Earlier this year, Earth Charter International (ECI) and Liaoning University (LNU) started a special collaboration, among other things, to strengthen LNU’s capacity to implement education for sustainable development and in using the Earth Charter as an ethical reference and educational instrument. This experience began by having a significant number of LNU faculty enrolled in the ECI Education Center’s professional development programme on Education for Sustainable Development and with LNU students enrolled in the Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics (LSE) online youth course. This was an enriching and unique learning experience for all parties involved during the first semester of this year.
Given the successful result of this initial collaboration, on Thursday, 24 August, a special ceremony was held to inaugurate the new Liaoning University Earth Charter Education Center with the aim of strengthening the ongoing efforts of LNU to incorporate the vision of sustainability and the values of the Earth Charter with a whole institutional approach. This occasion also counted with the ceremony of giving certificates to participants who concluded the courses and educational programmes.
This event was hosted by Prof. Yu Miaojie, President of Liaoning University and counted with the participation on the stage, of Prof. Huo Chunhui, LNU of Vice President and headof International Affairs; Prof. Huo Weidong, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics; Prof. Song Peng, Director of Department of Teaching and Learning Affairs; and Mr. GAO Yue, Secretary of the Youth League. Dr. Mirian Vilela, ECI Executive Director; Ms. Fang Hong, ECI China Center; and Mr. Yan Tinggan, Principal of Qufu Confucius Cultural School, Shandong Province and Chair of the World Yan Clan Association, also took part in this ceremony. The meeting, held in the Cai Guanshen Lecture Hall of Puhe Campus, was chaired by Prof. Ma Shuang, Director of the International Exchange Office. Students and professors from various departments were in the audience.
In his speech, President Yu Miaojie, contextualized the occasion as part of the LNU commitment to become an example of a higher education institution aligned with the vision of sustainability and the cooperation between LNU and Earth Charter International, which started in 2022. He also pointed out that this year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s vision of building a community with a vision of a shared future for humankind and indicated that this cooperation, and the establishment of the Liaoning University Earth Charter Education Center, are part of the institutional effort to implement this vision of President Xi Jinping. He also shared that LNU is committed to further enhance teachers’ and students’ sense of global interdependence, human identity as part of the big human family and understanding of the concept of an Earth community with a shared future and sense of responsibility for the well-being of future generations.
Following that, Dr. Mirian Vilela spoke on behalf of the Earth Charter International and Education Center expressing gratitude with the opportunity to collaborate and the valuable experience of multicultural and mutual learning. She commended Liaoning University for its commitment and efforts of bringing the vision of sustainability and the Earth Charter to its teaching as well as to enhance the capacity of teachers and students to understand and implement the values and principles of sustainability. She also indicated the wish to continue this collaboration.
Ms. Fang Hong, ECI China, said that Liaoning University has obvious advantages in having wonderful leaders that attach great importance to such international collaboration, to sustainability and to the establishment of the Earth Charter Center at LNU. Their commitment and forward-thinking shows that theywill spare no effort to support all the work of the Earth Charter Education Center of Liaoning University.
Teacher representative, Yin Ruyu, said that this professional development experience was very enriching and that as teachers, they should not only be porters of the concept of sustainable development, but also reflect kindness for people and love for Earth to serve as examples to students.
On behalf of all the students who participated in the LSE training, Xi Ziyinnan said that she felt the opportunity to participate in this international programme on sustainable development and youth leadership was of great benefit as her vision has been improved. In the future, she said, she will strive to contribute to the building of a community with a shared vision of sustainability with a sense of responsibility to the well-being of all.
This part of the morning event concluded with President Yu Miaojie and Ms. Mirian Vilela jointly unveiling the plaque establishing the Earth Charter Education Center of Liaoning University and presenting certificates of completion to teachers and students who participated in the ECI Education for Sustainable Development online professional development programme and the youth leadership training.
This event was followed by a lecture offered by Ms. Vilela on sustainability and the Earth Charter to the second cohort of students to join the LSE Training Course and an interaction with teachers and students present.