APCEIU co-organized the UNESCO GCED Roundtable on the Role of Sports in Fostering Global Citizenship Education with the Group of Friends for Solidarity and Inclusion with GCED, the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea (ROK), UNESCO, and UNESCO on 14 October. The event, which was conducted as an in-person event at UNESCO HQ in Paris, France, aimed to highlight the role of sports in fostering values and virtues embraced by global citizenship, share practices of GCED through sports and discuss practical challenges, and make GCED friendlier and easily accessible for the wider public. Approximately 90 participants from 40 countries participated in the event.
H.E. Ms Bak Sang Mee, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO and Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO, delivered opening remarks to begin the event. In her speech, Ambassador Bak stressed the need to enhance the visibility of GCED and make GCED more easily and broadly accessible to the public through interesting themes such as sports. Ms Stefania Giannini expressed concern over reduced accessibility to education and sports for disabled children and young girls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted the critical role of GCED in transforming education to foster critical thinking and be inclusive.
After the opening remarks, Mr Lim Hyun Mook, Director of APCEIU, moderated presentations from the speakers, a panel discussion on the practices of GCED through sports and challenges in strengthening the role of sports in fostering global citizenship, and a Q&A session. Ms Khalida Popal, former captain of the Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team and founder/director of Girl Power Organization, shared her experience in using soccer as a medium to advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Dr Simon Darnell, Associate Professor of Sports for Development at the University of Toronto, offered his insights as an academic, proposing that sports and GCED offers each other mutual benefits, where GCED offers sports a conceptual framework for sports to have a positive impact on humanity, and sports offers GCED a popular and tangible cultural form through which it can be realized. Ms Jane Njue, Assistant Director of Applied Research at the Kenyan Institute of Curriculum Development summarized Kenya’s experience in implementing a GCED-integrated curriculum in the post-conflict county of Baringo. Finally, Mr Izzat Jandali, shared his experiences in teaching soccer to refugees in Za’atari, Jordan. In the panel discussions, the presenters emphasized the need for both sports-related organizations to encourage athletes to demonstrate their global citizenship, as well as the need for community-based changes.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Lim Hyun Mook expressed that as GCED should be realized through our actions and attitudes in all aspects of life, sports should also provide platforms for cooperation and solidarity. He also introduced APCEIU’s plans to publish a GCED material, “Learning GCED through Soccer” with the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs.