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workshop – (education for a) Cosmopolitanism beyond Comfort Zones

A workshop organised in New York alongside the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (taking place from 9 – 18 July 2019, New York)

The 2019 United Nations High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals has education as one of the main themes. On this occasion, we want to reflect on what education for sustainable development would need to be today and tomorrow, taking into account equality in terms of access to education and the fact that the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals is universal, independent as it is from national, cultural, religious or ethnic context.

The basic idea to be proposed and elaborated in the workshop is that education should help any child and adolescent to become a self-reflexive, open and tolerant cosmopolitan. There are reasons to conclude that, still today, most approaches to education now mainly prepare our children to function as one-dimensional uncritical subjects in the political, economic, social and spiritual systems of our society . Children and adolescents have the right to be educated differently, with the aim to make them more resilient to all kinds of potential  conflictuous, capitalist, conformist and fundamentalist manipulations of our co-existence  and to help them to live better with themselves and each other in our complex society . As a consequence, the chances are bigger they would become more reflexive, responsible and tolerant adults later on.

To make matters more concrete, we want to invite all relevant actors (civil society representatives, policy makers, activists, academics, …) to reflect with us on the possibility, need and feasibility of developing a universal curriculum and an educational toolkit  that can be used as reference for first, secondary and higher education anywhere in the world.

and this on the following topics:

– Worldviews.
– Human ecology.
– Religion in its social context.
– Spirituality and interspirituality.
– What can and should democracy be?
– Science and technology in its social context.
– What can and should sustainable development be?
– The possibility of tradition, creativity, transition and innovation.

As a preparation to the workshop, the first half of 2019 will be devoted to discussions and research visits with the aim to draft a working text “on the need for an Education for a Cosmopolitanism beyond Comfort Zones”. That text would then be discussed in the July workshop and taken from there as inspiration for further reflection in follow-up workshops in cooperation with local and international organisations working on the spirit of education and of education reform.

Contact us if you would like to cooperate!