A daily conference bulletin by the youth reporters
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
At official opening of UNESCO Week, experts underscore crucial role of women and youth
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova officially opened the UNESCO Week for Peace and Sustainable Development: The Role of Education in Ottawa, Canada on 8 March together with Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Canada, and Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, Government of Ontario.
“We need new forms of education that promotes understanding between cultures, that strengthens the resilience of societies and provides the relevant skills to navigate the future,” said Ms Bokova, emphasizing the need to promote human rights, dignity, diversity and inclusion. Bringing in the importance of youth, Minister McKenna highlighted that “Young people are already leading; we need to listen to them. They not only care but also have more ambitious ideas that ever before for a more sustainable future.” Focusing on those who are on the frontlines in the classroom, Fred van Leeuwen, Secretary-General of Education International said: “Teachers create bonds within groups and build bridges across groups and communities. It is clear that efforts to improve teaching and learning will not succeed unless we trust, value and support teachers. We see this Conference as a clear token of UNESCO to support the teaching profession worldwide”. ” Since the opening also coincided with International Women’s Day, the leaders reiterated the need to “leave no woman behind” on the path to a sustainable world.
Youth lead from the front in intergenerational dialogue on role of teachers in ESD; discuss impact of technology, training and support of policymakers
At the opening of the UNESCO Week, youth delegates and policymakers joined forces for UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations on Education to discuss the role of teachers in ESD
To say that it was a power-packed gathering for UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations on Wednesday morning would be an understatement. The carefully chosen TAGe delegates who took the stage to discuss the Youth Perspectives on the Role of Teachers in Education for Peace and Sustainable development brought to the discussion not only a wealth of experience but also regional and professional diversity. The youth delegates came from 35 different nations and had been selected by UNESCO MGIEP via a rigorous application process that included participating in four weeks of online discussions.
Engaging in a dialogue with the youth were 15 distinguished experts cutting across academic, professional and regional expertise. Among them were Director General UNESCO Irina Bokova, Minister of Education Ontario, provincial parliament Mitzie Hunter, Special Adviser for Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Dessima Williams, UNESCO chair on GCED Dr Carlos Alberto Torres and other highly-established experts. The session got off to an inspirational start with UNESCO MGIEP’s first ever YESPeace champion and singer Emmanuel Kelly moving the audience with his story.
The dialogue began with moderators Paul Darvasi and Danika Littlechild posing the question regarding what a 21st-century teacher should look like. The responses from the experts and the youth drove home the realisation that teachers of today need to be superheroes to keep up with the changing needs of the students and the increased access to information.The experts brought in the question of support received by the teachers from other stakeholders including policymakers and the governments.
“For creating peace and sustainable development, dialogues such as the TAGe are essential,” said Irina Bokova, DG UNESCO. This point was further highlighted by the H.E. Mr Choong-hee Hahn
When touching upon the impact of technology on the role of the teachers, youth delegate Sandiso Sibisi from South Africa argued that in many regions the internet has not permeated to the extent of that in the Western world. The rich dialogue also touched upon the issues of teacher training, focus on assessment of students and new pedagogies.
The session ended on a high with Emmanuel Kelly once again taking the stage and sang a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine.
Irina Bokova, Director General UNESCO joins the youth to launch World Rescue—MGIEP’s innovative mobile-based game on SDGs
The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development today released World Rescue-a mobile-based game inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The game was officially released by Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO and Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP.
The research-based video game, takes the players across Kenya, Norway, Brazil, India, and China where they take on the roles of five young heroes to solve global problems—such as displacement, disease, deforestation, drought, and pollution—at the community level to achieve a more sustainable world.
“Digital games offer a double dividend: First, they offer a platform whereby learners can make mistakes as they learn concepts of peace and sustainable development; and second children actually have fun while learning,” said Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP at the launch.
World Rescue has been designed and developed by Pixel Perfect, a game development company based in Hungary that won UNESCO MGIEP’s first-ever International Gaming Challenge in 2015. The storyline of the game has been curated by Literary Safari. World Rescue is available for download free of cost on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store and has already been downloaded approximately 2000 times.
YESPeace Workshop: Mobilising youth and teachers to transform education for peace and sustainable development
After an exciting morning where the youth engaged in a rich dialogue during Talking Across Generations on Education (TAGe) on the role of teachers in ESD, the MGIEP youth delegates came together in full force for theYesPeace workshop.
The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for young people working in the area of formal, non-formal and informal education to share their work in the areas of peace, sustainable development and global citizenship and draw upon the discussions on the role of teachers.
The format of the session was designed to drive an action-oriented and participatory approach involving group work.
Interview with Emmanuel Kelly
UNESCO MGIEP’s first-ever YESPeace Champion
Q) Do you think that being a YESPeace champion will now put a lot more pressure on you or will it only empower you further to inspire?
It definitely is a great responsibility, but one that I am fortunate to be in a position to be given. I am honoured to be part of this campaign and hope to inspire and aspire to create and help achieve qualities of peace, sustainable development and above all, love. I actually feel more free to be who I am.
Q) What do you think are the common challenges that youth face today regardless of where they are and what they are doing?
The biggest problem I see is that there is a lack of a role models to aspire to be and at the same time lack of inspiration. I think that the only solution for this is that we should all aspire to be ourselves and be inspired by someone who always changes you for the better. In my case, i am lucky to have my mum and brother who have inspired me each step of the way in my journey to where I am today. They have had a tremendous impact on my life and I am so grateful to have had that.
Q) Do you think education has an important role to play in changing the mindsets?
I think that not only education, but the kind of education is important. Education systems are not teaching the students to be socially conscious.
The teachers need to realise that the skills that are needed today are not the skills that were needed ten years ago. They need to listen to the students.
Q) How would you explain the phenomenon of many educated youth from across the globe getting radicalised?
I strongly feel that entertainment industry is responsible to a large extent for creating unrealistic images in the minds of the young people of today. It also sends out wrong messages through what it thinks is entertaining; such as violence is alright. However, a larger problem is that children don’t have any immediate role models to turn to within their families. They turn to teachers for guidance and when they don’t get that kind of support from there too, the children are really lost and easily attracted to extremist ideologies.
Q) Do you think music can play an important role in closing the gaps that you just identified?
There is no doubt about this; music plays an important role in unifying people from across regions and cutting across ideologies. An example of this can be seen in Israel, where the biggest band is from Palestine and in Palestine where the biggest band is from Israel. Music has always been able to offer a beacon of hope and it does it in a way that is subtle. The lure of music is always fun and attractive but at the same time it has immense healing powers too.
Twitter highlights of the day
Impact on twitter: #tage and #UNESCOweekEd
Sessions for Day 4 (9 March, 2017)
Innovative pedagogies for ESD and GCED: Is game-based learning the future?
Community mapping to develop GCED skills
One world one compassion