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Celebrating Global Education for Sustainable Development: a discussion and showcase of collaboration, innovation, and student leadership for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)


July 10, 2024

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Celebrating Global Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) webinar

In celebration of 10 years of the Responsible Futures programme, Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK) facilitated a webinar on Celebrating Global Education for Sustainable Development, showcasing the progress and brilliant achievements of participating institutions and launching the first ever Responsible Futures impact report.

The webinar began with an introduction to the Responsible Futures programme and the new report, which is structured around four key programme outcomes and includes case studies, photos and quotes.

Some of the programme’s key figures to date include:

  • Working with students to lead 55 student-led audits – students determine if their institution will achieve the Responsible Futures accreditation.
  • Working with institutions on over 3000 actions taken for ESD.
  • Worked with 48 institutions reaching nearly 1,100,000 students globally.
  • Collaborated with over 230 students’ auditors to lead Responsible Futures audits.
  • Facilitated over 75 network learning meetings/ events

Case Studies

After launching the report, four Responsible Futures institutions highlighted their work to embedding sustainability in the curriculum.

  • Andrew Reeves, Academic Lead for ESD from De Montfort University, presented their sustainability work on ESD and Academic Quality. The project report demonstrated how academic quality processes could adopt ESD within higher education institutions (HEI).
  • Celia Davidson Francis, Regional Director from the University of the West Indies (UWI), discussed their sustainability work around civic engagement and its alignment with Responsible Futures. At the UWI, civic engagement encompasses active volunteering, community service and social responsibility within a whole-institution approach to embedding sustainability.
  • Bethany Lewis, Sustainable Education Project Manager, University of Exeter – revealed their work around empowering students through the Responsible Futures Programme.
  • Cassi Brennan and Allison Maxted, Mohawk College showcased their work on Democratising Education: Establishing Students’ Sustainability Priorities and how Responsible Futures is helping to progress this area of work.

ESD Panel Discussion

The final part of the webinar was an insightful panel discussion with senior leaders, student representatives and an expert in ESD. The panel included:

  • Professor Dr Andrew Deeks - Vice Chancellor and President of Murdoch University, Chair of International Association of Universities (IAU) Board.
  • Professor Dr Inga Žalėnienė - Rector of Mykolas Romeris University, IAU Vice President.
  • Marks Manns - UNESCO ESD Programme Specialist.
  • Peter Kwasi Kodjie - Secretary-General of the All-Africa Students Union(AASU), Chair of Students Organising for Sustainability International Board.

The panelists were first asked about the importance of ESD and programmes like Responsible Futures. The panelists referred to the benefits of the programme being knowledge exchange, sharing best practice and promoting collaboration across institutions locally and globally for ESD.

"Programmes like Responsible Futures unite students and universities in the search for solutions for major challenges our planet and people currently face. As rector of Mykolas Romeris University, it's important to be a part of the Responsible Futures international pilot and to provide the space for and encourage our students to meet by using challenge-based and experimental methods in teaching and learning about climate change."

"I believe the knowledge we get from RF will help our students learn -especially learn in practical application of our university context which will add great value to their future careers. This will help them to make informed decisions at all levels - regional, international etc." -
Professor Dr Inga Žalėnienė

Other panel conversations included engaging senior leaders to gain buy-in for ESD, and student and institution collaboration.

While Peter Kwasi Kodjie was unable to join due to inclement weather in Accra, Ghana, Peter kindly shared his thoughts over email, saying:

“Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and programs like Responsible Futures are pivotal in cultivating a generation of students who are not only academically capable but also socially responsible and environmentally conscious. As the General Secretary of the All-Africa Students Union (AASU), I see these programs as essential in our mission to democratize education across Africa and ensure that it is inclusive and equitable.”


If you would like to listen to the full panel discussion, please watch the full webinar on YouTube.

Thank you to our panelists: Mark Manns, Dr Andrew Deeks, Professor Dr Inga Žalėnienė and Peter Kwasi Kodjie for sharing your valuable insights during the panel discussion.

Thank you to Dr Andrew Reeves - De Montfort University, Celia Davidson Francis – University of the West Indies, Beth Lewis – University of Exeter and Cassi Brennan and Allison Maxted– Mohawk College, for presenting your ESD work at your institution and for everyone who joined and participated.

Responsible Futures is a supported change programme delivered by SOS-UK, partnering universities and colleges with students to embed sustainability in all student learning. To learn more about Responsible Futures, please visit our website.