The Maastricht Declaration on Global Education in Europe (2002) gave this definition of Global Education : “Global Education is education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all. Global Education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimensions of Education for Citizenship”. Many other institutions also proposed a definition of Global Education.
Global Education is an education perspective that started appearing as contemporary people live and interact in an increasingly globalised world. Education can be used as a tool to help learners to develop the opportunity and competences to reflect and share their own point of view about global issues, and role in this interconnected society. Education should also allow people people to understand and discuss complex relationships of common social, ecological, political and economic issues, and create new ways of thinking and acting.
Global Education as transformative learning aims to encourage people to act at a local level as a first step for global change. Participatory methods are used to include the participants and allow them to feel responsible over the planet and its people. Furthermore, participatory methods and experiential learning, pillar methods in Global Education, allow participants to connect local and global perspectives, and to shape a common vision for a more just and sustainable world. Different fields of education are tackled, as mentioned in the Maastricht Declaration on Global Education in Europe. Another aim of Global Education is to enable learners to understand global issues through different capacity-building trainings that focus not only on knowledge and skills but also values and attitudes, in order to help them face global problems, understand the complex processes of today’s interconnected world and develop attitudes that lead to constructive, non-violent resolution of conflicts. It is a social practice giving an opportunity to analyse, think critically about reality and build alternative attitudes, understand different cultures and promote participation in action.
Global Education uses its own content and methodology, different from formal education programmes and practices. It enables people to develop simultaneously three dimensions: the knowledge, values and attitudes, and skills needed for everyone to express the positive social changes they would like to to achieve. Global Education is based on these three dimensions which are used in all learning activities. The purpose is not to accumulate knowledge but to enrich the concepts and contents of all subjects and fields related to education, by widening their dimensions, aspects and interdependency, allowing for a more globalised understanding. Global Education fosters critical thinking and analysis, having different perspectives and approaches of a situation, intercultural competences in communication, teamwork conflict resolution, etc. All these skills enable the participants to construct and share their ideas while dealing with the complexity of global issues. Global Education’s activities try to develop values, based on knowledge of global issues and relevant skills in order to build attitudes for responsible global citizenship at individual and collective level.
Global Education reflects the world’s realities: it is based on contexts and needs of the workshop participants and on the reality of the local society surrounding this group; and then the reality of the global society influencing our local realities and the interconnections between them. This requires to first deconstruct ideas using a wide variety of resources, adapted to the different capacities and characteristics of the group (i.e. age, language knowledge, cultural background and physical capacities). The objectives and the different steps of the activity have to be clear and understandable to everyone, in order to make sure that everyone can participate, but also in order to build a common understanding of the realities of the world and how they are interconnected.
Application by the Global Education Unit
Future Worlds Center is a non-governmental organisation based in Nicosia, Cyprus since 1991. It is active in implementing projects with a future orientation whose aim is to bring about positive social change and to encourage social entrepreneurship. Future Worlds Center’s mission is to enable people to re-think and re-solve social challenges, both on the local and the European level. It is divided in different units, one of them being Global Education Unit.
Global Education Unit aims to promote and support active global citizenship through local, European and Global Initiatives; increase the understanding of global interdependencies, global issues and challenges, as well as their socio-economic and environmental impact; reflect on our role within a global society and create attitudinal change towards more sustainable lifestyles; equip the young generation with knowledge, tools and skills that will help them to confidently make sense of today’s complex, globalised society and focus on values and help shape young people’s attitudes. Global Education Unit uses different ways to reach its goals, such as equipping youth and educators with knowledge, skills and tools to increase awareness about global issues and to encourage action for a more just and sustainable world; engaging citizens of all ages in intercultural dialogue; supporting peace-building initiatives among young people; engaging citizens in conversations about the Sustainable Development Goals and encouraging discussion about alternative and more sustainable food systems. Many workshops, training with teachers, public events and other activities are organised. Global Education Unit has implemented and implements many projects via different international funding schemes, such as Map Your Meal, Global Education Goes Local and many others.