Educating for Tomorrow's Unknowns: Sustainability Front and Centre
with Charles Hopkins (UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability)
Climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising inequalities, whether happening locally or in other parts of the world, not only impact our individual future but are central for collective action in tackling these and other global challenges. How can we understand global issues, and their interconnectedness? How can we learn to live sustainably and ethically without the feeling of only giving up or cutting back?
United Nations member states agreed upon a plan towards a sustainable future, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Countries are called upon to provide quality education that addresses our common future by positioning sustainability as a purpose of education and encouraging young people to become global citizens.
What does this exactly mean for educators, parents, and students? Are we to add more content to an already overcrowded curriculum? This presentation addresses roles and concrete ways for educators at all levels, education professionals, students, and parents to understand the need, become engaged, and make a difference.
Charles Hopkins holds the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability at York University in Toronto, Canada. This Chair, established in 1999, was the first to focus on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as an overarching concept and a purpose of education. Hopkins coordinates two global ESD research networks, the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions and the #IndigenousESD. The first network is comprised of teacher education institutions spanning 50 countries and focuses on enhancing ESD in preservice and in-service teacher training. The second network covering 40 countries aims to embed ESD in curricula to improve the education outcomes of Indigenous youth.
Internationally, Hopkins has a long relationship with education and sustainability, chairing the writing and adoption processes of several UNESCO ESD Declarations. An awarded education leader with several honorary doctorates and professorships, Hopkins has lectured and presented papers in approximately 75 countries. He is also the Co-Director of the Asia-Pacific Institute on ESD in Beijing, China.
The Faculty of Education’s Public Lecture Series features leading scholars from the Faculty sharing their research and scholarship on key publicly relevant issues in education and society.