Learning to live together sustainably in cities

© UNESCO/P. Wiggers
In Menelik School, Addis Ababa, one visually impaired child (centre) can participate using Braille. Inclusive education strives to end all forms of discrimination.

In cities, education policies typically cater for highly diverse populations. Providing education to all - in particular to girls, persons with disabilities, migrants, the poorest and the marginalized - is a complex exercise requiring effective public services and the collaboration of numerous partners. Cities provide life chances and opportunities unavailable elsewhere but they can also be harsh, violent and unforgiving environments where the sustainability of lifestyles, production, employment and civil peace can be stretched to the limit. As places where individuals, families, communities and social groups exist within multiple and shifting relationships of interdependence, cities are a testing ground of our capacity to live together - and education vital to the task of acquiring that capacity. Learning to live together sustainably in cities is one of the most important educational challenges of our time.

The school is a unique institution as a means of establishing a connection between world problems and local life, of serving as an enabler of change and of facilitating the acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary to function as an active and responsible citizen. Local authorities have a strategic role to play in making these vehicles of learning, training and personal development available to citizens. At the same time, the capacity to live together is not acquired and developed only within the walls of formal educational establishments but is generated through a wide range of non-formal and informal modalities of learning. Cities are themselves the site of continuous exchanges of knowledge and information through which people’s thinking and understanding are transformed. The challenge of sustainability requires learning how to change and nowhere is this more urgent or important than in urban settings.  

Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Activities to include:

  • Opening of Shanghai International Forum on Lifelong Learning (19-21 May 2010), jointly organised by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning on behalf of UNESCO, in cooperation with the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, the Chinese Society of Educational Development Strategy and the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO.
  • Multimedia presentation
    • Five CD-ROMs to promote “Education for Sustainable Urban Development”
      • Art at the service of citizens
      • A city at the service of its citizens
      • When urban waste becomes an agricultural resource
      • The Nubian vault
      • The urban gardens of Havana
    • Patrimonito’s World Heritage Adventures (5 in the series)
      ESD video footage provided by the Asia-Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), on “Caring in the Pacific” and “Sea Journey”

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