UNESCO initiative on the "Futures of education" launches edited volume
As part of a global UNESCO initiative on the Futures of Education, launched in 2019, a new book was released in January 2020. The volume "Humanistic futures of learning. Perspectives from UNESCO chairs and UNITWIN networks" addresses how knowledge and learning can contribute to dealing with a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precariousness. UNESCO chair holders from all over the world present their expertise on topics such as communities of knowledge, participatory learning, the democratization of knowledge, or disruptive innovation in universities. Benno Werlen and Howard Blumenthal, member of the chair's advisory board, contributed a piece on "Global understanding, education and sustainability."
The UNESCO initiative is particularly geared to promote perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences. As Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, stated, "Our deeply humanist DNA cannot let us reduce education to a technical or technological issue, nor even to an economic one." To counteract recent trends of a marketization or instrumentalization of learning and shape humanistic futures of education, UNESCO has set up an independent International Commission under the leadership of H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The commission is composed of leading representatives from the scientific community, politics, and public life. For example, it includes influential public intellectuals such as Arjun Appadurai or Evgeny Morozov, leading researchers from the educational sciences such as António Nóvoa, or Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia and current head of the World Leadership Alliance/Club de Madrid. The recently published volume and the commission's 2020 report will serve to stimulate public debate on the futures of education and help to shape respective policies.
UNESCO offers various ways to get involved in this initiative. On an online platform, contributions can be made as text, participation in a survey, or artistic work.