A&H Chair Gaudelli Calls For More Global Citizenship Education at UN Academic Meeting in Seoul

pictured: William Gaudelli, A&H Chair & Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education

William Gaudelli, A&H Chair & Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education, at TC’s Center on History & Education roundtable in February.

reposted from TC International News


New York, NY — William Gaudelli, Chair of the Department of Arts and Humanities and Associate Professor of Social Studies and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, called for immediate action to broaden and strengthen global citizenship education in a panel discussion on May 20 in Seoul, South Korea. He was an invited panelist at the Second United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) Forum.

For the prepared text of Gaudelli’s remarks, click here.

“The situation in which we find ourselves globally – living interconnected, yet behaving as though we do not – requires your full attention and action,” Gaudelli told education ministers from around the world in remarks prepared for the private gathering.

“We are at a moment in time where we face the paradoxical capacity to destroy much of what the modern era has achieved. But we also have the chance – one that may not come again – to pivot towards a more just, sustainable and tolerant global society. I say ‘pivot’ intentionally here, since a subtle change, of course, will not be sufficient. We need dramatic changes in education, and we need them now.”

Gaudelli’s panel, “Fostering Global Citizenship Education in the Context of Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals,” was part of an all-day conference, “Strengthening UNAI University Network and Fostering Global Citizenship Education in the Context of Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.”

Gaudelli suggested several specific actions:

  • Develop curriculum to illustrate how interdependent the world is by having students trace where their clothing and personal items come from, how they got into their hands and how they will be disposed of;
  • Create opportunities for educators and students to learn about how other people live, through exchange programs and online dialogs about common interests and shared problems;
  • Build gardens and grow food while studying how food, water and power is sourced, generated and supplied to their school and community;
  • Support educators learning about the world through a Professional Development opportunity,such as the online Global Competence Certificate Program offered by Teachers College, Columbia University, or take an online course on sustainability  at the Earth Institute of Columbia University; and
  • Take advantage of the power of this group of ministers to collaborate across ministries and share, exchange and network your teachers to build a better tomorrow through common projects.

Educating for global citizenship and competence “is an enormous task,” Gaudelli concluded, “but it is what we must do – to educate the child born today in Seoul and every other city, in a manner that imagines a world… of peace, respect, justice and sustainability – in a way that perceives time with a sense of urgency, hears others with openness and humility, and moves to inhabit our daily practices with a profound sense of life.”

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is a global initiative that aligns the activities and research of institutions of higher education with the purposes and mandate of the UN. Membership in the UNAI is open to all institutions of higher education and research organizations.

As coordinator of the Social Studies and Education program at TC, Gaudelli has actively promoted global citizenship education, which the UN sees as critical to building on the success of the Millennium Development Goals and ending extreme poverty in all its forms. Working with World Savvy and Asia Society, Gaudelli last year created the Global Competence Certificate program at TC for educators aiming to prepare students for a globally interconnected world. Participants take graduate-level online courses about sustainability, global systems, digital media, global competence and project-based learning. They also spend a few weeks working with global colleagues at a school or community-based organization in Colombia, Uganda, or Ecuador.

Joining Gaudelli on the panel were:  Kim Young-Gil, Co-Chairman of UNAI Korea and Founding President of Handong Global University; Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations; and Choi Soo-Hyang, Director of Division for Teaching, Learning and Content, UNESCO (to be confirmed). The panel took place at the Lotte Hotel Seoul and was followed by an open discussion.

Also addressing the forum was Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Sachs is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, who also addressed the forum.