Teachers: A Force for 21st Century Global Citizenship

At the heart of the educational system, teachers hold the keys to a better future for all. In their mission to transmit universal values such as human rights, respect, justice and cultural diversity, they help transform younger generations into global citizens of the 21st century.

The world is facing global challenges that cannot be fully resolved within national boundaries. Sustainable solutions have to be found through collaborative and coordinated responses, at both local and global levels, that involve a wide range of stakeholders in the public and private sectors.

We also need engaged and globally-minded citizens able to take up the challenges to build a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world. This implies rethinking education and how it can contribute to the formation of global citizenship.

In a globalized world, education cannot be limited to reading, writing and numeracy skills alone. It must also seek to nurture non-cognitive skills such – ie. empathy, interpersonal communication, self-confidence, curiosity - that are conducive to international understanding and solidarity.

This approach to education includes valuing schools and centers of learning as places where all girls and boys, women and men, can develop competences that allow them to consider their rights and obligations to promote a better world and future.

With this concern in mind, what is the specific role of teachers in developing global citizenship? How can they be change agents in the classrooms and the wider school community? How can we best design teacher training systems to support these goals?

These questions and more will be discussed at UNESCO Headquarters on Friday 4 October 2013, in celebration of World Teachers’ Day. The speakers taking part in the debate include:

  • Soo-Hyang Choi, UNESCO Director of the Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development
  • Utak Chung, Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) in Republic of Korea
  • Bahia Baalbaki, Head of Educational Affairs Committee in Public Secondary Schools' Teachers in Lebanon
  • Charles Gitau Mwaniki, Acting Senior Assistant Director of Education, State Department of Education, Kenya.

The panel will be chaired by Oliver Liang of the International Labour Organisation.

During this discussion, UNESCO will share an operational definition of global citizenship education (GCE) and related competences that was sketched out at the recent Technical Consultation on Global Citizenship Education that took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in September 2013.

UNESCO is leading the global reflection on this shifting paradigm where school is considered as an active contributor to building a peaceful and sustainable future on a global scale.

For more information on World Teachers’ Day 2013

To attend events at UNESCO HQ contact : wtd@unesco.org


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