“Speech! Speech! Speech!!” The word resounds through the conference room, the audience of highly affiliated teachers and heads of schools look at me, who at this point in time is standing at the podium, a microphone in my hand. Trying to portray confidence but, deep down we both know that I am picturing them in their under garments (an art I have mastered to accustom myself to being under the spotlight).
I take a bated breath as the crowd buzzes into silence then I proceed with eloquence to my shock, “Guest of honour, distinguished guests, heads of schools, teachers, pardon me but, all protocols observed, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the annual African Educational Festival in partnership with … and the team I am humbly representing today, The Global Schools Program - the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth”.
I continue the long awaited speech, “Allow me due diligence, by giving you a brief history of the International Baccalaureate Program and the Global Schools Program.
About the IB
Celebrating 50 years of existence, what started as one programme for international schools the IB is now an organization offering 4 programmes for 3-19 year old students. There are over 4,500 schools in 147 countries offering IB Programmes to over 1.3 million students. (https://www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/) Their vision is to foster open and enlightened minds for all primary and secondary students, aged 3-19. It has been successfully doing this for five decades and will continue to do so in a world where they face an unprecedented pace of change. IB students use the skills they’ve developed to help make the world a better place. Their founders’ vision—of an education that can unite people, nations and cultures for a sustainable future—has never been more urgent. Driven by their mission to create a better world through education, an IB education aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. (http://www.ibo.org/mission/) ‘Each of the IB programmes reflects a central desire to provide an education that enables students to make sense of the complexities of the world around them, as well as equipping them with the skills and dispositions needed for taking responsible action for the future. They provide an education that crosses disciplinary, cultural, national and geographical boundaries, and that champions critical engagement, stimulating ideas and effective relationships.’ (https://www.ibo.org/about-the-ib/) To achieve this mission, the IB collaborates with organizations, governments, universities, schools, teachers, and alumni to ensure it is continuously innovating and improving its programmes and services to schools and help shape the world’s educational landscape.
Global Schools is an initiative led by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth) in support of UNESCO’s Global Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP-ESD). We hope to create the next generation of leaders in sustainable development, by educating students on the SDGs through the Global Schools Program. We want to encourage prioritization of the goals in their lifestyles, behaviors, education and professional careers, as these goals provide a framework for a better world that children could live in the future. The program aims to do this by transforming learning environments globally and making schools the hubs of education and leadership on SDGs, ultimately becoming vehicles for empowering and mobilizing students and young people to help implement the SDGs in their communities.
The African Education Festival
Through the conjoined efforts of the representatives from the IB program and Global Schools Program we are here today to encourage both educators and students to engage in life-long learning and discover the world of knowledge to pursue deep understanding.
The African Education Festival aims to focus on providing sessions that are relevant in today’s world, and it’s hopes for the future. During this festival keynote speakers will address educators from IB schools and non IB Schools across Africa along the sub theme of Developing Skills for a Connected World, looking at innovation in education and the impact education has on students, educators and the community. The aim is to have speakers from different academic/research backgrounds, NGO’s, governments, the private sector and/or universities to challenge and enrich our thinking around these themes and inform/support educational practice in schools. The participants come from schools that are private national, private international and state schools, all of which I believe are keen to innovate and sustain meaningful innovation and impact and in their schools and communities.
Over the two days of the festival, 21st - 22nd February there will be several breakout sessions, keynotes and a number of workshops run by IB staff, schools that teach IB programmes, schools that teach other curricular and academics from a variety of educational institutions.
It is my hope and prayer that you will find time to attend a session which I will be giving, focusing on the Global Schools Program, with the title being: Equipping Schools and Teachers with Skills to Tackle the UN 2030 Agenda. My session description will involve learning about the UN 2030 Agenda and its connection to the SDGs and the FUTURE WE WANT through working with schools and teachers. The session will enlighten those in attendance on the Global Schools Program through the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) launched by Ban Ki Moon in 2012 and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth set up in 2015. We will share real time stories about our levels of understanding the SDGs as schools and teachers. More so, learn how to use tools showcased in order to train students who are pursuing the International Baccalaureate program. Thank you for you and welcome to the African Education Festival, our stepping stone towards the FUTURE WE WANT”.
As I conclude my speech, the audience stands in applause to my welcoming address. I take a humble bow and stepped down from the podium.
Olive Mumbo is a Senior Advisor for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth - Global Schools Program. She has completed her first degree in Law from Strathmore University, Kenya and is currently an advocate in training at the Kenya School of Law (Bar School). Olive's various passions include taking up initiatives related to Sustainable Development Goals, optimizing her leadership skills and promoting the Rule of Law. With her current post, skills, and interest in working with diverse global individuals, she intends to combine her interests by pursuing a career at the UN and a Masters in Law. She can be reached through her email firstname.lastname@example.org or LinkedIn Olive Mumbo.