UNESCO Chair Newsletter September 2021 #Sustainability4Ed

Lost Lithuanian treasures recovered from Toronto

Approximately 30 years ago on a rainy weekday morning, Charles Hopkins rushed out of his home in Toronto to get to work at the City of Toronto School Board. While in the typical morning rush, he suddenly noticed that a big pile of boxes had been placed for waste collection on the sidewalk of his neighbour. The nice lady from next door, Vanda Gylys, widow of the Lithuanian Consul-General in Canada Vytautas Jonas Gylys, had just recently died and a cleaning company was getting the house ready to be sold. Charles only knew bits and pieces of their story as former diplomats to Lithuania and that they had taken important documents on their journey from Lithuania to Stockholm and from there to Toronto during the early times of World War II to rescue them from the invading Russian troops. Spontaneously, Charles decided to save the documents from the oncoming trash trucks and brought them into his home. He just knew they were important as Vytautas and Vanda Gylys had made such an effort in secretly bringing them to Canada.
It took 30 years, a pandemic, and several attempts to find the right contact person to realize the enormous importance of the paperwork he had collected on that rainy Wednesday morning. In April 2021, Charles was able to establish a relationship with the Lithuanian community in Toronto/Mississauga and the documents that had been in the basement for decades turned out to be a considerable collection of international treaties containing the early history of Lithuanian foreign policy. They contained signatures from German president Hindenburg, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge, Czech president Edvard Benes, Pope Pius XI, Latvian president Alberts Kviesis, as well as Soviet Russian leader Vladimir Ulianov Lenin. A few days after establishing the contact to the Lithuanian Museum-Archives, Charles was able to transfer the documents to be brought home to Lithuania in June 2021. A national exhibition to be held in Vilnius is expected in 2022.
Read the full story. At first glance, this is a story about the unquantifiable value of these international treaties for the history of Lithuania. Yet, this is also a story of UNESCO connecting our heritage with culture and education for today and for the future. Behind the scenes, UNESCO networks connected quickly and trustingly. Existing relationships with UNESCO partners in the region and the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO have been revitalized towards a new collaboration to enhance the Global 2030 Education Agenda.

TERA2021: educational reform, global citizenship and sustainable future

TERA2021 is hosted by the Taiwan Education Research Association (TERA), based in the Institute of Education, National Sun Yat-sen University Taiwan. TERA aims to promote academic dialogue and international collaboration among educational research communities. TERA is a non-profit organization for professionals working at all levels of education committed to improving the practice of instruction as well as conducting and applying educational research. This year´s TERA2021 will be held virtually. York´s UNESCO Chairholder Charles Hopkins and Executive Coordinator Katrin Kohl are invited to speak at the conference.
Submissions for papers, oral presentations, or posters in English or Chinese will be accepted on or before 17 September 2021.

Covid-19 recovery of Indigenous Peoples: Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to present at the Human Rights Council in September 2021

The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will devote his next thematic report to Covid-19 recovery and Indigenous Peoples’ rights to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 48th session. The theme will build on the rapporteur’s previous report to the UN General Assembly of 20 July 2020 (A/75/185), which addressed the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
York´s UNESCO Chair supported the preparation of this report with a tailored contribution from the second #IndigenousESD initiative on best practices and advocates to put access to quality education for all at the core of global recovery efforts for Indigenous communities.

Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development: what´s next?

After the UNESCO Confer­ence on Education for Sustainable Develop­ment in May 2021 and 2,800 participants from 161 countries adopting the Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development in order to enhance ESD to achieving its full potential as a guiding principle of education at all levels, it is now time to develop meaningful country initiatives.
With our International Network of Teacher Education Institutions (INTEI)York´s UNESCO Chair is ready to be a part of Canadian-led initiatives to support the ESD for 2030 Roadmap towards transforming education.

Share your insights and learn from teachers: teaching for climate action

Share your knowledge and learn from your peers by joining the OECDUNESCO, and Education International’s initiative on teaching for climate action. This new global initiative aims to gather insights from educators on empowering students to take climate action, and to build a new globally inspired professional network.
Respond to the call for teacher insights.

IAU webinar Series on the Future of Higher Education

The IAU webinar series on the future of higher education returns with the next session taking place on 21 September. Organized by the International Association of Universities (IAU) in collaboration with the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), it will focus on the autonomy of universities for good governance.
Register for the next webinar on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 at 2:30 pm CEST (12:30 UTC).

