Bridge 47’s IMAGINE 4.7 Global Event took place online at the end of May, bringing together people from around the world to share collective learnings on SDG Target 4.7, and to celebrate the Bridge 47 Network’s journey over the past four years. The three-day event looked to create opportunities for participants from a wide range of sectors to exchange ideas, experiences and best practices.
IMAGINE 4.7 opened with video remarks from Jutta Urpilainen, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, who highlighted the transformative effect of Global Citizenship Education, urging participants to: “Dare to image a better world. Dare to raise our voices. Dare to stand up and take action for a more sustainable future for all.”
This call to action set the tone of the event, with a wide range of innovative sessions on policy, partnership opportunities and transformative educational practices, all from a transformative education perspective.
Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, highlighted the importance of Target 4.7 in her keynote speech, stating: “Sustainable Development will not happen without education for global citizenship. To build back more equal, inclusive and resilient, education has to transform.”
Other keynote speakers included Ninawa Huni Kui, President of the Federation of the Huni Kui people in Acre, Brazil, who gave a moving speech calling for a change in understanding of education, and Lysa John, Secretary-General of CIVICUS, who affirmed the important role of civil society in addressing structural injustice.
Chair and Founder of Bridge 47, Rilli Lappalainen looked to the future in his closing remarks for IMAGINE 4.7: „I invite everyone to use the Bridge 47 network now and in the future. It is up to us all to use our imagination for how we want to go forward.”
IMAGINE 4.7 opened with a panel discussion on ‘Envision 4.7: Imagining a Future with Target 4.7’, which revisited the Envision 4.7 Roadmap to highlight the continued relevance of collaborating on transformative education in our ever-changing world. Moderated by Brikena Xhomaqi, Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform, the session explored the ways in which joint action had been taken in national, regional and global contexts, and invited panellists and participants to imagine our next steps forward on the path to implementing Target 4.7.
Next, a keynote speech from Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, stressed that the capacity to take action for sustainability comes down to education for global citizenship.
In the afternoon, the Frame, Voice, Report! project led an interactive workshop on ‘Framing – How to Engage Your Audience’, which outlined innovative methodologies for engaging citizens to the Sustainable Development Goals, sharing reflections, successes and learning outcomes from projects around Europe.
The day closed with a thought experiment on ‘Education 2048’ led by the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective. In part one of the session, participants were asked to decide the direction of education after a period of catastrophic events causes by human choices. In part two, participants were invited to process their responses through engagement with the poem Co-sensing with Radical Tenderness.
Day two of IMAGINE 4.7 began with an introduction to the ‘Current State of Research on Global Education and Global Citizenship Education in Europe’. Professor Douglas Bourn and Professor Massimiliano Tarozzi led the session, presenting evidence gathered from the Academic Network for Global Education and Learning (ANGEL) network’s Global Education Digest.
Next, a panel discussion on ‘Where the Magic Happens! Partnerships Beyond the Comfort Zone’ reflected on Bridge 47’s successful partnership journeys across Europe. Moderated by Charo Lanao Madden, representatives from the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland, Deloitte Ireland and Latvian Museum Association were invited to share their perspectives on engaging in GCE focussed partnerships, their collaborative activities, and the challenges, learning and impact made on their partnerships journey.
Ninawa Huni Kui, President of the Federation of the Huni Kui people in Acre, Brazil delivered a powerful keynote speech calling for a change in understanding of education, one that shifts away from greed and accumulation and towards community and care of the planet. In highlighting the need for critical reflection, and moving towards building new worlds, Ninawaa Huni Kui stated: “There is no way forward without dealing with what happened in the past.“
The final session of the day was an innovative and experiential learning session on ‘Singing for Sustainability: Facilitating Transformative Learning through Group Songwork’. Facilitated by Dr Ash Brockwell, the session explored songwork as a transformative learning practice, structured to allow participants to build the missing ninth ESD competency: eco-social competency, or ’systems-feeling‘.
On the final day of IMAGINE 4.7, Lysa John, Secretary-General of CIVICUS gave a keynote speech reflecting on emerging trends in civil society, based on CIVICUS‘ State of Civil Society report. On the important role of civil society, she affirmed: „There has been an emergence of a new frontier of civil society and civic action. Civil society’s pervasive ability to address structural injustice is important to the role and relevance of civil society around the world“.
Next, ‘Partnerships Beyond Ticking the Boxes’ expanded on the idea of civil society addressing structural injustice. Co-facilitated by an NGO in India and in Scotland, the session explored the possibility of building just and equitable international non-profit partnerships between the organisations from oppressed and oppressor nations, through the lens of Global Citizenship Education.
The last session of the day on ‘Fishbowl: Transformative Learning for Powerful Civil Society!’ explored the potential of transformative learning as a driving force in the work of civil society. Led by Helena Sirén Gualinga (Indigenous environmental and human rights activist from the Kichwa Sarayaku community in Pastaza, Ecuador), Manish Jain (Shikshantar Institute and Swaraj University), Karen Pashby (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Robbie Guevara (International Council for Adult Education, ICAE), participants were invited to envisage a different civil society and share ideas as to how transformative learning can build civil society capacity in a fishbowl format.
The day closed with a formal reception to celebrate the success of Bridge 47 and toast to network members’ achievements over the last few years. Chair and Founder of Bridge 47, Rilli Lappalainen looked to the future in his closing remarks for IMAGINE 4.7, encouraging everyone to utilise the Bridge 47 Network and use their imagination for our next steps forward.
Source: Bridge 47 – Building Global Citizenship, 28 May 2021