May 31, 2023
On May 18, Okayama University received a renewal of the accreditation by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Headquarters in Paris, France to designate the “Okayama University UNESCO Chair: Research and Education for Sustainable Development.” The accreditation period is for four years to June 2027. Professor YOKOI Atsufumi, Vice President for Global Engagement, was appointed again as the UNESCO Chairholder.
In April 2007, Okayama University was selected as the first UNESCO Chair in Asia with the aim to promote the “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)” initiatives of the UN. The university has promoted the UN’s “Decade of ESD (2005 to 2014)” and its successor, the “Global Action Program (GAP),” and since 2015, a wide range of projects that are contributing to the achievement of SDG 4 “Quality education for all” in an interdisciplinary manner, while strengthening its cooperation with the UN and other international organizations. With the mission of further contributing to improving the well-being of the whole planet from this region, Okayama University applied for a renewal of its accreditation with the UNESCO Headquarters in February 2023.
So far, under the initiative of the Graduate School of Environmental, Life, Natural Science and Technology and the Graduate School of Education, Okayama University has fostered highly specialized human resources based on ESD and supported educational and hands-on activities, as well as participating in the HESD (Higher Education for Sustainable Development) Forum (an ESD network of higher education institutions in Japan), ProSPER.Net (the United Nations University’s ESD network of postgraduate schools in the Asia-Pacific region), and ASPUnivNet (a network among universities supporting UNESCO Associated Schools), among other initiatives to advance partnerships with higher education institutions in Japan and overseas.
In particular, with this renewed accreditation, Okayama University has received recognition for significantly contributing to “ESD for 2030,” a roadmap for UNESCO by carrying out effective promotion activities, such as developing a framework for teacher education for ESD in the Asia-Pacific region, establishing collaborations with other UNESCO Chairs and the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), and partnerships with universities in Europe and North America. Among other achievements is Okayama University’s joint translation of UNESCO’s publication “Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives.” Expectations have now been placed on Okayama University as a higher education institution that will continue to conduct broad-ranging ESD-related activities.
Going forward, Okayama University will work to solve various issues, ranging from regional ones to global ones, on a university-wide level through activities including the promotion of research and educational activities in the field of oceanology under the initiative of the Ushimado Marine Institute of the School of Science, to contribute to the UN’s “Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030),” which started in 2021. In addition, there will be a further expansion of such activities to collaborate with the UN and other youth networks in Japan and overseas through the appointment of Okayama University UNESCO Chair ambassadors, focusing on developing next-generation human resources targeting university and high school students. The university will also provide support for startups and data science education, mainly through DS (data science) club activities.
■［External website］ UNESCO Chairs/UNITWIN project
■［External website］ Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives