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International Youth White Paper on Global Citizenship

The Third UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCED), which opened on 8 March 2017 in Ottawa, Canada, brought together leading experts, practitioners and policymakers from around the world to examine pedagogical approaches and teaching practices, and to ensure that practical change is brought into classrooms.

The March 9 session, Cross-regional dialogue on GCED: secondary school students speak out on how to teach GCED was organized by the Centre for Global Education (CGE) with support from the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research (CGCER), TakingITGlobal and the Global Centre for Pluralism. The purpose of the session was to present the International Global Citizenship White Paper, produced by a group of 1300 youth from 11 countries (including two schools in Canada) via a Virtual Town Hall and supported by teachers across the globe.

The paper aims to mobilize, connect and amplify the voices and actions of youth from across the globe on GCED. The Centre provided feedback on the draft of the initial framework and activities for the project in November, 2016 and provided funds to help support the travel and participation of several students at UNESCO Education week. Ten of these youth presented the International Global Citizenship White Paper, discussing both the content and the process.

The paper identifies three pillars that these youth feel define global citizenship and make it accessible to everyone: deep listening to others, self-reflexivity and engaged actions within a global community, important features of educating for pluralism as well.

The paper focuses on three themes:

1) interconnection and complexity;

2) diversity and difference;

3) community, relationality and compassion.

Attendees were extremely impressed with the students’ eloquence and thoughtfulness. A UNESCO representative suggested introducing the White Paper at the UN Youth Conference. The UNESCO school network agreed that this should be circulated through their online platform to other UNESCO schools. The paper will be accompanied by a syllabus and curriculum. 

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