The University of the Future - as Education for Sustainable Development Hub

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1 AIESEC International 1 The University of the Future - as Education for Sustainable Development Hub Summary Initiated by Denys Oleksandrovych Shpotia Rio+20 Preparation Events Coordinator AIESEC Ukraine Juiz de Fora, Brazil October 31, 2011 This report is related to the third pillar The institutional framework for sustainable development. Its task is to show how the creation of such an institutional framework as The University of the Future can strengthen individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as facilitate the integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels local, national, regional and international. AIESEC prepares leaders to make a positive impact in societies all around the globe. Even though it is the world s largest student-run organization the impact it does on world s scale is very little. AIESEC leaders make positive changes in societies due to knowledge and experience they receive. Unfortunately, AIESEC can not educate enough people and overcome social, economical and environmental crises, because its institutional framework was not supposed to work in the institutional framework of a real university and to deal with substantial issues such as university s curriculum. This project and report is based on the assumption that True Sustainable Development of the Planet can be achieved only by educating future generations in a new Sustainable Development Paradigm and in terms of collaboration of globally interconnected universities. AIESEC International, the main instance in the management hierarchy of our organization, gives sustainable directions for our organization worldwide and acting sustainable we achieve tremendous synergetic effect that ensure success of our development. This practical experience may suggest how to built new institutional framework activities worldwide - Sustainable Universities. The idea of such an institutional framework was found in Ukraine. The conception of The University of the Future was developed from idea of Noösphere of great Ukrainian/Russian Academician Vladimir Vernadsky. AIESEC International assigned one of its leaders, Denys Shpotia, to report this concept in order to be considered as a key part of final Rio+20 resolution.

2 Rationale Nowadays, the deep education in frames of certain domain of knowledge, without proper understanding of how it can interact with other domains results in blind spots and causes collisions with human life, society and biosphere. Improvements in certain institutional frameworks that deal with specific sectoral priorities are no longer appropriate for societies in order to be developed in a sustainable way. Universities are complex and multi-modal institutions. Only they posses all tools and characteristics to work out a new (sustainable) world view, knowledge-base and implement successfully these components into a new sustainable development paradigm. We need to look not in depth but in width in order to find the ways for sustainable development of every area of human life. Dealing with global problems in the end-of pipe way, instead of working in a preventive way, we face countless problems. Countries throw out resources in expense of potential social, economic and environmental development. This also proves that existing paradigms of education can t prepare professionals capable to deal with existing world s challenges. Exactly 10 years passed since The Lüneburg Declaration on Higher Education for Sustainable Development was adopted. The educational paradigm has not being changed. That is why we need to conduct an assessment on declaration s results and keep on moving forward. As it was emphasized in the Framework for the International Implementation Scheme: Universities must function as places of research and learning for sustainable development, and as initiators and poles of activity in their communities and nationally. Sustainable development needs to become a central preoccupation in determining areas of educational research and development. The efforts of Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership to change strategies for reorienting higher education toward sustainable development should be strengthened by innovative initiatives on further university s mission and education paradigm. The world needs to reevaluate its higher education standing order and to develop new type of university which will be more relevant to global sustainable development challenges The University of the Future. The University of the Future The real implementation of sustainable development approaches depends on how future generations will think and act. The University of the Future concept is aimed to ensure the renovation of higher education that will prepare new generations of humanity according to the sustainable development paradigm. 2

3 To become a basic and globally followed paradigm - sustainable development approach should become a core of higher education that will train new specialists - sustainable developers. The University of the Future should be developed as a global network movement that involves collaboration of Think Tanks, university s research centers, universities, NGOs, media organizations and other related structures. It should be built on the following principles: All subjects (of curriculum) must be formed in support of sustainable development world view and paradigm; Curriculum should be built on interdisciplinary approach and be constructed around Research & Development (R&D) projects related to common global sustainable development issues; R&D agenda (its topic and issues) should be framed by sustainable development paradigm; Should be used all new types of educational advanced approaches and technologies (including Web-based and Web 2.0 opportunities, etc.); Project-based approach and collaborative Research & Learning. The collaborative teamwork with sustainable development objectives within The University of the Future is aimed to solve common global problems. Acting as a vehicle The University of the Future will build up new theoretical and methodological frameworks and implement interdisciplinary approaches to all kinds of sustainable development issues. This mission assumes that: Research & Learning agenda should be orientated on creation of new knowledge and technologies according to the sustainable development paradigm; It should work as a center of excellence and as the main source of new approaches on how to educate new generations according to the sustainable development world view and its paradigm of actions; The University of the Future should produce new active life styles focused on sustainable development paradigm of actions; The University of the Future must implicate new socio-cultural functions for successful establishment of sustainable development ideology; The University of the Future must lead a start for a creation of interactive web-based expertise platform that will analyze, accumulate, structure and integrate knowledge required for sustainable development of the whole world. 3

