Faye Snodgress is executive director of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.
As the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela and reflects on his enduring impact in the struggle for democracy and the promotion of a global culture of peace, it is the values that guided his life that must continue to be embraced by people around the world.
Consistent with the aims of education for sustainable development, Mandela encouraged change that would create a more viable and fairer South African society by focusing on the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, uplifting those in poverty, the protection of human rights, and peace and reconciliation. As educators, we too, are change agents who strive to make the world a better place by promoting equity and inclusion, quality learning, resilience, and critical problem solving.
In considering the devastation caused by the recent tsunami in the Philippines and Hurricane Sandy, the links between globalization, poverty, development and the environment can no longer been ignored. More natural disasters and economic challenges lie ahead. This is where education comes in, raising awareness of our individual responsibilities to make responsible choices and to respect other people, nature, and diversity. By relating content areas to the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development, we can give orientation and meaning to quality education for all.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”