24 March 2021

Gulbenkian grantees take part in an initiative by UNESCO

A group of 13 Gulbenkian grantees gathered in an online meeting to discuss the future of education, an initiative promoted by UNESCO and by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, technological evolution, fake news, and social and political extremism are some of the themes that were covered during this meeting that happened online on the 15th of March. Grantees from different fields, ages and geographies gathered to discuss the role of education in a world in crisis, full of uncertainty, constantly changing faster than ever.

The challenge was made by former grantee Catarina Cerqueira, who works for UNESCO in the field of education. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation invited 13 grantees from several fields of knowledge – International Development, Music, Mathematics, from 1st year to PhD students – to take part in a debate organized within the context of the initiative Futures of Education, launched in 2019 by UNESCO in order to rethink educational models.

When discussing about which should be the collective goals for education in 2050, the participants underlined the importance of emotional and spiritual education to educate empathic citizens who are aware of the implications of their actions on the environment and on a global scale; the encouragement of critical thinking and critical spirit, transdisciplinarity and team work; the promotion of diversity and flexibility in our understanding of the world and equality in the access to opportunities.

In the future, education should also, according to the grantees who participated, give us the necessary tools to deal with climate change, the evolution of technology and disinformation, by privileging teaching methods which are more flexible and can be adapted to the needs of the individual.

The report on this meeting will be sent to the UNESCO Futures of Education Commission, thus contributing to the content of the Global Report to be published in November 2021. In this way, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is giving visibility and recognition to its grantees and encouraging the debate about the future, but also strengthening their role as agents of change.