(7th March 2016) Boston Global Forum (BGF) friends will want to hear and see this learned and passionate presentation by Prof. Carlos Alberto Torres on the potential of global education and citizenship programs to promote world peace. At the end of his more formal remarks, he responds to questions about his ideas.
His presentation was another in the series of online dialogues produced by the BGF as part of its BGF-G7 Summit Initiative.
Professor Torres, a BGF member, is Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences and Comparative Education and the UNESCO Chair of Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education at the University of California at Los Angeles.
The BGF has strongly collaborated with the UCLA program because of its potential to help create a global environment that encourages mutual understanding of national and other differences and similarities by people around the world, and thus cooperation and peace.
Dr. Torres discussed how promoting a sense of global citizenship (which he emphasized does not mean abandoning national citizenship) — to be spawned by emphasizing multicultural/multinational education — can help address such problems as:
- Growing socio-economic inequality.
- Rapacious individualism eroding concern for the public good.
- Rigid teacher-based, instead of student-based, education.
- A “predatory’’ attitude toward the earth’s resources instead of acceptance of the need for sustainable use of what Professor Torres calls the “global commons.’’
He discussed how engendering a sense of global citizenship (and what he called “hospitality’’ ) through education can fight terrorism by encouraging mutual respect and understanding among different cultures and nations, thus facilitating conflict resolution and reducing “extreme nationalism,’’ and the bigotry and aggression that can accompany it.
He added that cyber-security (a major issue for the BGF-G7 Summit Initiative) can be strengthened by education programs to foster honorable behavior and respect for the truth on the Internet.
At the same time, he observed that there are limits to how much the Internet, which is vulnerable to many bad actions, can be used to develop and maintain healthy relationships. People, including students and their teachers, need to have frequent in-person encounters, too, if they are to better understand, and empathize with, each other.
He advised G7 leaders to promote global citizenship education out of enlightened self-interest. Professor Torres noted that “people (voters) want peace and the protection of the planet’’ and that they will support leaders who encourage these things through such programs such as the Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education Program at UCLA.
He warned at the end of his remarks that the world faces a “race between chaos and education.’’