Shaping Futures

Global Citizenship Education: a New Ethics for the World System?

Dr. Carlos Alberto Torres

Putting every child in school, improving the quality of learning and fostering global citizenship are the three principles of the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) launched by the United Nations in 2012. The three principles are intimately interrelated, and a cornerstone of the post-2015 development model advocated by the United Nations and its specialized agencies, particularly UNESCO, to be implemented until 2030.

Global Citizenship Education (GCE), in the words of UNESCO “… aims to equip learners of all ages with those values, knowledge and skills that are based on and instill respect for sustainability and that empower learners to be responsible global citizens. GCE gives learners the competencies and opportunity to realize their rights and obligations to promote a better world and future for all. GCE builds on many related fields such as human rights education, peace education, education for international understanding and is aligned with the objectives of education for sustainable development (ESD).” The realpolitik of the term refers to a sense of belonging to a broader community and a common humanity, emphasizing the interdependency and interconnectedness between the local, the national and the global.

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