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Why do education policymakers need to mainstream Global Citizenship Education: An Appeal of the 2030 Agenda

New York, United Nations Headquarters: On 26 April 2018, the 2018 United Nations Global Citizenship Education Seminar was convened by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact, and the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) under the auspices of UNESCO.


With the theme of “The role of global citizenship education in the 2030 Agenda and beyond”, this year’s Global Citizenship Education Seminar aimed to shed new light on Global Citizenship Education (GCED) by exploring relevant concepts and methodologies already applied in other areas, and to seek opportunities for GCED to enhance and advance progress toward realizing sustainable development.


Addressing the opening session, Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO Liaison Office New York and UNESCO Representative to the United Nations, recalled that GCED promotes the principles and values that help ensure the human rights of every individual across all regions of the world. As she pointed out, mainstreaming GCED in the education systems would support the development of values such as learning to live together, solidarity, empathy and respect of the other, as well as resolving conflict through peaceful means. Committed to support governments and educational stakeholders through the promotion of GCED, UNESCO has been:


  • Leading the global advocacy and policy dialogue on GCED;

  • Providing normative guidance, technical support, and capacity building on GCED; and:

  • Focusing on Preventing Violent Extremism through Education.


Building on the unique national experience of the Republic of Korea, Prof. CHO Hyo-Je, Professor of Sociology at Sungkonghoe University, delivered the keynote speech and shared insights on the synergy between GCED and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


In the panel discussion and Q&A session followed, representatives from the academia, UN agencies, and NGOs exchanged views on the importance of the right to education, human rights education, GCED mainstreaming and branding, and the role of universities in experimental learning and research. In particular, Mr. Aaron Benavot, Professor of Global Education Policy at the State University of New York-Albany and former Director of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, cited GEM Report’s examination of national educational frameworks and textbooks. He called for more teachers’ training on GCED, and highlighted a whole-school approach, more decentralized education systems, and a strong policy commitment as favorable conditions for GCED mainstreaming.


Increasingly complex and protracted crises, especially the rise of violent extremism, has led to ever-greater need for the benefits of GCED. Situated within the SDG Goal 4–Target 4.7, GCED has a crucial role in fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies. GCED aims to empower learners to engage and assume active roles locally, nationally and globally, to face and resolve global challenges and ultimately to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world. It builds on peace and human rights education and emphasizes the need to foster the knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and behaviors that allow individuals to experience a sense of belonging to the global community and to take informed decisions.