15 August 2020

The interest was high when Finland, Fiji, APCEIU, Fingo and Bridge 47 got together to organise an event on the importance of Global Citizenship Education at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York.


The side event brought together close to 100 people on the final day of HLPF, to discuss Global Citizenship Education and why it is important.


“It is at the heart of the sustainable development agenda,” stressed Satu Santala, Director for Development Policy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, when opening the event. “It requires a strong role of governments and all parts of society”, she continued, and stressed that education is lifelong, life-wide, and both informal and non-formal.

Katarina Popovic, Secretary General of ICAE, gave kudos to Finland for mentioning life-long learning. Transformative education allows people to “change themselves and their communities, and contribute to positive changes in society”, she emphasized.

Dr Hyun Mook Lim, Director of APCEIU, noted that Global Citizenship Education awakens us to our shared humanity, and teaches us responsibility and solidarity. As a challenge to Global Citizenship Education, he pointed out the obsession with national competitiveness.

Mr Guy Berger from UNESCO quoted Nelson Mandela, reminding us that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. He noted that generating global citizenship, also at behavioural level, is at the essence of GCE. He also spoke about the importance of media and information literacy in the context of Global Citizenship Education.

Eeva Furman, representing the independent group of scientist working on the report on Agenda 2030, noted that while other SDGs have trade-offs, where you can further one and it may have negative implications on others, Goal 4 on Education does not. She reminded us that hope creates action, and action creates hope.

Mr Satyendra Prasad, Ambassador for Fiji at the UN, contemplated about how education can prepare us for having global citizenship in terms of gender equality, rule of law and participation.

Audience members raised questions on how we can measure success on target 4.7., how Global Citizenship Education can be incorporated into STEM and what the role of universities in this context is.

H.E. Ms. Li Andersson, Minister of Education of Finland, in her final remarks asked the audience to imagine a situation where their houses are burning. Similarly, we are currently in a situation where our planet is burning, and we should do everything in our power to put out the flames.

She stressed the need to engage everyone, all actors, all policy sectors, media and civil society alike for seeking solutions and taking actions together. “The most important skill we learn in school is the ability to learn”, she summarised, stressing that we cannot afford the cost of not investing in education. “SDG4 should come first, and target 4.7. should guide this work”, she said. Quoting the Prime Minister of Finland, she concluded that the time to say “yes, but” is now over.


This live mindmap was created and displayed during the event. You can read more about the event at the Unesco website at


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