International, United States of America

19 September – 24 October, 2024

Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship and Transformative Learning 

Joint Course with Earth Charter International and George Washington University! This course equips educators with the knowledge and skills for bringing the concepts of sustainable development and global citizenship into education, using the Earth Charter as an ethical guide.

This short course is offered jointly by the UNESCO Chair in Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter, based at the University for Peace in Costa Rica and the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development, and the UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development based at George Washington University in USA. It focuses on education for sustainable development, global citizenship, and transformative learning. Since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the central role of education as a driving force in the transformation of societies towards sustainability has been emphasized. 

Over the years, education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCED) have gained strength and become priorities of UNESCO’s education program, which has been coordinating efforts to promote it with governments, education institutions and a diversity of civil society actors. As part of the 2030 Agenda, specifically through SDG 4, target 4.7, countries have made commitments that seek not only to increase public knowledge and awareness about sustainability, but also, and above all, the transformation of education to address the current complex challenges and visualize the fundamental role that education can play in processes of social change.  The 2023 Recommendation on Education for Peace and Human Rights, International Understanding, Cooperation, Fundamental Freedoms, Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development, as the legal foundation for the Sustainable Development Goal – SDG target 4.7, further underscores the importance of education in addressing global challenges. However, approaching these commitments implies that the teaching population should be trained in the theoretical and pedagogical aspects involved in ESD and GCED.  

This course aims to contribute to solving the challenge faced by educational systems at different levels, that is, to prepare educators at all levels with the knowledge and skills associated with sustainable development and global citizenship education, as well as with approaches of transformative learning. 

This course is offered to institutions seeking to strengthen the capacities of their staff or members in the topics and skills related to ESD and GCED. It will use the Earth Charter as an ethical framework. 


Mirian Vilela

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Mirian Vilela is the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE. Mirian has been working with the Earth Charter Initiative since early 1996. She coordinates the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter and served as a member of the UNESCO Expert Reference Group for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Over the years she has led and facilitated numerous international workshops, courses and seminars on values and principles for sustainability. Prior to her work with the Earth Charter, Mirian worked for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for two years in preparation of the 1992 UN Earth Summit and a year at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She actively participated in the 2002 World Summit of Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, and the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development/Rio+20. Mirian holds a PhD. in Education from LaSalle University and a Master´s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow. She is originally from Brazil.

Laura Engel

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Laura Engel is a Professor of International Education and International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, DC (US), where she directs the GW Global Education Lab, and serves as co-chair of the GW UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development. In 2023-2024, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Costa Rica. As a policy sociologist, her interests focus on the influence of global education policy trends in national and regional systems, with specialization in federal systems. Her current work examines policy developments related to education for sustainable development and global citizenship education at local, state, national, regional, and international levels. Dr. Engel’s research, which has been funded by the American Educational Research Association, the National Geographic Society, and the Stevens Initiative, has been published in four books and over 70 articles, book chapters, and policy briefs. Dr. Engel earned her PhD from the University of Illinois.

Alicia Jiménez

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Alicia Jiménez is Director of Programmes at the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat in Costa Rica. She is a biologist from the University of Costa Rica, with a MSc in Resource Development from Michigan State University in the United States and a PhD on Education from La Salle University, Costa Rica. Since 1998, she has been working in the field of conservation and sustainable development. She worked in the IUCN Mesoamerica’s Regional Office and the National University of Costa Rica, and has been involved as a visiting professor at the University for Peace. In 2006, she joined the ECI, where she oversees the Earth Charter work especially in Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In addition, she is involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for sustainable development, facilitating courses, workshops and research processes. As part of her doctoral research, Alicia generated the instruments and methodology of the Earth Charter School Seal. She received a fellowship at Leuphana University (Germany) to work in the area of transdisciplinarity and education for sustainable development.