Between 28 and 30 January 2015, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO, the Second UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education Building peaceful and sustainable societies: preparing for post-2015 will take place, in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative. The main goal of the Second Forum is to contribute to the discussions on global citizenship education in the post-2015 development agenda – focusing on how it can foster not only cognitive skills but also those values, attitudes and skills that are necessary for forging a more peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable world.
With its mission, educational reputation and agenda in mind, AFS Intercultural Programs will once again be represented at this event, following a successful cooperation at the First Forum organized two years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. This is especially important as AFS gathered more than 1000 people, including luminaries in the world of peace and justice at the AFS Global Intercultural Education Symposium – Learning to Live Together, from Ideas to Actionin November 2014 in Paris, France, organized under the patronage of UNESCO. AFSers and participants of this Symposium made a bold statement about the importance of global citizenship education and the role AFS has taken to advance this movement, and we see the Second Forum as yet another part of our on-going collaboration with UNESCO.
We welcome this opportunity to continue the important discussions in this field and to strengthen our active role in championing global citizenship education. In the Second Forum, AFS will be represented by six of our volunteers from AFS France and two more from the European Pool of Trainers of the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL). AFS International’s Education Content and Communications Manager, Hazar Yildirim, will also participate as a panelist during a session on knowledge sharing and networking for global citizenship education where he will share AFS’ continuous commitment to providing structured intercultural learning opportunities and resources for volunteers and staff to help them gain the knowledge and skills to facilitate intercultural learning experiences of others.
Global citizenship education is an objective of UNESCO’s education program, drawing on work in related areas such as peace and human rights education, education for sustainable development and others. The Forum is a unique opportunity to consider current trends and future needs in the area of global citizenship education, as it will identify policy priorities and strategies for the global citizenship education in practice.
Among about 150 participants at the Second Global Forum are permanent delegations to UNESCO, global citizenship education experts, teachers and education practitioners, research institutions and universities, the private sector, media, policy makers, UN agencies, civil society organizations, youth representatives and other development partners. Youth related issues will have a special spot at the Forum, with UNESCO plans to fully involve young participants as speakers and organizers. AFS is glad to be a part of this diverse group whose discussions are shaping the future of global citizenship education.