Crisis situations affect the realization of human rights of many people and communities across all regions of the world. In this context, and with the rise of political and ideological extremism including extremist nationalism, many countries are struggling to learn to live together and embrace the cultural diversity of their societies. In the face of protracted conflicts or refugee crises, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure our societies and national education systems transmit values of solidarity beyond national borders, empathy, and a sense of belonging to a common humanity – which are core elements promoted through Global Citizenship Education (GCED).
Within UNESCO’s relevant areas of work, GCED is a powerful approach to education that can empower people to recover from crises and transform their communities into peaceful and sustainable societies. This includes other specific educational approaches that provide effective entry points for promoting GCED, such as education for international understanding, peace and human rights education. UNESCO supports Member States, including those affected by crisis situations, in achieving progress towards Target 4.7 within the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to do so, UNESCO commissioned a desk study that aimed at reviewing existing research on the promotion and implementation of GCED and related programs in countries affected by crisis situations, with particular attention to initiatives benefiting the refugee population.
This study unveils the key challenges these programs encounter in such contexts, as well as promising practices that can guide the design and implementation of future GCED in crisis situations. This report is a synthesis of this desk study and supports the evidence that, after analyzing the context and the available means, GCED and related programs can and should be systematically adapted and implemented in crisis situations, including in response to refugee crises.
Five main recommendations for GCED in crisis situations, it should:
- Be contextualized/pragmatic:
- Responding to local needs including through a needs’ assessment
- Taking into account realities and constraints due to the crisis situation
- Be inclusive and participative (human rights‐based):
- Involving all stakeholders
- Developed and sustained in collaboration with local communities
- Reaching out with an increased attention to vulnerable groups
- Be holistic/systemic:
- Covering the local/national and global dimensions
- Be integrated into various sub‐topics
- Be implemented in a whole‐school approach
- Be adjustable and based on feedback and evaluation:
- Benefiting from feedback and evaluation processes to correct shortcomings
- Include the provision for periodic review and renewal
- Be backed by supportive and sustainable policies and strategies:
- Embedded in policy with wide stakeholder buy‐in
- Supported by pre‐service and continuing in‐service teacher training
- Backed by a resource mobilization strategy and long‐term funding
- Supported by monitoring/evaluation and research based on quantitative and qualitative indicators
- Scalable with follow‐up and quality education