Issue 82/2015 of the international journal Adult Education and Development (AED) explores the topic global citizenship education.
In the international debates, we are witnessing a growing interest in the concept of global citizenship education. It is one of the three pillars of the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) launched by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2012 and is being internationally promoted by the work of UNESCO. According to the GEFI, education that fosters global citizenship “must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies”. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, refers to global citizenship as one tool to “ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development”.
The ambitions are high, but the concrete understanding of global citizenship education and its implications differ widely. Is it just another abstract concept? What meaning can the word citizenship have if it does not refer to a specific nation? What do people in different parts of the world understand by global citizenship? And how can global citizenship education be put into practice?
Adult Education and Development decided to engage in the debate and invited authors from different regions, backgrounds and disciplines to share their thoughts and experiences on the topic and related questions such as identity, migration, peace, the meaning of citizenship, globalisation and sustainable development.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, explains the organisation’s understanding of global citizenship education, and why adult education and “learning beyond the classrooms” are crucial when it comes to promoting global citizenship. Canadian author and journalist Doug Saunders (“Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World”) talks about the challenges and opportunities of what he refers to as the last great human migration, that from the countryside to the cities, and about the positive role adult education can play during this transition.
In the section “Citizens’ voices” people from all over the world talk about what global citizenship means to them and in what ways they see themselves as global citizens. And photographer Viktor Hilitksi travelled through Belarus and captured with his camera how villages rediscover their local traditions and cultures.