Conference Promotes New Approach to Sustainability Education, Training
Sustainability, eco-efficiency and social responsibility –– These are not just buzzwords, but are becoming a way of life for individuals, institutions, corporations and even nations.
“Putting children, youth and the environment at the center of all our human activities and future development plans is the key to a better future,” affirmed Salah Arafa, professor of physics and coordinator of the upcoming conference at AUC, Education and Training for Sustainability.
Sustainability, Arafa explained, is not just about policies and procedures related to proper environmental management. It’s about instilling sustainable development concepts in youth from an early age.“High-quality education and training on the principles of sustainability from pre-school to university to adult education, all the way to scientific research, can be applied everywhere,” he noted. “We must involve all stakeholders in community dialogue, create lasting partnerships with NGOs and provide more support to young researchers, entrepreneurs and social innovators. There is a vital need to connect teaching in the classroom to work, community and the environment.”
Recognizing education, training and public awareness as essential tools for achieving sustainable development, educational institutions around the globe are increasingly integrating sustainability concepts into their academic programs and course material, as well as their daily operations. Educators, Arafa noted, are best fit to instill sustainability values in students through interdisciplinary instruction, interactive discussions, as well as engagement in activities outside the classroom.“The aim is to produce citizens who are well-educated and knowledgeable about sustainability issues, and who possess essential technological and professional skills that would enable them to be active participants in community development and environmental protection,” he said.
Operating from that premise, the conference addresses four main topics:
1) Education and Training, Formal and Informal
2) Appropriate Technologies, Policies and Approaches
3) Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Contexts
4) Social Justice and Sustainable Communities Case Studies
The event includes keynote speakers from different parts of the world:
1) H.P. Garg, professor and former head of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India
2) Lars Broman, professor of physics and vice chancelor of the Strömstad Academy in Sweden
3) Anthony Ighodaro, chair of the African Renewable Energy Alliance, South Africa
4) Tarek Shawki, dean of AUC’s School of Sciences and Engineering