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On August 27, as part of the UN’s 65th Annual Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organization (DPI/NGO) Conference in New York, SGI sponsored a workshop promoting education for global citizenship (EGC) and its role in the post-2015 development agenda. Some 200 representatives from civil society and the UN development field attended the workshop, held at the UN Headquarters. Other sponsors of the event were the Bahá’í International Community, Global Movement for the Culture of Peace, Human Rights Education Associates, UN Sustainable Development Education Caucus and Values Caucus.
Former UN Under-Secretary General and High Representative Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury gave the keynote address, highlighting the self-transformative nature of education for global citizenship and its vital role in creating the culture of peace. “Progress requires a determination to treat each one of us as a global citizen. We are part of a bigger humanity,” he said. Speaking of the increasing relevance of EGC in development circles and for decision makers, Dr. Chowdhury said, “I believe that education for global citizenship is for all of us, irrespective of age, irrespective of whether we are going through a formal education process or not.”
related article SGI Contributes to Forum on Global Citizenship On November 18, in co-operation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN and SGI, Inter Press Service (IPS) organized a Forum on Global Citizenship at the Sri Lankan Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Other panel speakers included Anjali Rangaswami of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Min Jeong Kim, Head of the UNESCO Global Education First Initiative Secretariat Team. Saphira Rameshfar of the Bahá’í International Community moderated the discussion.
Workshop participants also broke into smaller groups to share their perspectives on the scope and definitions of education for global citizenship, possible approaches to measuring its success, and the kind of outcomes they hoped for as a result of its implementation.
Some of the key values of EGC discussed were: the ability to perceive reality from another’s perspective, recognition of the differences between cultures and recognition that we all belong to one human family who share the earth’s resources.
“Education is linked to all areas of sustainable development and is vital in achieving all Sustainable Development Goals and targets. Education for global citizenship deserves particular attention and emphasis as it helps link issues and disciplines, brings together all stakeholders, and fosters shared vision and objectives,” commented Hiro Sakurai, director of the SGI UN Liaison Office in New York.
With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015, a schedule for the post-2015 development agenda and the drafting of a new set of development goals, the sustainable development goals (SDGs), is under way. Education for global citizenship is specifically mentioned in the current draft of the SDGs, which slates universal secondary education as one of its targets. The Global Education First Initiative launched in 2012 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon identifies fostering global citizenship as one of the three priority areas.
For more on SGI’s perspective of education for global citizenship, refer to pp. 10–12 of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2014 Peace Proposal.
[Adapted from a report from the SGI UN Liaison Office in New York; photo courtesy of Hiro Sakurai]
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