Language + Communication = Advancement

Hello fellow educators!

On July 21, 2017, I joined a community of student leaders in the United Nations General Assembly Hall to celebrate innovative ideas in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (UN). The event, themed “Many Languages, One World,” brought youth from around the globe together to present action plans for advancing the SDG. Their presentations were borne out an essay contest sponsored by ELS Educational Services and the UN. The contest encouraged young scholars to share their ideas on how to repair the quality of living within the areas of SDG, such as quality education, climate action, economy growth, and justice. The presentations, which were the culmination of research, exposed current issues in many countries and offered resolutions to avoid the stagnant results of previous trials.

As essay contest winners showcased their visions of the future, their presentations were simultaneously translated by interpreters into the UN’s six official languages. With the help of listening devices, those in attendance could hear the presentations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, or Spanish.

On the subject of education, students spoke up about the issues of race and sex, and advocated for equality in education to combat this problem. One student’s objective was to eliminate illiteracy and offer free secondary education. Another student argued that education could be the key to achieving all targets of the SDG. Others suggested how we, as global citizens, could support a switch to alternative sources of power, such as green energy, to reduce carbon dioxide. Students advocated for improvement in the quality of water in rural areas and explained how the water affects agricultural products. With limited access to food and water, students may become malnourished and dehydrated, and therefore struggle to succeed in school.

We need to make keeping students in school a priority. An essay winner speaking about Brazil revealed a link between school dropouts and criminal activity in that country. As global citizens who belong to the education community, we have to be mindful of students who may not live in safe conditions. Creating a comforting space within the classroom and leading students in project-based learning activities can allow them to feel safe and empowered.

We must increase collaborations among our neighboring countries and communicate our successes in repairing these damages. By sharing what’s wrong in one country, we can offer tips on how another country made it right. Improving the policies and systems of management that currently exist throughout all countries would reflect a global agreement on acceptable standards of living.

Diversity makes our society more resilient. Education makes it powerful.

Happy Teaching,
Clairetza Felix

Clairetza Felix is a graduate student in the Literacy Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She chose to become a UN Youth Representative to be able to offer a unique approach to education.

Our United Nations Anniversary

Dear Friend of KDP,

Through the globalization movement and the use of technology that connects us both personally and professionally, the world has become smaller on multiple levels. Today, we have a better understanding of other cultures, regularly collaborate with peers from around the globe, and increasingly have a shared awareness that our futures are intertwined as we share one planet and its limited resources.

KDP has a rich legacy of promoting global understanding through the sharing of knowledge and establishing relationships with people from around the world. For example, in 1948 as KDP President, Dr. William Robinson gave 200 subscriptions of the Educational Forum to educators living in occupied Germany and China. Throughout our history, KDP has embraced activities, partnerships, and advocacy efforts that support our long-standing commitment to equity, global awareness, and quality learning for all.

With a goal of supporting global education endeavors and building the organization’s capacity, KDP applied for and was granted the status of a non-government organization, or NGO, of the Department of Public Information of the United Nations in 2010.

Today, we are celebrating the 7th anniversary of being recognized as an NGO of the United Nations!

KDP has five official representatives—which include three professional representatives and two youth representatives (between 18 and 25 years old).

Our representatives attend the weekly briefing, meetings, seminars, receptions, and other activities, and then share the information with the KDP community to keep you informed of critical global issues and to provide you with suggestions for integrating this relevant information into your classroom. The weekly briefing topics range from girls’ and women’s access to education, immigration, population and development, and special youth events.

Click here for an example of a recent Briefing Report on A Grassroots Approach to Education for All from one of our youth representatives, Clairetza Felix.

Since receiving official NGO status, KDP has fulfilled its role in a variety of ways, including hosting a conference with the Committee on Teaching about the UN on peace and conflict resolution and ongoing participation in various UNESCO meetings including the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Education for Sustainable Development. Personally, I serve on the Expert Committee for this Institute.

KDP’s mission of quality learning for all and our strategic goal related to sustainability literacy align with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, which speaks to a quality and equitable education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.  

One target of this sustainable development goal (4.7) states, “By 2030 all learners will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development and sustainable and lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

The UN and the world have realized that achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by the U.S. government in 2015, is dependent on education, and more specifically the transformation of education.

You may still have questions about what exactly sustainability literacy means. A student who is educated for sustainability has the ability, ambition, and know-how to create a world that works for everyone and every creature, now and forever. So what needs to happen to achieve the necessary level of knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be sustainability literate? The integration of sustainable education calls for changes in the classroom, in the school, and in the community. It requires new approaches to preservice and inservice teacher professional development, a targeted research agenda, revised conceptions of student assessment, updated school policies, and inspired leadership.

Aside from our focus on sustainability education, the UN’s events and resources help us, as educators, and our students to be better global citizens by reminding us of key events and milestones throughout the year. 

For example, November 19 is World Toilet Day, a day to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and the fact that 2.4 billion people do not have access to a toilet.

Our role and responsibilities as an NGO to the United Nations and our access to the wealth of quality resources and knowledge on timely global topics the UN produces play a key role in the work of KDP and our community of educators who strive to create a better future.

As educators and citizens, we are reminded of the necessity of thinking globally while acting locally.

There has never been a more important time to be an educator.

I encourage you to check out the blogs of our representatives and the UN resources on our website as great ways to stay current on the issues, challenges, and opportunities that are impacting our world.

Faye_S_7-1-14Sincerely,

Faye Snodgress, CAE
Executive Director

Staying Rooted in Education

As a KDP Youth Representative, I had the opportunity to attend a briefing at the UN titled, “A Grassroots Approach to Education for All.”

The moderator, Alexander Wiseman, and speaker Lisa Damaschke-Deitrick were from Lehigh University’s education program. Their fellow speakers were Anwar Sayed from the Dayemi Foundation, Taylor Viens from Caring for Cambodia, and Jadayah Spencer representing the International Youth Leadership Institute.

As each person shared their experience with grassroots organizations, they connected to the importance of health and wellness. Health screenings and access to meals can transform the culture of learning to be responsive to the needs of students.

Furthermore, research presented at the briefing proved that funding new educational approaches results in shifts in curriculum and assists in combating poverty.

With political and religious turmoil displacing refugees, it is imperative that they receive a quality education that is inclusive and sensitive to their knowledge and cultural backgrounds.

As expressed by the speakers, partnering with local organizations within communities such as religious centers and non-governmental agencies can offer real-world experiences for our youth, as well as promote positive learning environments.

My Tips for This Approach

1. Know Your Neighbors

Get to know the people in your community. Seek out local businesses and organizations that are interested in helping us achieve our goal of providing an equitable education for all.

2. Brainstorm

Think of ways that you can support a student’s hygiene and diet at your school, such as items like toothbrushes and soap. A resource such as a school-wide food pantry would also be effective.

3. Be Active!

Encourage students to be problem solvers in their own communities. Simple tasks such as cleaning up parks and recycling can prepare them for bigger roles in society.

Happy Teaching,
Clairetza Felix

Clairetza Felix is a senior at St. Francis College, with a major in Childhood Education and a concentration in English. Currently, she serves as the Co-Event Coordinator for the Xi Rho Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. As an aspiring Literacy Specialist, she chose to become a UN Youth Representative to offer a unique approach to education.