EDUCATION AND THE STATE OF THE WORLD
3rd International Roundtable
September 5-9, 2000
Organized by the State of the World Forum and the Council for Global Education
Venue: New York (opposite UN Plaza)
The main purpose of the Forum is to build consensus at the highest levels for a new vision of education in which peace and coexistence are fully integrated, and to prepare an international charter for education for the 21st Century that would be submitted for acceptance by the UN agencies and individual governments (who will be brought to the Forum and whose participation will be sought from the beginning with the view to getting their commitments to a mutually agreed new charter on education initiated at this Forum).
The purpose outlined above will be met by using the Forum as a vehiclefor the following:
- initiating an ongoing dialogue and learning process about what constitutes education for the 21st century and about learning to live with diversity in a global community
- how education may be remolded as a vehicle for creating a more compassionate world in which coexistence is possible and in which war is eliminated
- what curriculum development and other specific measures may be taken by individuals, institutions and governments to enable this to happen
- preparing an agenda for action and implementation at the worldwide level and
- creating enabling institutions and supporting networks to allow these objectives to be operationalized and to assess their ongoing progress and impact at the worldwide level
In essence, the objectives will be to define a new education for coexistence and peace; to discuss, reach consensus, evaluate and recommend new structures in education for ongoing implementation and innovation; and, to prepare the way for the wider scale implementation and assessment of actions in support of these objectives.
Finally, and mostimportantly, an agenda for action will be prepared based on inputs fromthe participants and a new charter for education in the 21st century will be finalized. Part of the process will be to ensure that right individuals from individual countries are invited who are able to help in the adoption of this charter by their governments.
At a more detailed level, the Forum would be a vehicle for learning, assessing and implementing the following:
- What examples already exist of this kind of education and what lessons may be learned from them for replication and wider scale application.
- What existing vehicles may be utilized right away to begin a wide scale implementation process
- What new institutions may be created or may be necessary to move the agenda forward
- What processes and strategic agendas may be set into motion to allow for the circle of learning and implementation to widen to include more people, more institutions, more educators, more policy makers and more social workers, motivators and actors.
- Are there any collective declarations that can be made to reach a common understanding and statement of goals and objectives of this exercise. For example, a declaration similar to the Human Rights Declaration and an Index of Human Development that can be the basis for international dialogue on these matters and a vehicle for reaching worldwide consensus.
- What core curriculum and teacher training programs can be created by initiatives of the Forum and then used as input to create local and regional curriculum for individual country applications
- What diversity training programs may be created to facilitate orientation of a large body of workers whose jobs could facilitate dialogue among disparate groups, and to internalize such training in the professional training programs of such employees as social workers, community workers etc.
- What training and learning opportunities may be provided to the participants of the forum itself so that they can be empowered to carry the vision forward, to help implement these aspects in their own contexts and through their own spheres of influence.
- Aligning and indentifying a greater body of individuals or institutions that can help to carry this agenda forward in their own countries and at the global level beyond those that are able to participate in the Forum.
- What financial mechanisms may be put into place to allow for new projects and innovations to be funded as needed. For example, a clearinghouse of information and a vehicle for connecting projects to sources of funding, or even the establishment of a Global Education Fund to which institutions and governments may provide on-going support.
- What awards and recognitions can be set up to encourage these initiatives internationally and to award those who are making significant contributions to these objectives.
- What evaluations and targets can be built-in within the charter that will allow for the individual countries to assess their own progress towards reforms in education for the 21st Century.
These and other aspectsof utilizing the Forum as a vehicle to further the coexistence educationagenda will be considered before objectives and methods for the Forum are finalized. In particular, we will consider how to make the Forum a catalyst for a wide variety of actions and a launch pad for a greater process that can be put into motion. The Forum itself will be an opportunity to align the thinking process, to reach common understanding, to build a coalition with a wide variety of peoples from all over the world whose work may further these objectives, and to start a worldwide process of learning and implementation.
This first joint Forum will lead to other annual forums where progress can be monitored, where new avenues can be identified, and where new andmore individuals and institutions invited to help meet similar objectives,and where, in the final analysis, governments, institutions and individuals commit to these goals. Annual meetings will be supported with ongoing dialogues and ad-hoc sessions through video conferencing with an online access to panels of experts on the various issues. Other means of communication,such as the Internet, will be utilized. A new Web site will be created for the sole purpose of furthering the objectives of this Forum establishing within it, for example, a Bank of Ideas in Action in which a wide variety of people globally can participate. This would be linked to awards and prizes to make the site popular and for encouraging a wider level participationand dialogue for awareness building leading finally to more actions.
Participation is by invitation to the following:
- policy makers (permanent secretaries of education, ministers of education, directors of curriculum, superintendents of schools, government researchers and in particular those who can influence policy decisions)
- influential persons (such as heads of state, ambassadors, royalty, TV personalities, media gurus, Nobel Laureates, well-known authors, and experts on issues of relevance to the Forum)
- Bretton Woods Institutions (the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF and other relevant UN Agencies)
- media outlets
- the donor community (Bilateral and Multilateral, Private, Corporate and Philanthopic Foundations)
- educators and diversity workers (teachers, teacher trainees, trainers of teachers, principals, university education departments and training college staff, researchers, community workers and others who work in the field of inter-community relations, social work and education)
- other individuals and institutions that promote similar-minded objectives (e.g. Jimmy Carter and his foundation Children First, NGOs active in the field of education/community building, and other institutions working on education reform).