Education Program Director: Dr Daryl Le Cornu
A major focus of the Institute is the development of academic courses on topics concerning international governance in the 21st century.
Daryl is interested in promoting knowledge and understanding of the UN and other global institutions. He has been involved in writing material for the module on ‘World Order’ in the HSC Legal Studies syllabus in New South Wales, and for the ‘United Nations’ module in the Modern History syllabus. The history of the European Union is an important topic that needs to be included in the HSC syllabus.
In the near future, we hope to establish a community education course on ‘The United Nations for the People in the 21st Century’. Daryl is completing a series of educational podcasts as part of the IGPSG Education Program.
Thinking outside the box
Positive Peace Workshops
Vision of Humanity Peace Academy
Meet Positive Peace, the post-COVID recovery framework.
Created by the non-partisan and internationally renowned think-tank the Institute for Economics & Peace, this free short course introduces the transformational framework — Positive Peace. Rethink peace with the Institute's data driven approach and discover how Positive Peace is associated with better performance on ecological sustainability, improved wellbeing, stronger GDP growth rates and better business outcomes.
Expert instruction from the Institute for Economics & Peace.
The non-partisan, non-politically aligned Positive Peace Academy provides the knowledge and a neutral baseline from which you create your own practical approach to peaceful societal change, whether at home, in business, or in the community. The Positive Peace Academy equips all students with current, data-driven research and ongoing opportunities to remain involved in the IEP’s commitment to peacebuilding.
Future Focused History
Future-Focused History is the commonsense idea that knowledge from the past can inform judgment in the future, an idea that goes back at least twenty-four centuries to the time of Thucydides in Greece and Sun Tzu in China.
Future-Focused History education calls on history teachers to take charge of history schooling and restore the power of historical learning.
Future-Focused History is based on a recent book by American author Mike Maxwell's whose main proposition is that we should be teaching history in school that is 'future focused' tto enable us to make decsions in the present for the future. He argues that too much history content taught in school's is 'inert' and not useful.
For more info: https://futurefocusedhistory.blog. Maxwell's ideas fit in well with the IGPSG approach in that we are all about doing things that are useful for the future by working together towards global peace and sustainable governance.
The Institute will create a series of lectures aimed at social history educators and students to take charge of history education and restore the power of historical learning.
According to Economist Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics is an economic model that balances between essential human needs and planetary boundaries.
Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. Simply put, the principle of Doughnut Economics is to ensure that no one is denied life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while collectively working together to not overexert more pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.
Kate Raworth, Economist from Oxford University
Photo: The Big Idea NZ
“The goal of the economy should be to meet the needs of all within the means
of the planet.”
Diagram 1 Doughnut Economics (Raworth, 2017, pp.44-45).
“The essence of the doughnut: a social foundation of well-being that no one should fall below, and an ecological ceiling of planetary pressure that we should not go beyond. Below the Doughnuts social foundation lie shortfalls in human wellbeing, faced by those who lack lifes essentials such as food, education, and housing. Beyond the ecological ceiling lies pressure on Earth’s life-giving systems, such as through climate change, ocean acidification, and chemical pollution. But between these two sets of boundaries lies a sweet spot – shaped unmistakenly like a doughnut – that is both an ecologically safe and socially just space for humanity. The twenty first century task is an unprecedented one: to bring all humanity into that safe and just space” (Raworth, 2017, p. 45).
Diagram 2 Current overshoot of planetary boundaries (Raworth, 2017, p.51).
“Transgressing both sides of the Doughnut’s boundaries. The [red] wedges below the social foundation show the proportion of people worldwide falling short in lifes basics. The [red] wedges radiating beyond the ecological ceiling show the overshoot of planetary boundaries” (Kate Raworth p. 51).
The concept of Planetary boundaries “come from the 2009 work of Johan Rockstrom and Will Steffen” (Kate Raworth p. 48).
Creating City Portraits
The purpose of this Creating City Portraits document, is to bring the operating principles of the Doughnut Economics Diagrams above, from the global level, down to the local level. The concept is to paint a portrait of your local government area on how it is now, and then in conjunction with community leaders, create a new portrait of how your community would look if it adopted the Doughnut Economics paradigm. Then, with those community leaders, you set about actualising Doughnut Economics locally.
Kate Raworth (2017). Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist. New York, United States: Random House. ISBN 978-184794138-1.
Kate Raworth is an English economist working for the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. She is known for her work on 'doughnut economics', which she understands as an economic model that balances between essential human needs and planetary boundaries.
The idea of Kate's Doughnut Economics was brought to our attention by member of the IGPSG Advisory Committee, Michael de Mol.
Arvanitakis and Winchester on education: Reflecting on graduate attributes
Last month Monash University’s new Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice released a report that pointed to the “the breakdown of a long-held assumption that higher education qualifications will lead to desirable and secure work.”
The authors noted that higher education participation rates have risen by 41 percent in the past decade while simultaneously, the “earning premium” of a bachelor’s degree decreased from 39 percent in 2005 to 27 percent by 2018.
