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UNESCO Chair Newsletter May 2024

Welcome to the May 2024 edition of the York UNESCO Chair newsletter!

May is a month with many international days to celebrate, among them the World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the International Day of Living Together in Peace on 16 May, the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on 17 May, and World Bee Day on 20 May. This is a small selection of international days, currently observed by the United Nations (UN), to raise awareness and to create action for particular topics aligned with the objectives of the global community in embracing the full mandate of what sustainability entails.

Higher education students around the world have long been active to shape and act upon their values and worldviews including peace, sustainable development, and the well-being of societies. In engaging, they embody the values of Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) they have acquired. Discussing complex and difficult themes in respectful and informed ways leading to responsible action is at the heart of what teachers hope to achieve through ESD/GCED-infused quality education. Focusing on shared perspectives, peacefully striving towards overcoming socio-cultural, economic, and environmental differences is necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a constructive way forward. More dialogue is needed to engage in peaceful practice for a shared future as it remains true what the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon so famously said in 2014 - There is no Planet B.

We invite you to browse through the articles in this newsletter and encourage you to share the events and opportunities with your colleagues. Thank you for your interest!

Best wishes,

Charles Hopkins & Katrin Kohl

UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability, York University Canada

Join the new UN-SDSN ESD webinar series: Now or Never! on 3 May 2024

Education is crucial for a sustainable and peaceful future. Yet, many education systems struggle to transform legacy structures to respond to evolving demands of the future. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand have all taken bold steps to transform education. Moving from transforming education to education transforming society requires a complex mix of political will, financing, curricular and pedagogical changes, capacity-building, in-school, and community support systems. On 3 May 2024, this webinar is a first in a new series addressing the challenges and opportunities in navigating these multifaceted themes and transforming education through ESD. Speakers will present the progress made to date in each country with a particular emphasis on what needs to come next.

UN Civil Society Conference in Nairobi (Kenya) on 9-10 May 2024

In advance of the UN Summit of the Future in September, the 2024 UN Civil Society Conference will be held in Nairobi (Kenya) on 9-10 May 2024. The conference offers civil society organizations an opportunity to put a global perspective on specific issues. It is also a unique occasion for civil society organizations to network and share best practices at the international level. If you cannot attend, please share your voice by sharing your projects and/or how you are contributing to making the SDGs a reality by 2030.

UNESCO-UNFCCC Webinar Series on Climate Change Education for Social Transformation (Season 3) to begin on 14 May 2024

On 14 May 2024, UNESCO and UNFCCC will kick off this year's Webinar Series on Climate Change Education for Social Transformation Season 3 Greening teacher training and education systems’ capacities with its first session in a series of six webinars leading up to COP 29. The conversations will delve into the challenges at all levels of education, including early childhood, primary, secondary, and tertiary, from the diverse perspectives of teachers, educators, young people, and policymakers as well as explore concrete solutions to greening teacher training and education systems’ capacities to deliver quality climate change education.

For our Greater Toronto Area community: Vaughan's 'Better Your Business' celebrating 2nd generation of SDG leaders on 14 May 2024

On 14 May 2024, the Social and Environmental Sustainability Program of the City of Vaughan will be concluding its second year of supporting local businesses in becoming compliant with all 17 SDGs. The environmental initiative, part of the city's ongoing Better Your Business Program, was conducted by Vaughan resident Mark Terry, Adjunct Professor at York University and UNESCO Chair Associate. Through one-on-one consultations with participating businesses, Dr. Terry assesses the corporate sustainability practices of each business and suggests additional ways of complying with all 17 SDGs. Each participating business that completes the program receives a certificate from the city presented at a ceremony in the City Council chambers. This year's event will be held Tuesday, 14 May 2024 at 1:00 pm EST and is open to the public.

