UNESCO award for KÖLI research centre
(27 August 2012) The Cultural Ecology and Literature Didactics (Kulturökologie und Literaturdidaktik – KÖLI) research centre at the University of Siegen, which was founded by Prof. Dr. Berbeli Wanning, has been granted an award by the German Commission for UNESCO as a project of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
This award is given to initiatives that are exemplary in implementing the objective of this global educational initiative by the United Nations: they teach sustainable thinking and actions to children and adults. “The KÖLI research centre impressively demonstrates what education fit for the future could look like. The jury’s vote honours this project because it communicates in a clear way how people can act sustainably,” says Prof. Dr. Gerhard de Haan, Chairman of the National Committee and of the Jury of the UN Decade in Germany.
If you really want to raise environmental awareness in a lasting way, you have to start with teaching training. Founded by Prof. Dr. Berbeli Wanning at the Chair of Literature Didactics II (Faculty of Arts), the goal of the KÖLI research centre is to root the idea of “education for sustainable development” as an integral part of teacher training studies for the key subject of German. In close cooperation with Dr. Elisabeth Hollerweger, Prof. Wanning developed a concept that has now recently convinced the German Commission for UNESCO. In order to maintain the connection with international development, the main principle of sustainability needs to be given a content that is able to inspire children and young people.
The topic of humans, nature and the environment, encoded in manifold ways in literature and the media, is central to literature didactics oriented towards interdisciplinary contents as presented by the KÖLI research centre. It thereby plays an important role in turning the project into a structure where sustainability education is concerned. This gives the subject a more binding nature and supports the path towards the learning society of the future. By granting this award, the German Commission for UNESCO is honouring the work of the KÖLI research centre as an effective step on this path.
UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
Sustainable development only works if everyone is committed to a society that is humane and dignified. The necessary skills to achieve this are imparted by Education for Sustainable Development (ESD, for short). With the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), the states of the United Nations have committed themselves to rooting this kind of learning in their education systems. On the basis of a unanimous decision of the Bundestag, the German Commission for UNESCO is coordinating the German activities for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. They have appointed a national committee and set up a decade coordination office with funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.