More than 200 teacher educators, policy makers and practitioners met in Okayama, Japan in November to explore and discuss new trends in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The 2019 Global Conference of Teacher Education of ESD was co-organized by the UNESCO Chair at Okayama University, Atsufumi Yokoi, and York University’s UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability, Charles Hopkins.
During the conference, many presentations focused on Indigenous education and participants shared best practices and experiences from projects from across all UN regions.
Attendees from the post-secondary education sector celebrated the adoption of a new framework “Education for Sustainable Development: Beyond 2019” and committed to promote that ESD be fully embedded in their institutions.
The four-day international conference highlighted that educating the next generation for a sustainable future is a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the past 20 years, the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions (INTEI), coordinated by the UNESCO Chair at York University, has played an important role in implementing ESD and providing evidence-based knowledge for UNESCO.
Looking forward, Hopkins, together with his team and the INTEI, said they plan to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts to make education a transformative force for sustainability, and set a strong focus on ESD for Indigenous youth.
York University – ranked among the Top 5 in Canada and 26th in the world for “impact” in the new Times Higher Education ranking – supports the network collaboration and international research that serves the United Nations to strengthen its international outreach.
Hopkins holds the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability at York University, where he coordinates two research networks focused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). One network is comprised of teacher education institutions spanning 70 countries aiming to embed ESD to improve the education. The second network, covering 40 countries, particularly focuses on Indigenous youth. Hopkins consults for institutions worldwide including governments, universities and school systems. He is advisor to the UNU’s network of Regional Centres of Expertise, UNESCO-UNEVOC and co-director of the Asia-Pacific Institute on ESD, China.