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21.11.19

KU is honored as ‘exemplary place of learning’

For the third time in a row, the KU has been honored as a place of learning for “Education for sustainable development” (BNE) by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German UNESCO Commission. Dr. Ingrid Hemmer, the sustainability development coordinator at the KU, accepted the prize on behalf of the KU in Berlin on Wednesday. As early as in 2010, the KU Presidium decided to make sustainability an integral part of the University’s overall concept. The jury justified their decision for the KU with the following statement: “Since then, this place of learning has successfully developed and promoted its holistic approach to education for sustainable development by providing the required resources and pursuing a regular reporting policy. The jury in particular praises the fact that the university compiles a sustainability report in collaboration with its students once a year.”


Dr. Catrin Hannken (Head of the department for regional education, education for sustainable development in the German Federal Ministry of Research) and retired Minister Walter Hirche (International advisor of the national BNE platform and chairman of the expert educational committee of the German UNESCO Commission) presented the award to the KU sustainable development coordinator Prof. Dr. Ingrid Hemmer (middle). (Photo: German UNESCO Commission/Thomas Müller)

Dr. Catrin Hannken (Head of the department for regional education, education for sustainable development in the German Federal Ministry of Research) and retired Minister Walter Hirche (International advisor of the national BNE platform and chairman of the expert educational committee of the German UNESCO Commission) presented the award to the KU sustainable development coordinator Prof. Dr. Ingrid Hemmer (middle). (Photo: German UNESCO Commission/Thomas Müller)

One hundred exemplary initiatives were honored at the ceremony – among them 55 places of learning, 36 networks and nine communities. The President of the German UNESCO Commission, Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer, emphasized: “The 100 initiatives that we are honoring this year show in a remarkable way that education for sustainable development is an important catalyst for achieving the global sustainability goals set by the United Nations.” State Secretary Christian Luft (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) said: “Today’s award-winning initiatives show the diversity and the benefits that education for sustainable development has on our lives. They contribute to integrating sustainability as a completely natural part of the daily lives of many, many people. They have a motivating, activating effect and show how education for sustainable development can be implemented successfully.”

The “Netzwerk Hochschule und Nachhaltigkeit Bayern”, in the initiation of which the KU was involved as well, was also awarded with a prize for being a “role model for sustainability”. The overarching goal was to expand and tighten the network of Bavarian universities and higher education institutions in the field of education for sustainable development. It offers committed representatives of universities and other higher education institutions in Bavaria a regional platform for exchanging information and experience in the fields of governance and institutionalization, research, teaching, education, campus management and transfer (into society). The website of the network, which is publicly accessibly at www.nachhaltigehochschule.de introduces jointly developed concepts and provides information on the network meetings for interested higher education institutions from Germany and abroad. The network meets two times a year.

Since 2016, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German UNESCO Commission have been awarding prizes for education initiatives once a year as part of the national implementation of the UNCESCO World Action Programme “Education for Sustainable Development”. The initiatives are selected by a jury consisting of members of the national platform BNE as well as representatives from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Freie Universität Berlin and the DUK. In addition to focusing on the areas such as learning content, methods and learning processes, the award-winning initiatives also apply the concept of education for sustainable development on all their actions and activities. They also implement the sustainability principle in their own management structures. Like this, they contribute to the integration of education for sustainable development into the German educational landscape. The winners present their initiatives on the website of the BNE portal as an official part of the World Action Programme and can benefit from the exchange with other players in the large network involving both theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Furthermore, the Freie Universität Berlin and the DUK are happy to support the initiatives in development issues.

More detailed information on KU activities in the field of sustainability is available at www.ku.de/nachhaltigkeit.

 

Background on “Education for Sustainable Development”

BNE is the German abbreviation for education for sustainable development. Development is deemed to be sustainable when it allows people all around the world, today and in the future, to live in dignity and develop their needs and talents while at the same time respecting the boundaries of our planet. Such social transformation requires strong institutions, participatory decision-making and conflict resolution processes, know-how, technology as well as new and innovative behavioral patterns. Education is a crucial component of sustainable development. It allows people to make informed decisions on their future and critically assess how their own actions will influence future generations and living conditions in other parts of the world. In the United Nations 2030 Global Sustainability Agenda and the UNESCO World Action Programme “Education for Sustainable Development” (2015-2019), the implementation of education for sustainable development has been laid down as a common goal for the world community. Germany contributes to this implementation with its national action plan for education for sustainable development which was adopted by the national platform for BNE in June 2017.