Judy Chaussalet, Head of Development at Think Global attended an event hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education (APPG) at the Houses of Parliament, on education for sustainable development and global citizenship. Here she shares her experience of the event.
On 21 May at the Houses of Parliament Westminster, six young people representing projects from across the country, used their voice to tell a packed audience how global learning has been important for them, and to call on our government to work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
Think Global were delighted to support and participate in this inspiring event Chaired by Jess McQuail, Think Global CEO. Focusing on sustainable development goal 4.7, it celebrated the valuable impact that global learning has, particularly on youth leadership and student voice. It was fantastic to have the meeting opened with addresses from Stephen Twigg MP (for Liverpool and Derby and Chair of the APPG on Global Education) and Harriet Baldwin MP (Minister of State for International Development and Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office). With young leaders from projects including, Think Global’s ‘Start the Change!’ programme, Oxfam’s Erasmus+ School Forums, Connecting Classrooms from the British Council, Send My Friend to School, International Citizens Service and the Global Learning Programme – the event show-cased a breadth of expertise in global learning to be proud of!
As Stephen Twigg MP highlighted, the SDG’s adopted in 2015 are based on principles of interdependence, universality and solidarity, with an imperative that no-one should be left behind – and it was wonderful to have these themes brought out throughout the evening.
Harriet Baldwin MP also emphasised the importance of education in bringing communities together and how global learning plays a critical role in this, so important for our society today.
Representatives from the East London Arts and Music Academy (ELAM) told about their work through ‘Start the Change’ – an exciting initiative which aims to understand young people’s views, and turn their ideas into citizenship projects for a more inclusive society. They highlighted how their project had provided a safe space for young people to talk about difficult issues and embrace alternative views; how ‘being well informed allowed them to develop solutions’ to current issues; and how they had used social media in a positive way to reach young people on difficult topics.
Other messages from across the projects that stood out for me were:
- By creating and leading events for social justice young people had developed leadership skills, learned how to create a campaign and developed knowledge and skills as global citizens that they would use not only now, but for the rest of their lives (Schools Forums)
- ‘We will not rest until our government takes responsibility to achieve the SDG’s’!! (Rathfern Primary School)
- Developing relationships with counterparts from other countries results in long-lasting friendship and cross-cultural understanding seen in thousands of ICS volunteers across the world (International Citizen Service)
- It was important learning the importance of sustainable living and how hard it is to achieve (Connecting Classrooms)
Building on this it seems to me that there is now, more than ever, a real need to embed global learning in education to deliver the SDG’s, especially given the increasing complexity of global challenges. There is also a real opportunity to strengthen global learning across the education sector through joined up government. This would help young people to engage both locally and globally using the full breadth of methodologies used in global learning, including participatory approaches. We were left with the suggestion of a Working Group to build global learning across the education sector – to me this seems like an excellent and timely recommendation.
Blog by Judy Chaussalet, Head of Development