President, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Chair, International Commission
In 2019 the Director–General of UNESCO convened an independent International Commission to work under the leadership of the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Her Excellency President Sahle-Work Zewde, and develop a global report on the Futures of Education. The members of the commission were thought-leaders from the worlds of politics, academia, the arts, science, business, and education. The commission was charged with carefully considering inputs received through the different consultation processes and ensuring that this collective intelligence was reflected in the global report and other knowledge products connected with the initiative.
Presentation of the report
In this video members of the International Commission and its chair present their report, highlighting the vision, key recommendations and next steps.
- A call for a new social contract for education
- Human rights and broadening the right to education
- Education as a public endeavor and common good
- Pedagogies of collaboration and solidarity
- Ecological, intercultural and interdisciplinary learning
- Safeguarding and transforming schools
Publications and Working Documents
Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education (November 2021)
Two years in the making, and informed by a consultation process engaging about one million people, this report of the International Commission on the Futures of Education invites governments, institutions, organizations, and citizens around the world to forge a new social contract for education that will help us build peaceful, just, and sustainable futures together for all.
Progress update (March 2021)
In line with the spirit of a broad consultation and co-construction process, the International Commission on the Futures of Education released a Progress Update on its work. It included background information on the initiative and its ambitions, an introduction to the its co-construction and consultation features, and a provisional outline of the Report and the main lines of argument.
Education in a post-COVID world: Nine ideas for public action (June 2020)
The Covid-19 crisis revealed inequalities and vulnerabilities, but it also surfaced extraordinary human resourcefulness and potential. In this new report the International Commission on the Futures of Education proposes policy actions that can be taken today to advance education tomorrow.
Protecting and transforming education for shared futures and common humanity (April 2020)
The International Commission held a special meeting on the COVID-19 health crisis at the beginning of April 2020, when schools and universities were closed in most countries and over 90% of students globally were affected. The Commission recommended strengthening global common goods, protecting and advancing public education, and putting knowledge and learning in the service of alternative futures for humanity and the planet.
Visioning and framing the futures of education (February 2020)
Following its first meeting at UNESCO headquarters on 28-29 January 2020, the International Commission released an outcome document laying out the core elements, principles, and visions that would frame its work.
Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo
Masanori Aoyagi was born in Dalian, China in 1944. As one of the leading researchers on ancient Greek and Roman Art History, Dr. Aoyagi has excavated Mediterranean ruins for over 40 years. Upon graduating in 1967 from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Letters, he studied Classical Art History and Archaeology at The University of Rome from 1969 to 1972. He holds a PhD in Literature. Positions previously held include Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. His current positions include President of Archaeological Institute of Kashihara of Nara Prefecture, and Chairman of Board of Directors of Tama Art University.
Professor, New York University, and Hertie School, Germany
Arjun Appadurai is Professor of Anthropology and Globalization at The Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. He is a leading analyst of the cultural dynamics of globalization. His scholarship addresses diversity, migration, violence and cities. His most recent book (with Neta Alexander) is Failure (Polity Press, 2019).
Founder and President, Ashesi University, Ghana
Patrick Awuah is the Founder and President of Ashesi University in Ghana, which aims to propel an African renaissance by educating a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders. Under Patrick’s leadership, Ashesi combines a rigorous multidisciplinary core with high-impact majors in business, computer science, MIS, and engineering. Patrick is a MacArthur Fellow and recipient of the WISE Prize for Education. In 2015, Patrick was named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune.
Abdel Basset Ben Hassen
President, Arab Institute for Human Rights, Tunisia
Abdelbasset Ben Hassen is the President of the Arab Institute for Human Rights based in Tunisia. With three decades of expertise in the field of human rights education, Ben Hassen has worked in the development and implementation of human rights programs and education reform in the Middle East North Africa region. He has written on human rights, human rights education and culture and was a member of the drafting committee of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education.
Emeritus Professor, University of Brasília
Cristovam Buarque obtained his doctoral degree at Sorbonne Université and previously worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC. He is emeritus professor and former rector of the University of Brasília. In Brazil he has served as Minister of Education, Governor of the Federal District and Senator of the Republic. He is a pioneer in the concept of conditional cash transfers related to education and he has published extensively on the future of basic and higher education both on improving access and on pedagogical innovation.
Founder, Colegio Valle de Filadelfia, Mexico
Elisa Guerra is the founder of Colegio Valle de Filadelfia in Mexico, as well as Director for Latin America for The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential. She was awarded the 2015 “Best Educator in Latin America” prize by the Inter-American Development Bank and Fundación ALAS and has also been a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize. She has authored 26 books and textbooks and is passionate about early education, global citizenship and innovative teaching.
CEO, Crescent Entreprises, United Arab Emirates
Badr Jafar is CEO of Crescent Enterprises, a diversified global business headquartered in the UAE and operating across six industry sectors. He is also President of Crescent Petroleum, the Middle East’s largest privately-owned petroleum company. Through his passion for social entrepreneurship, Jafar serves on the Boards of Advisors of Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa) and Gaza Sky Geeks. He serves on the advisory boards of Cambridge University Judge Business School, the American University of Beirut and the American University of Sharjah.
President, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Former Minister of Education, Republic of Korea
Doh-Yeon Kim worked for close to three decades as professor in the Department of Material Engineering at Seoul National University. He then served as the president of the University of Ulsan and POSTECH. Kim also served as the Minister of Education, Science and Technology and the Chairman of the National Science and Technology Committee for the Government of Republic of Korea. His interests lie in the changes that will occur in education and teaching because of advances in information and communication technology.
Justin Yifu Lin
Dean, Professor, Institute of New Structural Economics, Peking University
Justin Yifu Lin is Dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics, Dean of Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, and Professor and Honorary Dean of National School of Development at Peking University. Prior to this he was Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, as well as founding Director of the China Centre for Economic Research at Peking University. He is the author of numerous books on economics and development.
Evgeny Morozov is a writer and thinker on the social and political implications of information technology. He is the author of The Net Delusion (2011) and To Save Everything, Click Here (2013). He holds a PhD in History of Science from Harvard University and has been a visiting scholar at Georgetown and Stanford universities. He is also the founder of The Syllabus, a media project that seeks to make serious and academic knowledge more accessible to the general public.
Professor, Ontario Institute for the Study of Education, Canada
Karen Mundy is Professor of International and Comparative Education at the University of Toronto. She is a leading expert on education in the developing world and former Chief Technical Officer at the Global Partnership for Education. She has held positions as Canada Research Chair, Associate Dean of Research and Innovation and President of the Comparative and International Education Society. She is the author of 6 books and dozens of articles, book chapters and policy papers dealing with education reform, policy and civil society.
Ambassador of Portugal to UNESCO
António Nóvoa is Honorary President of the University of Lisbon, having been its President between 2006 and 2013. A professor of education, he holds PhDs from the University of Geneva and the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne. He has conducted seminars and delivered lectures in more than 40 countries and is the author of more than 200 academic works. Nóvoa currently serves as the Portuguese Ambassador to UNESCO.
Fernando M. Reimers
Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA
Fernando M. Reimers is the Professor of International Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at Harvard. An expert in the field of global citizenship education, his work focuses on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century. He has written and edited or co-edited 26 academic books and published over 100 articles and book chapters focusing on the relevance of education for a changing world.
Tarcila Rivera Zea
Executive Director, Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú
Tarcila Rivera Zea is one of the most recognized indigenous activists in Peru and the world. For more than 30 years she has been defending indigenous rights through CHIRAPAQ, the Center for Indigenous Cultures of Peru, an association that promotes the affirmation of cultural identity and the education of indigenous women and young leaders. She is also involved with the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA) and the International Indigenous Women´s Forum (FIMI).
Serigne Mbaye Thiam
Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senegal
Serigne Mbaye Thiam graduated from the Rouen Business School. In Senegal he has served as government spokesperson, Minister of Higher Education and Research and Minister of Education. In 2018 he was Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education. Currently Thiam is the Senegalese Minister of Water and Sanitation.
President, World Leadership Alliance/Club de Madrid, Former President of Latvia
Vaira Vike-Freiberga served as the President of Latvia from 1999 to 2007. Currently she is the President of the World Leadership Alliance/Club de Madrid. Vike-Freiberga has served as Special Envoy on UN reform and on numerous High-level groups for the European Union. She is the author of 17 books and over 200 articles and is an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University.
Director, Carnegie Middle East Center, Lebanon
Maha Yahya is director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, based in Lebanon, where her work focuses broadly on political violence, identity politics, inequality, citizenship, and the refugee crisis. She has PhDs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Architectural Association in London. She is co-chair of the International Advisory Board for the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut, as well as president of the Board of Directors of the Ana Aqra Association.
Mandate of the International Commission
The mandate of the International Commission on the Futures of Education is to collectively reflect on how education might need to be re-thought in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity. The commission will present analysis and recommendations in the form of a report which will serve as an agenda for policy dialogue and action at multiple levels. Looking at the year 2050 and beyond, the report will suggest visions and strategies for both education policy and education practice to adopt. As an integral part of the process of developing the report and engaging with relevant stakeholders from around the globe, the Commission shall consider how best to maximize the ongoing impact of the report beyond its release.
The Commission is to take into consideration recent geopolitical shifts, accelerated environmental degradation and climate change, changing patterns of human mobility, and the exponential pace of scientific and technological innovation. At the same time, the report should envisage and analyse the multiple possible futures of technological, social, economic, and environmental disruption and how education might both affect and be affected by these futures.
The Commission will include in its report a consideration of the longstanding UNESCO commitment to a pluralistic, integrated and humanistic approach to education and knowledge as public goods. The Commission is invited to challenge and re-evaluate the foundational principles laid out in previous UNESCO global reports about education.
In sum, the Commission will focus on rethinking the role of education, learning and knowledge in light of the tremendous challenges and opportunities of predicted, possible, and preferred futures.