Join us for the 7th Annual Conference on ESD in Dilla (Ethiopia) on 24-25 May 2024

The 7th Annual Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Ethiopia is scheduled to be held in person in Dilla (Ethiopia) from 24-25 May 2024. More than 50 participants are expected to attend from the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST), colleges of teacher education, and theological seminaries. Under the theme on Partnership for Environmental Literacy and Sustainable Schools and Communities, the conference provides an opportunity to discuss emerging trends for the future of education and current priorities in ESD practice. Members of the network have opportunities to provide progress reports on institutional ESD implementation, learn from peers and share experience as well as best practices to build capacities in the region. UNESCO Chair Charles Hopkins is invited to offer keynote remarks on the holistic learning opportunities through successful ESD implementation. For more information, please feel to contact Addise Amado, Head of Development and Communications at EGST.

Photo credit: EGST - 2023 6th Annual Conference in Bonga (Ethiopia)

For our Canadian community: Together|Ensemble on 28-29 May 2024

The University of Waterloo invites interested stakeholders to participate in the 2024 Together|Ensemble Conference, Canada’s all-of-society conference on the SDGs. On 28-29 May 2024, the conference will be held as a hybrid event in Waterloo, ON (Canada) under the theme Innovation for the SDGs with three streams of curated content: AI and Emerging Technologies for Eco-Innovation; Future Cities; and Sustainable Finance. The Together|Ensemble Conference is an annual ‘whole of society’ gathering of SDG stakeholders in Canada. More than 250 delegates on site and a large online audience will explore innovations and partnerships for accelerating sustainable development in Canada.

Join us for the UNESCO ESD-Net Learning Webinar on whole-school and whole-institution approaches on 29 May 2024

Join us for the next session of the UNESCO ESD-Net Learning Webinar on whole-school and whole-institution approaches to take place online on 29 May 2024, co-organized with the UNESCO Beirut Office. The discussion will focus on promising practices and examples of 'whole-of' approaches using ESD to achieve sustainability with practice examples from the Arab Region. This webinar is part of a series of interactive learning webinars of the global network ESD-Net2030. Building upon UNESCO’s worldwide community of practice on ESD, this network creates synergies among members and fosters cross-sectoral collaboration to support the implementation of ESD nationally, regionally, and globally.

Synergies for Sustainability: Celebrating 10 Years of UNU-IAS on 19 June 2024

On 19 June 2024, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a festive event to be held at the Tokyo National Museum. Congratulations to the entire UNU-IAS Community! For more than a decade, UNU-IAS has served the international community by producing evidence-based knowledge and solutions to inform policymaking and to address priority issues for the UN system, particularly the role of ESD. UNU-IAS has developed innovative approaches and research methods to challenge conventional thinking and to find creative solutions to emerging issues of global concern, among them the important global network of Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD.

Call for abstracts: International Conference on SDGs Through 3ZEROs Approach and Practice in Alor Setar (Malaysia) on 25-26 June 2024

On 25-26 June 2024, Albukhary International University (AIU) is organizing an international conference on reimagining the SDGs through the concept of the 3 Zeros (Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, Zero Net Carbon Emission). This conference aims to provide insights and inspiration on elevating the role of social businesses for the SDGs and on creating sustainable solutions to address sustainability challenges. UNESCO Chair Charles Hopkins is invited to hold the keynote at AIU in Alor Setar (Malaysia). He will address the role of education, training, and public awareness in contributing to new cross-sectoral partnerships to enable social businesses to leverage complementary strengths and resources, driving collective action towards the SDGs for a better future for all. For those who wish to present, a call for papers is open until 31 May 2024.

For our Canadian community: have your say in a national consultation on environmental education

Environment and Climate Change Canada is working towards a National Framework for Environmental Learning. Environmental education as one dimension of ESD has a critical role in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. A national framework could allow key sectors coming together in supporting Canadians of all ages to better understand and act on environmental issues, manage eco-anxiety, and prepare for the jobs and life of tomorrow. Many dedicated champions of the environment and education have already been involved and you can be part of the conversation (discussion paper and survey) and here is another opportunity to have your say!

New publications

UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report: Technology in Education: a Tool on Whose Terms?

