International Symposium dealing with Education of Global Citizens took place in Hanasaari (Finland) from 5th to 7th May. The general aim of the symposium was to explore, share and promote concepts, pedagogy and practice concerning the education of global citizens, particularly in general education. Two Finnish initiatives were in special focus, namely the proposal for the new core curriculum mainstreaming global education and the KOMPPI school development partnerships creating global responsibility.
In his opening keynote Liam Wegimont identified a number of conceptual challenges: “Global education has emerged as a field that is largely consensual, anti-theoretical and makes assumptions that are ungrounded. “
Karen Pashby responded to the challenge by applying ethical approach to global education. She juxtaposed soft and critical Global Citizenship Education, the first representing universalism with one shared view of good life and the second reflexivity and dialogue interrogating our good intentions and putting action into context. Regarding global competences, she argued that they cannot have static definitions as in the rapidly changing world challenges are growing and multiplying.
Ethical, civic, ecological and intercultural competences of global citizens were discussed deeply in the four different workshops. On the basis of the workshop reports and the keynotes the Symposium agreed upon shared conclusions that will be published later (here, too, I hope).
In his closing words Helmuth Hartmeyer emphasized the need to put justice at the core of Global Education and to recognize the distinction and relations between individual ethics and the underlying power structure. He also reminded us about the pedagogical challenge: education cannot be transferred, only acquired by dialogue, engagement and fun.
The symposium was organized by the Finnish National Board of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture and Global Education Network Europe (GENE).