Award Honors Sustainability Advocate

October 20, 2011

What, exactly, is education for sustainable development?

Education for Sustainable Development

As the UNESCO representative specializing in the field, professor Charles Hopkins is asked that question quite frequently. Next week, he will share his answer with the Mary Baldwin University (Mary Baldwin) and James Madison University communities during a series of events for students, educators, and the public. Hopkins’ visit is part of his recognition as the recipient of the 2011 Sustainable Visions and Values Award, bestowed annually by the International Beliefs and Values Institute (IBAVI) at Mary Baldwin.

“If you want to see how young people around the world are creating a more sustainable future for us all, look to the pioneering work of Charles Hopkins,” said Craig Shealy, IBAVI executive director.

From his base at York University in Toronto, Hopkins coordinates an international network of institutions from 38 countries that works to embed sustainable development practices in K-12 education, higher education, and public policy. Shealy commended Hopkins’ efforts to broaden the concept of sustainability to not only include how we use and manage our natural resources, but also how our individual and collective behavior affects the long-term success of the human race. Hopkins’ role in establishing Regional Centers of Expertise to look at sustainability issues on a local level, and his work to design K-12 curricula to examine global sustainability are further strides in promoting awareness about the topic.

“Education for sustainable development is one of the more powerful tools for preparing civilizations for the future,” Hopkins said. “There is hope — if we begin to collaborate on a global scale — to see a more sustainable future for all as the ultimate goal of humanity.”

The IBAVI award will be presented to Hopkins at 5:30 p.m. October 27 in Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin during a free event that is open to the public. Hopkins will speak immediately following the presentation, explaining the education for sustainable development (ESD) model and how U.S. educators can apply ESD in their classrooms.

Hopkins will also offer his insight during two additional events:

  • Visiting Scholar Presentation: Education for Sustainable Development: Over Halfway through the Decade of ESD and a Long Way from Sustainability
    on Wednesday, October 26 at
    5:30 p.m., James Madison University, Montpelier Room
  • Integrating Education for Sustainable Development in the Curriculum on
    Thursday, October 27
    at 4 p.m., Mary Baldwin University, Miller Chapel

Since 2006, IBAVI has recognized individuals with the Sustainable Vision and Values Award for making transformative contributions in the areas of conflict resolution, human and minority rights, sustainability, equal treatment and access, global education, and religious and cultural understanding. Claudia Bernardi, artist-in-residence at Mary Baldwin and human rights activist, was the 2009–10 recipient of the award.