Kyushu University UNESCO Chair

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UNESCO Chair holder

Kyushu University’s UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, Social Justice and Global Citizenship was launched in April 2021. In collaboration with our large network of international partners, we investigate education’s role in securing or undermining peace, equity and transnationalism, with a particular focus on Asian contexts. While taking account of related SDGs, we probe and critique the ways in which these goals, and the concepts underlying them, are conventionally interpreted. In particular, we challenge the narrowly technocratic and instrumentalist assumptions that typically dominate educational debate, instead promoting interdisciplinary examination of the political, social and cultural ramifications of education. As the climate crisis, disease, economic dislocation and chauvinist ideologies exacerbate inequality and fuel conflict worldwide, the Kyushu University UNESCO Chair EPSG forms a hub for collaborative work on education’s contribution to securing a harmonious, equitable and sustainable future for our planet.

The UNESCO Chair EPSG – Our Mission

Humanity today faces unprecedented, interrelated crises: global heating; biodiversity loss; intensifying socio-economic inequality; technology-assisted concentration of corporate and state power. Our educational policies and practices all too often obstruct rather than facilitate the urgent collective action needed to meet these threats. Rather than promoting joy in learning, consciousness of shared humanity and duty to each other and the planet, education frequently fosters antagonism, rapacious competitiveness, and dehumanising regimentation.

The UNESCO Chair EPSG forms a hub for research, postgraduate training and scholarly exchange devoted to critiquing our established approaches to education, with a particular focus on Asian experience. Key themes of our work include:

・Challenging instrumentalism:
We seek to rethink education in the light of environmental and technological change, encompassing a vision of human flourishing that extends well beyond ‘human capital’ formation;
Head with instruments

・Confronting hatred:
We promote critical analysis of education’s role in shaping identity and civic consciousness, and its implications for valuing diversity and promoting peace;
Vickers reflection

・Critiquing inequity:
Investigating competitive intensity in education, meritocratic ideology, and their implications for governance and control; equity and equality; and social justice.
Chinese museum classroom

Rather than assuming that education can or should offer answers or ‘solutions’ to our various crises, we promote the interdisciplinary analysis of education in its social, political and cultural context. Our work therefore extends beyond schools and classrooms, showing how the transformation of education both contributes to, and depends upon, a wider transformation of our social, political and economic order.

Vickers photo
Professor Edward Vickers
UNESCO Chair holder