IAU 6th Global Survey on Internationalization in Higher Education

Midway to the deadline for the 2030 education targets in the SDGs, the 2024 gender edition of the recent Global Education Monitoring Report Technology on her terms warns that exposure to algorithm-driven, image-based content is a risk for girls. Being exposed to inappropriate material when using social media may - other than for boys - affect their well-being.

The IAU 6th Global Survey on the Internationalization of Higher Education analyses the findings in order to present global and regional trends in internationalization and explores long-term developments. The study also highlights differences between private and public institutions and shared understandings of benefits, risks, and challenges.

For young leaders: 9th International Youth Conference in Los Angeles on 30 May to 2 June 2024

The International Youth Conference 9 (IYC9) is scheduled to be held in person and online in Los Angeles, CA (USA) at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs from 30 May to 2 June 2024. IYC9 is positioned to contribute to the objectives of the upcoming UN Summit of the Future in September 2024, serving as a crucial platform for youth from across the globe to engage and contribute towards multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow. It extends the dialogue initiated at the SDG Summit last year, focusing on fostering innovation, unity, and youth empowerment to address global challenges and drive sustainable development. UNESCO Chair Associate Mark Terry contributes to the IYC movement with teaching on the Youth Climate Report, its role in climate negotiations, and the how-to of environmental documentaries.

For young leaders: you are invited to sign an open letter as it’s time to let #YouthLead

The United Nations Youth Office invites young people and their allies to sign an open letter to world leaders and join the movement calling for youth leadership. Young people emphasize the importance of more diverse perspectives around the decision-making table. They call on all leaders and institutions to take immediate action to make global policymaking and decision-making spaces more representative of the communities they serve. The next generation will live with the consequences of the decisions taken today. By championing intergenerational solidarity and finding innovative solutions even in the most challenging of circumstances, young people remind us that a better world is still possible.

For young leaders: apply to become a Junior Fellow of the United Nations University

Twice a year, the United Nations University (UNU) offers spots in a Junior Fellows Internship Program at the Office of the Rector, particularly encouraging graduate students with a strong interest in the UN system to apply. Following a competitive application process, successful candidates receive the opportunity to work at the UNU headquarters in Tokyo (Japan) with multiple opportunities for training, guidance, and hands-on experience. Applications are being accepted now until 10 May 2024.

For young leaders: Join the UNESCO #DanceForEducation Campaign

The African Union celebrates 2024 as Year of Education. Support the efforts and help UNESCO to reach youth, teachers, political leaders, social influencers, civil society, and the private sector to continue growing the global movement for SDG 4 Quality Education. How?

Find out more, start dancing to the Education is in the Air song and share the video on social media! Are you ready to groove? Let’s dance our way to a better world. Join us in this vibrant movement!

A best-practice report from UNESCO Chair network members: future teachers exhibit their perspectives on ESD in Pakistan

Photo credit: Professor Sadia Shaukat, UoE Lahore (Pakistan)

In April 2024, faculty members from the University of Education (Lahore, Pakistan) and students of the Bachelors of Education Honours Program curated an exhibition on campus focusing on the thematic width of ESD, addressing environment, social harmony, peace, gender equality, and human rights in the context of the SDGs. Students showcased their perspectives by creating innovative yet sustainably designed installations and products (bookmarks, greetings cards, low-cost cloth bags, etc.), representing the norms and values of education and highlighting the power of arts and crafts in addressing societal challenges. Conversations supported students in their reflections on transforming teaching styles to allow students to live what they learn and to become lifelong learners.

Call for abstracts: Environmental Education Association for Southern Africa Conference (EEASA 2024) on 17-19 September 2024

The 42nd EEASA Conference 2024 under the theme Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Transitioning into equitable, just and sustainable economies will be held in person at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka (Zambia) on 17-19 September 2024.

The EEASA Conference is aimed at facilitating environmental and sustainable development education within Southern Africa. An appropriate theme is selected for each conference. It provides a forum for practitioners and learners to share their experiences for developing suitable practices. This year’s theme responds to government efforts towards the global response to sustainable consumption and production as a critical component of a circular economy. The call for abstracts is open now until 31 May 2024.