Monday, April 9
Won Jung Byun
Senior Project Officer, UNESCO
***This webinar continues the SCC series on “International Perspectives” with host Kim Smith of Portland Community College and the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN). International leaders in sustainability in higher education present to the SCC audience each month.
Sustainable development of a community cannot be achieved by projects or champions — it can only be made possible by continuously enriching a shared vision through learning and imbuing a method of democratic partnership through ongoing practice. Once the level of common understanding reaches a threshold, a culture of sustainable development is formed. From then on, the community will have the power to replicate its practices under different circumstances.
This webinar will look at the story of creating a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) in the southern coastal city of Tongyeong, in South Korea. The role that higher education institutions played and the lessons learned in the process include the importance of balancing the voice of the researchers with the experience of the local partners to effectively produce successful outcomes. While researchers are well equipped with knowledge and expertise in their field, they often lack understanding of the local community. The community groups are well versed in the contextual specificities of the region but could benefit from more long-term and generalized analysis of their challenges. A well-balanced mix of both groups can be the key to successful community development. Additional insights will be shared on the role of UNESCO in ESD and the status of post-GAP planning.
Won-Jung Byun is Senior Project Officer in the Section of Education for Sustainable Development, Division for Peace and Sustainable Development at UNESCO Headquarters. She is the focal point for the post-GAP planning on the Future of ESD. Before joining UNESCO, she worked for 12 years at the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) Tongyeong, Republic of Korea throughout the UN Decade to promote ESD at local, national and regional level. Her work was focused on engagement of policy makers and stakeholders, mobilization of schools and young people. She co-founded Tongyeong Education Foundation for Sustainable Development (2011) and Sejahtera Centre for RCEs in Asia Pacific (2015). Won also served as Asia Pacific RCE’s Regional Coordinator between 2009-2014, to promote ESD among then 42 RCEs in the Asia Pacific region.
Video recording available at: https://youtu.be/Uj9fuf9hcps