By René Wadlow
The United Nations is preparing a “Transforming Education Summit” to be held in New York 17,18,19 September 2022 during the General Assembly. This is an opportunity for those involved in peacebuilding efforts to provide information and suggestions, especially as a major theme of the Summit is “Learning and Skills for Life, Work, and Sustainable Development.” As the preparatory text for the Summit states “Transforming education means empowering learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient, adaptable and prepared for the uncertain future while contributing to human and planetary well-being and sustainable development.”
Yet there is a wide-spread awareness that the current education systems are not preparing people to meet the challenges which face the current world society: armed conflicts, human rights violations, persistent poverty, mass migrations and the consequences of climate change. There is a feeling that society is crumbling, collapsing and is no longer creative. However, there is also a vision that education shall be directed to the full development of each person and to strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Education should promote understanding, respect, and friendship among peoples. Education should promote the advancement of a culture of peace, liberty, equality and non-violence.
Education for a world society is based on creative thinking that enables all people to contribute actively to our complex and interdependent world society. Thus, there is a need to help the United Nations System and Member States in their efforts to provide inclusive and quality education at all levels and to promote lifelong learning opportunities. We need to develop intercultural exchanges to prepare students and educators to think as Citizens of the World.
We need to build on the views expressed at the Transforming Education Summit to prepare government-sponsored and private education institutions to meet world society challenges and to highlight current weaknesses such as inadequate educational opportunities for girls and women. The Summit provides a vital opportunity for action.
*René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens