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Education official to visit ND

Meghan Wons | Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Students are often able to engage in discussion about problems and take action to effect change on both a local and global scale, but when looking at the problem of sustainable development, just how much power lies in education?

Carl Lindberg, Sweden’s deputy vice minister for education, will address this question at tonight’s meeting of the Student Senate.

Besides his role in the Swedish government, Lindberg is a member of the leadership for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) initiative concerning “education for sustainable development,” said Lena Wallensteen of the Kroc Institute.

She said Lindberg has been “instrumental in bringing about compulsory inclusion of ‘sustainable development’ education into all Swedish universities and colleges” through his role in helping to develop the Higher Education Act, which governs all Swedish institutions of higher learning.

In a speech given at a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe high-level meeting of environment and education ministries in 2005, Lindberg addressed UNESCO’s proposed key roles of education.

“Education is the primary agent of transformation towards sustainable development, increasing peoples’ capacities to transform their vision for society into reality,” Lindberg said. “Education for sustainable development is a process of learning how to make decisions that consider the long term future of the equity, economy and ecology of all communities.”

The speech emphasized his belief that education for sustainable development must be “embedded in the whole curriculum,” not viewed as a separate subject. Lindberg also said critical thinking and problem solving need to be emphasized in sustainable development education so students can gain confidence in “addressing the dilemmas and challenges of sustainable development.”

Lindberg’s views about the power of education and the importance of social consciousness echo those of doctors Paul Farmer and Miriam Opwonya and economist Jeffrey Sachs – panelists for the Notre Dame Forum, “The Global Health Crisis: Forging Solutions, Effecting Change,” held on campus this fall.

Lindberg’s attendance at the Student Senate meeting is sponsored by student body president Lizzi Shappell and student body vice president, Bill Andrichik.