wish to attend.

The host for the 2021 Recognition Event will be the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES).  Founded in 1970, SES works towards environmental sustainability through public education, policy development, and community events in the province in Canada.

To learn more about the event and its generous sponsors, visit the event website and follow @SaskRCE on Twitter for live results.

York University recognized as a global leader in 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Ranking

For the third year in a row, York University performs well in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking. York ranked within the Top 100 Universities worldwide. York scored 3rd in Canada and 27th in the world for SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals, which examines a university’s stewardship of resources and its preservation of community heritage.

With the work of the UNESCO Chair, we contribute to York´s global engagement working with partners from more than 50 countries in the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions (INTEI) and the #IndigenousESD research network. Through our leading role for SDG 4 on Quality Education in the IAU Global Cluster of Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development, we answer the call for  higher education´s unique contribution to a sustainable future.

The University Academic Plan 2020-2025 positions York with distinctive capabilities to create positive change in a world facing an unprecedented convergence of complex sustainability issues such as climate change, a global pandemic, racism and xenophobia, poverty and inequality.

IAU webinar series on the future of higher education

Join the IAU Webinar Series on the Future of Higher Education: short, medium and long-term perspectives – an excellent opportunity for higher education leaders and professionals to engage with peers and experts.
The next webinar will take place on 4 May 2021 and will focus on ‘Acting and Educating for Sustainable Development at Universities – Examples from the IAU HESD Cluster & Partners’, featuring IAU SDG 4 Cluster Member Heila Lotz-Sisitka from Rhodes University as one of the distinguished speakers. Register here.

Mapping the mid-term impact of COVID-19 on higher education

The second edition of the IAU Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education around the World is still open.
Participate in the survey before 1 June 2021 informing the International Association of Universities (IAU) to provide evidence-based data. Your feedback will help ensuring that the concerns of universities and higher education institutions are taken into consideration by global decision-makers.
The results will feed into the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference 2021 to be held in Barcelona on 7-9 October 2021.

New UNESCO publication Reflect–Share–Act: A Guide to Community-based ESD

This guidebook introduces you to Reflect-Share-Act, a process to discover and define sustainable development in your own contexts together with others in your community. The guide compiles resources that can support this learning process, including stories of how it transpired in various communities in Asia-Pacific.

New UNU-IAS publication Tackling Climate Action at the Local Level

This publication highlights outstanding climate education projects from the Global RCE Network to implement the SDGs through education at the local and regional levels during the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD (2015-2019). The 12 projects featured cover a broad range of sustainable development challenges with a focus on SDG 13 on Climate Action.