On Friday, 13th January, London South Bank University celebrated the 21 year anniversary of the launch of their pioneering Education for Sustainability Masters course. The course was initially established back in 1994 as a partnership between the University and environmental and development NGOs from around the UK, including WWF and Oxfam. In a further innovative step, students involved in the programme choose to study either fulltime through self-supported study at the University, part-time through distance learning, or a mixture of both.
The event was attended in large part by students, past and present, who shared how the course had transformed their lives and, in turn, the lives of the people they had since worked with. I was interested to learn that a large number of the students were from countries in Africa, and had had their places funded through the Commonwealth Scholarship. During the day, young people from countries such as Lesotho and Rwanda, as well as the UK, shared inspiring stories of how the EfS course had helped to transform their communities, and we were even joined remotely by a former student based in Cameroon who shared some of his experiences via skype. The shared aims and desires coming from all corners of the globe helped to reinforce the concept that, regardless of our language, ethnicity, religion or nationality, there is so much which unites us all. This theme was picked up again later on in the afternoon during a workshop by Edible Education director, Poppy Flint, who used a series of interactive processes to work through key points from the excellent Common Cause Handbook which can be accessed for free on the Common Cause Foundation website.
My thoughts about the event re-iterate what was said on the day, mainly, here’s to another 21 years of stimulating, challenging and transformational work on EfS.