4 a) What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio+20, and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a possible structure of the Outcome document? The Rio+20 Outcome Document should include special paragraph related to Education for Sustainable Development. Especially, it should be focused on Higher Professional Education - University s mission and activity. The Outcome Document should highlight the necessity of substantial institutional transformation of university s business toward sustainable development imperative. It should present the conception of The University of the Future as the university of new type - a model and a laboratory for drawing up educational guidelines for future generations in terms of sustainable development paradigm. The Outcome Document should highlight the road map for further development and implementation of The University of the Future. b) What are the comments, if any, on existing proposals: e.g., a green economy roadmap, framework for action, sustainable development goals, a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, or others? The importance of education and universities is already highlighted in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and it became a part of proposals of several groups (for example, German National Committee for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development report and Draft Opinion of the Committee of the Regions of European Commission, etc). The proposal of Committee of the Regions states: There is a substantial demand for the exchange of experience and a transfer of knowledge education, training and information are all areas in which there is a significant need for the exchange of experience and transfer of knowledge between cities and regions on a global scale. But we call attention to the necessity of deep reformation of the university s curriculum on the base of sustainable development paradigm and new types of knowledge. As we stress the deep education in frames of certain domain of knowledge, without proper understanding of how a specific field of study can mutually benefit from cooperation with other domains of knowledge results in blind spots and causes collisions with human life, society and biosphere. In order to fully engage potential of education in overcoming global sustainable development problems we need to build a new type of knowledge infrastructure. This can be achieved by creation of the university of new type The University of the Future. The functioning of The University of the Future, its new type of interdisciplinary curriculum and new forms of activity, will not only facilitate the dissemination of sustainable development paradigm through tertiary education of university level, but also create cumulative effect and significantly support the 4

5 integration of all other activities and pillars of global sustainable development agenda. c) What are the views on implementation and on how to close the implementation gap, which relevant actors are envisaged as being involved (Governments, specific Major Groups, UN system, IFIs, etc.); All kinds of implementation gaps are first of all caused by knowledge gap, intellectual division of labor and vision deficit. In order to promote global educational sustainable development agenda it is necessary to improve its institutional framework and first of all the status of education. Universities mission should be reassessed and raised up. All possible sectoral priorities (e.g., energy, food security and sustainable agriculture, technology transfer, water, oceans, sustainable urbanization, sustainable consumption and production, natural disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation, biodiversity, etc.) should be rightly reintroduced into university practices in integrated globally concerted way. As soon as key players will get the deep understanding of sustainable development issues, as soon as they will be equipped by relevant knowledge and action tools all plans and activities will be realized more easily and successfully. The new type of education will implicate collaboration of efforts of relevant actors and establishment partnerships focused on global sustainable development, etc. Among other implementation tools, the activity under framework of The University of the Future will be the most important and serve to close the implementation gaps. d) What specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and actions to be implemented? The promotion and implementation of the conception of The University of the Future (as the university of a new type and model - a laboratory for drawing up guidelines aimed to educate future generations in the sustainable development paradigm) comprise the following basic steps: 1. The conception of The University of the Future and the idea to build it should be highlighted in the Outcome Document (June, 2012); 2. The Basic Laboratory for the further exploration and development of conception of The University of the Future and its institutional design should be established (November, 2012); 3. The consortia of knowledge communities and university s communities under framework of The University of the Future should be created. It will develop pilot projects, regional and global implementation plans, etc. (January, 2013); 4. Scholars from leading universities of the USA, Ukraine, Russia, and Canada will network and create a core group for The University of the Future activity development and further promotion. (May, 2013). 5

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