[APCEIU] APCEIU and Education for International Understanding: An Introduction

At the turn of the century, the United Nations took the chance to reflect on itself as well as the future of the world. What can we do to make the world a better place? How can we achieve that? From there, the 8 Millennium Development Goals that we know of today were formulated. Deemed as the most urgent problems of Mankind that would have to be tackled, targets were set for the deadline of 2015. Among the 8 goals, the importance of education, sustainability, and peaceful relations were reiterated.

At the same time, the role of education was re-examined in the landmark report Learning: The Treasure Within published in 1996 by UNESCO. Highlighting four pillars as the foundation of education, the importance of one of the pillars – learning to live together – was given the highest priority by the Commission. In a time where memory of the brutal world war was fresh and tensions from the Cold War had only just begun to cease, the importance of mutual understanding between different cultures can never be more emphasized.

Recognizing the value of education in fostering a more peaceful world, the Asia-Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) was founded in 2000 under the auspices of UNESCO. Since then, the Center has taken an active role in the region in promoting Education for International Understanding (EIU) via various means such as organizing forums and workshops for educators, international exchange programmes for teachers as well as research for policy development. In recent years, the concept for EIU has further expanded with the introduction of Global Citizenship Education (GCE) which in essence, is not only focused on understanding of one another, but also that of grooming individuals who are interested in and care for the world and its inhabitants as a whole. Much of APCEIU’s programmes are thus focused on fostering GCE through pedagogy, which explains the many workshops and programmes targeted at educators.

As the 2015 deadline fast approaches, the UN has taken steps to review the MDGs again. The aim of the review is not just whether the MDGs were indeed achieved, but more importantly for thinking beyond 2015. The UN Post-2015 Development Agenda task force and the UNESCO again highlighted the importance of culture in its ability to drive not just development, but development that is sustainable. And culture can drive sustainable development because an inclusive, tolerant culture allows for mutual understandings between the diverse cultures in the world. To that end, cooperation with UNSECO and APCEIU, who will continue to play their part in nurturing global citizens who understand and care for the diverse cultures in the world, is essential in fostering a sustainable and peaceful planet.

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세기의 전환을 맞아 유엔은 유엔자체와 세계의 미래를 재평가하는 시간을 가졌다. 어떻게 하면 좋은 세상을 만들 수 있을 것인가? 이 질문에 대하여, 많은 이들에게 잘 알려진 새천년 개발목표(Millennium Development Goals)가 탄생했다. 인간의 기본권을 위협하는 시급한 문제들을 해결하기 위해 구성된 위 8개의 목표는 2015년까지 달성될 예정이다. 그 중 핵심은 교육, 지속가능성, 평화적인 관계이다.

동시에 교육의 역할자체도 재평가되고 있었다. 1996년 유네스코가 Learning: The Treasure Within라는 보고서를 출판했고, 유네스코의 4대 주요 기둥중에 제일 중요한 것은 바로 “같이 사는 것을 배우는 것” 임을 강조하였다. 종식된지 얼마되지 않은 세계전쟁과 냉전때문에 여러 문화를 이해하는 것의 중요성이 대두되었다.

더 평 화 로 운 세 상 을 만 드 는 데 기 여 하 는 교 육 의 가 치 때 문 에 2000년, 유네스코 아시아태평양 국제이해교육원이 설립되었다. 그 때부터 아태교육원은 국제이해교육을 촉구하기 위한 여러가지 활동을 전개하였는데, 교육 워크숍, 국제 교사 교환 프로그램, 정책개발 연구 등이 그것이다. 근년에 세계적으로 시야를 넓혀 생각하는 사람을 육성하는 국제시민교육이라는 개념이 새로 생겨, 아태교육원의 활동도 국제시민교육을 활성화할 수 있는 워크숍과 프로그램에 초점을 맞추고 있다.

새천년 개발 목표를 마감할 2015년이 점점 다가오는 이 때에, 유엔은 MDGs를 재평가하는 동시에 2015년이후 (Post-2015)의 새로운 계획도 세우고 있다. 유엔Post-2015개발의제 대책위원회와 유네스코는 또 다시 문화의 큰 영향력을 강조했다. 문화는 단순한 발전뿐만 아니라 지속가능한 개발을 가능케 만들 수 있다. 그 목적을 달성하기 위해서 유네스코와 아태교육원이 같이 협조하고 계속 세계시민을 육성하는 것은 평화로운 세계에 다가갈 수 있는 중요한 노력이다.

References and related links:

1. APCEIU website: http://www.unescoapceiu.org/en/

2. About the Millennium Development Goals: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

3. Learning: The Treasure Within published in 1996, along with Learning to Be (1972) are two landmark reports on education commissioned by the UNESCO: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/rethinking-education/visions-of-learning/

4. More on UN Post-2015 Development Agenda and UNESCO’s efforts: https://en.unesco.org/post2015/

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Many thanks to Eui Ryung Lee for her help in editing my Korean article ^^

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