Sustainability Advocate Visits Campus

March 13, 2012

Originally scheduled to visit Mary Baldwin University in the fall, Charles Hopkins, internationally renowned expert in the field of education for sustainable development, is on campus this week. His visit includes a public talk in Francis Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on March 14.

The following information appeared in a story that appeared on Mary Baldwin News in October.

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. This 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.”

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.