SEKEM and Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development at UNESCO World Conference on ESD

At the end of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) 2005 – 2014, it was decided that its efforts must continue. Thus, a world conference was held in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan to report on how to further extend these efforts. SEKEM was represented by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, and Heliopolis University by Dr. Omar Ramzy.

Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish hosted many workshops and roundtables. Furthermore, the experiences and challenges that these two organizations encountered in bringing ESD to their communities was highlighted to representatives from around the world.

A Workshop was also held on how to address issues of food security anywhere using ESD concepts. It consisted of five groups: policy support, the “Whole-Institution Approach”, educators, youth, and local communities. The “Whole-Institution Approach” was presented by Dr. Omar Ramzy. In this workshop, the participants worked to identify the major concerns of the different world regions regarding food security and the best ways to address them. The participants then prepared a list of recommendations for stakeholders that these could address within the context of ESD. Eventually, participants gathered to create a unified document using the different ideas from the group to provide recommendations for addressing Food Security around the world.

The workshop ended with recommendations ranging from engaging in Agricultural Participatory Research, teaching students using school gardens, to mentoring both teachers and farmers on ESD practices. Overall, it was strongly emphasized that ESD would be the future of developing and enhancing education for years to come, and that it would be one of biggest challenges of the 21st century. The conference, however, was an excellent beginning to bringing about this new reality.

Source: SEKEM