IAU-UOC series: innovative education for unshaped futures

A year of pandemic disruption has shaped higher education in unprecedented ways to increasingly rely on digital technologies in higher education and quickly adapt in a fast-paced environment. Within this context, the International Association of Universities (IAU) and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) have partnered to develop a dialogue series to explore the changes in higher education. Join the IAU-UOC Innovative Education for Unshaped Futures (IE4UF) series to explore the digital transformation of higher education for the next chapter.
Register for Chapter IV on Thursday, 16 September 2021 at 2:30 pm CEST (12:30 pm UTC).

12th Global RCE Conference: achieving the SDGs - action through learning in a time of global crises

Registrations are now open for the 12th Global Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD (RCE) Conference, co-hosted by RCE Scotland and the Global RCE Service Centre, on 16-18 November  2021. You can register now and have your voice in the dialogue.
Contribute further and respond to the call for submissions with ideas for case presentations, interactive workshops, regional RCE sessions and an online ‘marketplace’ exhibition. There will be lots of opportunities to network and meet informally. Other current opportunities within the Global RCE Network:

Participate in a global reflection on the right to education

UNESCO has launched a global reflection on the right to education, in the context of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education. UNESCO aims to gather insights on what the right to education could embrace to respond to new and emerging challenges, and their implications for ensuring a quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. UNESCO invites you to participate in a global survey or you can submit a more comprehensive contribution. Get your voice heard for the future of education.

UNESCO global survey on impact of COVID-19 on higher education

In 2020, UNESCO conducted a global survey aiming to provide an evidence-based overview of the current situation of the higher education system at national and global levels. The global survey was addressed to the 193 UNEociate Members. 65 countries SCO Member States and 11 Asssubmitted responses, 57 of which were used for the analysis that informed the report. York University´s Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis (OIPA) provided a comprehensive report on their experience to support the global research. Read the full report.

The potential of culture in the virtual space: an unexpected story from the Sustainable on the Go Conference 2021

Together with York International and conference partners, such as the International Association of Universities (IAU), the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), and Okayama University JapanYork´s UNESCO Chair organized a virtual conference in January 2021 that brought together more than 500 participants from 60 + countries. As many other institutions, we were facing the challenge of turning an in-person event into a meaningful virtual experience that would bring together experts from sustainability as well as internationalization, and inclusive education.
Being connected closely to UNESCO, we put a particular emphasis on cultural contributions to enhance our conference program. A presentation held by York´s Associate Professor Patrick Alcedo led to a wonderful further outcome. Patrick specializes in the folk dances of the Philippines and presented opportunities on using dance as a pedagogical tool. Our longtime INTEI colleague Faye Snodgress, an American education expert, participated in this particular cultural event during our conference as her family did not only have connection to the Philippines but was in possession of particular artifacts that were believed to be rare. Faye was interested in returning the pieces to where they belonged and reached out to Patrick after the conference.
With his support, Faye was able to return these cherished artifacts to their Philippine home a few months after the event. Thank you to all that were involved in creating such a wonderful conference outcome. While the Sustainable on the Go Conference 2021 with the Toronto Declaration focused on the future of internationalization in higher education in an era of uncertainty, it once more showed the wide potential of culture to connect humans from all backgrounds. Read the full story.

The York UNESCO Chair is on YouTube

Missed an event or would like to watch a certain lecture again? No problem anymore! Check out our channel on YouTube! You can find introductions to our work, specific lectures on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and the recordings of virtual events. The latest additions are conference lectures from
the International Conference on Mathematics and Science Education in Indonesia and the first Agriculture, Biosystems and Technology Conference on Scaling Up Innovative Solutions for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agricultural Transformation.

Mapping our global networks

Check out this map highlighting our partner networks in 50+ countries. Together, we are engaged in promoting sustainability as a purpose of education. These longstanding and trusted relationships are at the core of our efforts towards achieving the SDGs and the Global 2030 Education Agenda. If you are a colleague from a partner institution in the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions (INTEI), the #IndigenousESD research network, and/or the SDG 4 IAU-HESD Cluster, you can check your institution to keep this map up to date with contact details and video or photo links.

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