UN DPI/NGO Briefing, ECOSOC Chamber
United Nations Headquarters, New York - 3 April 2014, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM.
"Education for Global Citizenship"
Global citizenship can create powerful action in the world
Report by Hande SUBASILAR
General Secretary & 1st Alternate Representative of
The Light Millennium
to the UN
|Background: General Assembly UN Declaration and Programme of Action of a Culture of Peace, from September 1999, set the guidelines on how people, governments and the UN could work together towards the common goals of creating a better future civilization. The Programme of Action has included fostering the culture of peace through education and encouraging nation states to include values of peace, human rights and democracy within their education systems. It led to the Secretary General’s September 2012 five-year Global Education First Initiative, which has aimed to accelerate progress in supplying children around the world with the basic competencies necessary in order to address the problems of the 21 century.
The “Education for global citizenship” has been vital in fostering the culture of peace. As evidenced by the results of the UN My World Global Survey taken by 1.5+ million global citizens in 194 countries who voted on what is most important achieve a better world. Across every category of civil society, the top priority was education. Source DPI/NGO.
The discussion commenced with the moderator Ms. Ozioma Egwuonwu, founder of BurnBright International and member of New Futures Foundation NGO and, explaining the idea of global citizenship by the question of what is it really mean to be a global citizen and the role of education towards that? With education formed by culture of peace global citizenship can create powerful action in the world. Ms. Ozioma stated that, promoting “education for global citizens” was one of the most powerful ideas we can embrace today to create the foundation for the culture of peace.
Then the moderator gave the floor to H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN. Ambassador Chowdhury mentioned global citizenship requires transforming the way children think. The foundation of global citizenship is laid in childhood, when children learn compassion and empathy. Global citizenship is not only preparing children for the future but also preparing ourselves to guide our children for world of the future.
Ambassador Chowdhury continued his remarks emphasizing four essential elements to look into this issue.
1- Individuals: Self transformation is a key to global citizenship.
2- Intergenerational dimension.
3- Inclusivity of all, not just children in school.
4- Institutional measures: we have to have the institutions to create global citizenship.
He cited that institutions must aim to put more children in schools especially girls and improve the quality of education. In concluding, Mr. Chowdhury pointed out the idea of global citizenship relates closely with the concept of the culture of peace that both dealt with human minds, trying to change every individual into an agent of peace, to be able to handle conflicts in a nonviolent way.
UNESCO was created to promote and build peace in the minds of men and women
Next, UNESCO NY Director & Global Education First Initiative Secretariat Ms. Vibeke Jensen shared her remarks about what global education means. She stated that the global citizenship education was a concept that articulated the overall purpose of education and it recognizes the relevance of education understanding and resolving social, political, cultural and global issues. It stresses the interconnected world that we are living in. It also recognizes the role of education in moving beyond development of knowledge and skills in order to promote social transformation and empowering learners to become proactive contributors to the culture of peace. Ms. Jensen stressed the importance of education towards Post 2015 agenda. The goal of sustainable development requires education and it is very important to get all the children access to schools. She also mentioned quality of education also very important that there are children finished at least 4 years of elementary education but still did not get basic educational skills like reading, writing, etc.
In conclusion Ms. Jensen reminded that UNESCO was created in 1945 to promote and build peace in the minds of men and women through international dialog and cooperation in the areas of education, science and culture.
Education for global citizenship was an embracing, holistic concept that must receive much wider government and civil society participation
After Ms. Jensen’s remarks, Mr. Hiro Sakurai, Soka Gakkai Representative to the United Nations took the floor. First of all he acknowledged all the youth representatives of the NGO’s present at the Briefing. Then he shared a personal story about a friend’s mother who saw the news about two suicide bomber girls in the Middle Eastern on TV, then she sadly went to family altar and prayed for both those girls and those who killed by the explosion. She did not let the distance stop her carrying other people.
Mr. Sakurai then discussed the question of “what is education for global citizenship?” He indicated that education for global citizenship is really a dynamic concept combining two powerful elements education and global citizenship. Education not only involves schools but also involves family, the local community, civic engagements. It can help people to transform themselves and the environment. He also mentioned the importance of women’s leadership and equality. He stressed that education for global citizenship was an embracing, holistic concept that must receive much wider government and civil society participation towards Post 2015 development agenda.
After Mr. Sakurai’s points the discussion concluded and the floor opened for questions.