One of the authors, Professor Lucas Walsh (who I should mention for transparency is a long-time collaborator) noted that higher education has long involved an “opportunity bargain.” That is, high school graduates put off full-time work to gain qualifications that will lead to “a fulfilling career of one’s choice” and be appropriately compensated.
The report found, however, that over the last two decades this bargain has started breaking down placing young Australians in a position of “prolonged disruption” that has been aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In other words, the value of higher education in launching young Australians into the career of their choice is being eroded. Rather than celebrating the increase in higher education participation, many are now questioning its value.
With such striking evidence, it is not surprising that the Education Minister, Alan Tudge, has continued his predecessor’s push towards ‘employability’ of higher education which he argues will be achieved by increasing the level of STEM-based skills. In our conversation with students, this issue of ‘employability’ is never far from their decision-making – even pursuing degrees they have no interest in because they have been told they are more likely to be employable.
Setting aside the ideological battles and culture wars fought by this government around ‘woke’ culture of the humanities, focusing on STEM-based skills should be praised. This alone, however, fails to recognise the value of a university education more broadly.
Universities are thousand-year-old institutions that have had to adapt countless times. Be it the disruption created by technology, increasing competition, massification, a financial squeeze or global pandemics, Australia’s universities have found ways to respond and remain amongst the most respected in the world.
While global rankings have always been considered deeply problematic particularly as they underplay the importance of teaching, they are important in highlighting just how reputable Australia’s institutions are.
But why are world class universities important?
While a vibrant and reputable university sector offers many advantages to a nation, they exist for two core reasons:
1 – To produce future industry, political and community leaders that drive economic capital and well-being; and
2 – To generate active, engaged, informed, and empowered citizens.
A sector or institution that only focuses on one of these will not only fail to meet its potential but risks the long-term wellbeing of the nation.
For example, by only focusing on economic drivers and STEM skills, creativity, originality and imagination suffer. If we move too far to the other side of the equation, entrepreneurship, job creation and scientific breakthroughs are unlikely.
This tension between the sciences and arts is important: students from all disciplines should be encouraged to be curious about what else is being taught and should have access to the educators that can feed this inquisitiveness. The pandemic has shown us that it is necessary to work collaboratively across the sciences, arts and politics.
We want our graduates to be empowered, be sceptical, respectfully debate and search for creative solutions to contemporary grand challenges. We should not be concerned when a student questions the science of climate change nor the ANZAC legend: this is critical thinking, and the process ensures that any future position is well justified not based on blind obedience.
Universities know this and over the last two decades, have invested heavily in identifying what ‘attributes’ they want their graduates to have when they leave the institution. Such ‘graduate attributes’ are defined as, “… the high-level qualities, skills and understandings that a student should gain as a result of the learning and experiences they engage with, while at university.”
In a way, however, universities have over invested in this area and over complicated what they are trying to achieve. We have sat in committee meetings with dozens of academics where they have debated the correct ‘verb’ when drafting graduate attributes. We have had to endure conferences and listened to academics go into endless details and produce hundreds of papers of what seems to add very little, if anything, to the student journey.
Unfortunately, the attributes employed tend to fall short for two key reasons: firstly, students have no idea what they are, and secondly, there is no way to measure these lofty and generic statements.
This failure to articulate by graduates and even lecturers undermine the very purpose of the attributes themselves.
One practice good educator’s employ is to ask their students to read and attempt to decipher what the generic attributes mean and then re-draft them. In so doing, the students sketch a set of attributes that mean something to them.
In our experience, these are the five graduate attributes that need to be embraced that can be articulated to our graduates, by our graduates, understood by employers and meet the twin objectives of economic progress and citizenship:
1 – Curiosity: I am encouraged to be inquisitive, pursue my interests and challenge accepted wisdoms.
2 – Empathy: I care about those around me and take responsibility for the consequences of my actions.
3 – Responsibility: I have responsibility to my community including the history of our nation (the good, the bad, and the ugly). This responsibility includes understanding and learning from the Indigenous peoples who have been custodians of this continent for millennia.
4 – Calling bullshit: I have learnt to call out claims that cannot be sustained or are based on ideology alone. I use this knowledge to engage in constructive and respectful dialogue.
5 – Problem definition: I define problems and work to solve them.
In an outstanding blogpost, St Luke’s Principal Greg Miller challenges us to reflect on the value of a university education. Miller’s challenge should be taken seriously – and understanding what we want out graduates to be is one way of responding.
This article was written by James Arvanitakis and Jo Winchester, the Deputy Head of Education, Blacktown and Co-Academic Lead for Student Success in the Office of the Provost at Australian Catholic University. She is also host of the popular podcast ‘Teaching Heroes‘.
Professor James Arvanitakis is the Executive Director of the Australian American Fulbright Commission – one of the world’s most prestigious international education and cultural exchange programs.