This course offers an opportunity to deepen the knowledge about the ethical foundation of the Earth Charter and about the worldview that is articulated in it. It considers that the current challenges humanity is facing comes from a sense of disconnection with the essence of our lives and other beings, as well as a lack of shared values and an ethical global consciousness.
- Understand why and how the Earth Charter was created and its relevance to current times.
- Get to know and internalize foundational concepts, values and ethical principles of the Earth Charter.
- Understand and find ways to put into practice values and principles articulated in each Pillar of the Earth Charter.
- Find synergies between the Earth Charter and other international or regional instruments (i.e. the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and others).
- Be acquainted with sensitive issues around some principles of the Earth Charter.
This course is open to all people interested in learning about the values and principles of sustainability articulated in the Earth Charter, deepening their knowledge about it and finding practical ways to implement it.
This is an online non-facilitated course, therefore sessions follow the model of asynchronous learning, where participants have flexibility to complete the sessions when it is convenient for them. The course has an introduction and six sessions; participants can complete this course in six hours, and there is a maximum time of 2 months for registered participants to complete the course. Content is presented in different formats (videos and readings). There are questionnaires to assess understanding and achievement of course objectives.
Course sessions and themes
The course is divided into seven parts, which focus on each section of the Earth Charter.
Introduction: This session will give a general sense of what the Earth Charter is and background information of why and how it was created.
- Session 1: Preamble: This is the first part of the Earth Charter; some foundation principles are presented here. The following sessions go in depth into the meaning and intention of the principles present in each pillar of the Earth Charter:
- Session 2: Pillar I: Respect and Care for the Community of life
- Session 3: Pillar II: Ecological Integrity
- Session 4: Pillar III: Social and Economic Justice
- Session 5: Pillar IV: Democracy, Non Violence and Peace
- Session 6: The Way Forward. In this session several examples and case studies will be presented about how the Earth Charter is put into action in different parts of the world.
Upon completion of the course sessions, participants will receive a certificate of completion.
This course was developed under the framework of the UNESCO Chair in Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter, coordinated by the Earth Charter Center for Education. The Chair is a collaborative effort between UNESCO, Earth Charter International, and the University for Peace to develop educational programmes and research activities related to education, sustainability, and ethics using the Earth Charter as a fundamental reference.
Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development
The Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development, established by Earth Charter International, has a mission to “promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care of the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace,” with a special focus on education.
The Center offers a variety of executive, formative, and educational programmes in leadership for sustainable development, for policy makers, education professionals, youth, and the general public. Research projects are specially developed in partnerships with institutions of national and global relevance.
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Mirian Vilela is the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE. Mirian has been working with the Earth Charter Initiative since early 1996. She coordinates the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter and served as a member of the UNESCO Expert Reference Group for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Over the years she has led and facilitated numerous international workshops, courses and seminars on values and principles for sustainability. Prior to her work with the Earth Charter, Mirian worked for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for two years in preparation of the 1992 UN Earth Summit and a year at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She actively participated in the 2002 World Summit of Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, and the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development/Rio+20. Mirian holds a PhD. in Education from LaSalle University and a Master´s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow. She is originally from Brazil.
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Alicia Jiménez is Director of Programmes at the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat in Costa Rica. She is a biologist from the University of Costa Rica, with a MSc in Resource Development from Michigan State University in the United States and a PhD on Education from La Salle University, Costa Rica. Since 1998, she has been working in the field of conservation and sustainable development. She worked in the IUCN Mesoamerica’s Regional Office and the National University of Costa Rica, and has been involved as a visiting professor at the University for Peace. In 2006, she joined the ECI, where she oversees the Earth Charter work especially in Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In addition, she is involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for sustainable development, facilitating courses and workshops.