Global Futures Literacy Network: Chula Futures Literacy Week in Thailand
UNESCO Social and Human Sciences sector (SHS) has recently appointed Chulalongkorn University as UNESCO Chair for Resource Governance and Futures Literacy. The Chair has hosted a virtual Futures Literacy Week in early 2022, which included a Futures Literacy Laboratory, lectures and panel discussions from experts around the globe. The event was co-organized by the UNESCO National Commission in Thailand with the support of the Futures Literacy team at UNESCO SHS.
As a UNESCO Chair, Chulalongkorn University is eager to introduce Futures Literacy to its community members and partners as a learning opportunity that can empower all citizens to face challenges in current times. The Chair is an active member of the Global Futures Literacy Network and an important partner in the Asia Pacific regional node of UNESCO Chairs.
The event presented a great opportunity for students, local communities and international partners of Chulalongkorn University to be involved with Futures Literacy and its tools.
Co-designed by the Center for Social Development Studies, Chulalongkorn University and UNESCO SHS, the Futures Literacy Laboratory (FLL) on “The Futures of Climate Justice and Climate Action in 2050” aimed at building capacity around the design and implementation of FLL while discussing climate justice and action—an ever-pressing matter in Thailand and worldwide. The objectives of the Lab were to:
- Rethink knowledge and learning on climate change,
- Explore inclusive approaches to rethink governance systems, and
- Empower participants to act on climate change in creative ways.
In break-out rooms facilitated by peers, the participating students were able to share their visions of realistic and preferred futures, which was followed by being immersed in an alternative future where rocks were the basis for regenerative knowledge and young people were both simultaneously children and future ancestors. Inspired by this provocation, the students imagined themselves to be a swarm of bees, smart babies, Fijian elders facing displacement, and a river facing loss of her motherhood to participate in a climate negotiation. This gave rise to the possibility to rethink climate action and climate justice, with the students realising the co-dependence of each actor in shaping sustainable futures, and the necessity for involvement of non-human perspectives in climate action.
Following the laboratory, the co-design students shared their experience as facilitators, leading stimulating discussions with peers on important topics, and reflecting on their own actions and involvement for climate. They had embarked on this journey with great enthusiasm and gained the knowledge and tools to be able to carry out a Futures Literacy laboratory themselves.
The event represented an important milestone in the diffusion of Futures Literacy in Asia Pacific, and UNESCO SHS is looking forward to more collaborations to come with the Chair.