Events Humanistic Futures of Learning

September 17, 2020

Humanistic Futures of Learning


UNESCO ini­tia­tive on the Futures of edu­ca­tion” launch­es edit­ed volume

As part of a glob­al UNESCO ini­tia­tive on the Futures of Edu­ca­tion, launched in 2019, a new book was released in Jan­u­ary 2020. The vol­ume Human­is­tic futures of learn­ing. Per­spec­tives from UNESCO chairs and UNITWIN net­works” address­es how knowl­edge and learn­ing can con­tribute to deal­ing with a world of increas­ing com­plex­i­ty, uncer­tain­ty, and pre­car­i­ous­ness. UNESCO chair hold­ers from all over the world present their exper­tise on top­ics such as com­mu­ni­ties of knowl­edge, par­tic­i­pa­to­ry learn­ing, the democ­ra­ti­za­tion of knowl­edge, or dis­rup­tive inno­va­tion in uni­ver­si­ties. Ben­no Werlen and Howard Blu­men­thal, mem­ber of the chair’s advi­so­ry board, con­tributed a piece on Glob­al under­stand­ing, edu­ca­tion and sustainability.” 

The UNESCO ini­tia­tive is par­tic­u­lar­ly geared to pro­mote per­spec­tives from the human­i­ties and the social sci­ences. As Audrey Azoulay, Direc­tor-Gen­er­al of UNESCO, stat­ed, Our deeply human­ist DNA can­not let us reduce edu­ca­tion to a tech­ni­cal or tech­no­log­i­cal issue, nor even to an eco­nom­ic one.” To coun­ter­act recent trends of a mar­ke­ti­za­tion or instru­men­tal­iza­tion of learn­ing and shape human­is­tic futures of edu­ca­tion, UNESCO has set up an inde­pen­dent Inter­na­tion­al Com­mis­sion under the lead­er­ship of H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, Pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Ethiopia. The com­mis­sion is com­posed of lead­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty, pol­i­tics, and pub­lic life. For exam­ple, it includes influ­en­tial pub­lic intel­lec­tu­als such as Arjun Appadu­rai or Evge­ny Moro­zov, lead­ing researchers from the edu­ca­tion­al sci­ences such as António Nóvoa, or Vaira Vike-Freiber­ga, for­mer Pres­i­dent of Latvia and cur­rent head of the World Lead­er­ship Alliance/​Club de Madrid. The recent­ly pub­lished vol­ume and the com­mis­sion’s 2020 report will serve to stim­u­late pub­lic debate on the futures of edu­ca­tion and help to shape respec­tive policies.

UNESCO offers var­i­ous ways to get involved in this ini­tia­tive. On an online plat­form, con­tri­bu­tions can be made as text, par­tic­i­pa­tion in a sur­vey, or artis­tic work.

For fur­ther ideas please also con­tact futuresofeducation@​unesco.​org.