On the 18th of June, Okayama University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Earth Charter International (ECI) located in the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, in Central America. More recently, on the 10th of July, a web conference was held to discuss future collaboration goals based on the agreement.
Several members of staff representing Okayama University attended the conference, including President MAKINO Hirofumi; Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy, UNESCO Chairholder, and ECI Council Member YOKOI Atsufumi; Vice President of International Affairs KIMURA Kunio, and Director of the International Affairs Department HARADA Miki. Additionally, several members representing ECI also attended, including Executive Director of the ECI Secretariat and UNESCO Chairholder Mirian Vilela; ECI Council Member and Board Member Michael Bracken; ECI Senior Advisor Sam Crowell; Facilitator at the Business and Ethical Leadership for Sustainability Course at the Earth Charter Education Center Chris Beehner; and Director of Programs at the ECI Secretariat Alicia Jimenez.
When opening the conference, President Makino expressed Okayama University’s willingness to deepen its exchanges with ECI, stating that, “Our university is making efforts to promote the SDGs throughout the university, and San Jose City and Okayama City have a historic relationship as sister cities that spans 50 years. Through this agreement, we hope to develop comprehensive ways to promote ESDs, SDGs, and the Earth Charter, while also promoting comprehensive human resource development and social contribution projects in both cities.” In her opening remarks, Executive Director Vilela said that “I would like the UNESCO chairholders of both UPEACE and Okayama University to act as a bridge when undertaking joint projects to advance SDGs and ESD under the Earth Charter.”
In December 2019, President Makino and Vice President Yokoi, a UNESCO Chair Holder visited UPEACE and ECI and have reached an agreement to promote UNESCO’s “ESD for 2030” vision by integrating ESD with SDGs through the lens of the Earth Charter’s ethical principles. As the UNESCO Chair Holder of Research and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Vice President Yokoi contributes significantly to the progress and integration of ESD and SDGs both locally and internationally. Following the signing of the memorandum and the election of Vice President
Yokoi to the ECI council, a Livestream of the Earth Charter 20th Anniversary Online Forum was broadcast across the world on the 29th of June 2020. During the online forum, Vice President Yokoi made a speech as an ECI council member and Okayama University representative. Guided by the principles of the Earth Charter, Okayama University plans to promote positive and concrete efforts throughout the university toward a more fair, sustainable, and peaceful world.
This is the welcome message from Mirian Vilela, ECI Executive Director, to Okayama University.