By UNESCO MGIEP
At UNESCO Week, MGIEP puts youth, innovative pedagogies at the heart of the dialogue on education for peace and sustainable development

March 10, Ottawa—At the recently concluded UNESCO Week for Peace and Sustainable Development: Role of Education in Ottawa, UNESCO MGIEP’s interventions gained recognition for enabling the youth to take centre stage be it at the Talking Across Generations on Education (TAGe) plenary, the launch of the mobile-based game World Rescue or the YESPeace workshop.

In the months leading up to the conference, UNESCO MGIEP ran an extensive social media campaign engaging youth from across the globe in a discussion on Education for Peace and Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education. From the thousands of youth who participated, a cohort of 40 high-calibre youth from as many countries was selected for participation in the UNESCO Week.

At the TAGe plenary, these youth came together with 15 high-profile policymakers and officials including Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education Ontario and Ambassador Dessima Williams, Special Adviser for Implementation of the SDGs among others, to discuss the role of teachers in education for peace and sustainable development. The dialogue was moderated by educator Paul Darvasi and Danika Littlechild, vice-president of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO and got off to an inspiring start with YESPeace champion Emmanuel Kelly telling his story of triumph in the face of challenges.

The delegates did not mince words while talking of the evolving roles of educators and questioned the policymakers about why the latter are not supported by the governments making it challenging for them to meet the demands of the education systems of today.

The session which was streamed live on the web was also followed extensively on social media, especially Twitter  where users were encouraged to tweet in their questions live for the moderators to include in the discussion. The campaign has generated more than 20 million impressions in twittersphere.

Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO joined the enthusiastic cohort of youth delegates to launch MGIEP’s innovative mobile-based game World Rescue which is based on the SDGs. The game was very well received at the conference and has already been downloaded more than 8200 times.

Further underscoring the role of transformative pedagogies, UNESCO MGIEP organised a panel discussion that brought together teachers, content and game-developers to discuss how game-based learning can change the way we teach in the 21st century. The panel focused on sharing their experience of blending games in their classroom to steer away from traditional models of teaching to ensure that learners are fully engaged, drive their own learning and at the same time achieve the overall learning objectives. In particular, the panel shared how games are gaining popularity in the realm of empathetic learning and perspective taking by raising awareness among learners about various social, economical and environmental issues around the world.

The diverse youth cohort was also given an introduction to key concepts of empathy and compassion; two of MGIEP’s pedagogical approaches under the auspices of the YESPeace project during the dual workshops held for the duration of the conference. UNESCO MGIEP’s staff facilitated the workshops with the support of external resources Paul Darvasi.

The youth were exposed to the fundamentals of critical Inquiry, with a lot of concentration on conceptual inquiry; one of the many tenets of critical inquiry. The rich discussions emanating from the workshops spanned across topics like identity, citizenship, global citizenship, sustainability and well-being. Through the collaborative and discursive process of constant questioning, deconstruction and reconstruction, a spark of uncertainty and disbelief was lighted in the youth, and they were able to start seeing the interconnectedness of concepts like ESD and GCED that are currently compartmentalized.

By the end of the workshops, majority of the youth delegates had developed the attitude of being uncertain and critical of everything, even the little concepts that everyone takes for granted. They were also able to see the rich potential of using games in teaching empathy and compassion.

At the closing ceremony of the conference, Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, director UNESCO MGIEP reiterated the need to listen to the voices of the youth and urged all to join forces and work towards the common goal of peace and sustainable development.

Read daily conference highlights in a bulletin written by the youth delegates:

YouthINK Day 1
YouthINK Day 2
YouthINK Day 3
YouthINK Day 4-5

Related articles:

Are video games the key to world peace?
—CBC Radio: Paul Darvasi on games for learning

For more information contact:

—Gauri Khanduja, Programme Officer, World Rescue: g.khanduja@unesco.org
—Simon Kuany Kiir Kuany , Programme officer, TAGe: s.kuany@unesco.org
—Piyali Sarkar, Programme officer, YESPeace: p.sarkar@unesco.org
—Radhika Bhatnagar, Communications officer: r.bhatnagar@unesco.org

 

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