17 February 2019

This short document is UNESCO’s attempt to showcase mostly non-Western ways of knowing (and being) as they relate to the UNESCO defined concept of GCE. Working through examples of La Charte du Manden; Ubuntu; Shura; Hurriya, Karama, Aadala, Nithaam; Gross National Happiness; Hongik-Ingan; Multiculturalism/Interculturalism; Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité; Buen Vivir and Sumak Kawsay.

The document proposes three core notions of GCE – solidarity, respect for diversity and a shared sense of humanity as the three key 'universal' values that can be found across the world in different socio-cultural. The document offers an interpretation as to how each of these different philosophies/modes of being relates to these three core notions. The purpose of the resource was presumably to use examples from different global societies that would confirm that these three key notions are truly globally (universally) shared.

This document is likely the first of its kind (on a global scale) that aims to bring in conversation different living philosophies/cosmologies from across the world to argue for a set of key shared values/notions that may be considered supposedly universal. The document also offers a very good example of how these culturally divergent (and not entirely translatable) concepts are being made to fit a set of pre-defined (Western) frameworks. This is particularly evident in how the document interprets indigenous-based approaches (such as Buen Vivir or Sumak kawsay) that are based on non-anthropocentric (human-centred) notions of relations, but are here for instance interpreted as examples of being supportive of the notion of a 'shared humanity'. 

The document should be of use to anyone interested in exploring approaches to GCE that are not necessarily Western-based, while at same time offering a good example of the challenges of translatability (and reinforcement of dominant frames) that can happen in such encounters. Added bonus of this document is that it includes also references to legal and policy frameworks in individual countries that aim to operationalize these different cosmologies.

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