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2 April 2020
Kyrstie Brown

Sonja Salminen is Bridge 47’s National Officer for MUNDU Centre for Global Education, the only organisation in Denmark that specialises in global education.

Having worked for MUNDU for over 18 years, Sonja has dedicated her career to Global Citizenship Education (referred to as global education in Denmark) and is a passionate believer in its ability to change the world. “If you don't have global education, how can you have global solidarity? How can you improve the world in any way?” she asks rhetorically, in response to the question of why GCE is important.

In the past few years, MUNDU has gone from being an unrecognised player in Denmark to being called upon as experts in Target 4.7. In 2019, they successfully brought the Envision 4.7 Roadmap before Parliament, got contact to MESIN - a Target 4.7 mapping commissioned by the Nordic Council for which they are working on organising a Target 4.7 conference for, participated in the Danish national institute of statistics' work on indicators for the SDGs and have worked with the RCE-network on a document targeting Danish Members of Parliament on Education for Sustainable Development.

While Sonja largely attributes these successes to an increased awareness of Target 4.7, which have strengthened MUNDUs messages and visibility in GCE discussions, a lot of these accomplishments could not have been achieved without her hard work and dedication. As someone with no prior experience in advocacy, Sonja’s self-professed “small steps” in advocacy work have yielded huge results for MUNDU and GCE in Denmark.

Presenting the Envision 4.7 Roadmap to Parliament

In 2018, Sonja reached out to CISU and Global Focus (two large CSO coalitions) to discuss ways to raise the agenda of Target 4.7 in Denmark. One idea from CISU was to get in contact with the CEO of World’s Best News - an independent Danish news organization that reports on global development - who was a member of the 2030 Panel.

The 2030 Network is the Danish Parliament’s nonpartisan network for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and a smaller 2030 Panel exists as an advisory board for the Network, made up of representatives from trade organizations, CSO’s, unions, academia and those in the private sector. “I spoke to the CEO of World’s Best News about the Envision 4.7 Roadmap and worked with Bridge 47’s Advocacy Coordinator in 2019 to create a one pager document outlining the roadmap’s recommendations at a meeting with the 2030 panel. Now I hope more members of the 2030 Panel are aware of the recommendations outlined in 4.7.”

“To keep the momentum going, I have since been in contact with the CEO’s of Global Focus and World’s Best News and a colleague from CISU on creating an advocacy event with the Danish Government and the SDG network on how we could proceed with Target 4.7."

Knowledge Exchange Partnership with Nordic Mapping Project

Through Bridge 47, MUNDU have recently established a knowledge exchange partnership with the Danish researcher involved in MESIN, a project launched by the Nordic Council to map Target 4.7 across Scandinavian and Nordic Countries.

“When we heard the Nordic Council’s decision that target 4.7 should be priority for this project, MUNDU applied to NORDPLUS for funding to organise a conference on Target 4.7. We have also approached the coordinator of MESIN to ask if they could participate in the conference and finance part of it, and there appears to be some interest. This conference will hopefully be made in collaboration with a Norwegian CSO, a government institution from the Faroe Islands, Sweden and potentially Finland through FINGO.”

Raising the Conversation of Global Education

At the start of 2019, MUNDU were invited to join a Ministry of Education (MoE) meeting with CISU to discuss GCE and Target 4.7. Later that year, MUNDU and CISU invited members of the MoE to a meeting - one of the first meetings in Denmark on GCE involving both CSOs and the MoE. “At this meeting, a representative of the MoE gave a speech about how there is space in the Danish curriculum for primary and secondary education for global education. While there is no formal strategy from the MoE on global education teacher training, MUNDU will work on opening the discussion for this next year.” The Danish National Commission for UNESCO invited MUNDU to a formal launch of their new strategy in which GCE is explained in Danish and comprises one third of their overall strategy.

Hopes for the Future

“Firstly, I hope the mapping from the Nordic council will do its job, and show how Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Finland and Norway are way ahead of Denmark in terms of GCE, and so we should follow suit. Secondly, I hope that eventually, some part of teacher education and training will include GCE. Many educators are interested in GCE and would benefit from such training. MUNDU have trained a lot of teachers in global education and the feedback is always that their students really enjoy it and seem to get a lot out of it.”

If anyone can do it, it's Sonja.

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