• This Thursday, June 14th, the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network (NBSPRN) is hosting a fascinating workshop. It is called "Research on Citizen Engagement: Practices, Processes and Delivery". Participants will have the opportunity to discuss research relevant to citizen engagement, and be part of an important dialogue between researchers, the government, communities, businesses and non-profit organizations. The event will be held at the St Thomas University Conference Center, 368 Forest Hill Road Fredericton, NB.

    Inquiries about the NBSPRN and their event can be directed at info@rrps-nb-sprn.ca.

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    The UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) comes to an end next year. What have we accomplished in Canada to support the Decade? What challenges did we face? And where do we go from here? It was these questions that shaped the discussion at a national ESD workshop I attended at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO annual meeting recently. In general, the workshop provided an interesting discussion, although it was a bit too much of listening to ourselves talk and not quite enough of concrete action items for my liking.

     

    Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking comments included the best definition of ESD – more often called sustainability education here in NB! – that I have ever heard. Here it is: ESD is about figuring out the kind of future we want and then preparing people with the skills, knowledge, and values they need to make that future a reality.

     

    The workshop helped me think about our various ESD initiatives in New Brunswick in terms of international priorities and those in other provinces. UNESCO has developed three priorities for ESD internationally; these have been adopted provincially in Manitoba. Should we in NB be focusing on these priorities also? The priorities are:

     

    • All schools have an ESD or sustainability plan by 2015,
    • Faculties of Education incorporate ESD into their teachers’ education programs, and
    • Vocational education (e.g., community collges) re-orient their programming to help us move from a “brown economy” to a “green economy.”

     

    There is research underway internationally that may help our cause here in the province. We, as “believers” know that ESD improves the quality of education. However, research is needed to demonstrate this to non-believers. This research is being undertaken by a number of countries working together to explore the links between ESD and quality education and to find qualitative and quantitative data to support these links.

    This workshop was attended by 29 representatives from organizations across the country. The official minutes can be found here.

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