Why a UNESCO Chair on Education for Social Justice?

The world is currently going through the greatest refugee crisis since Second World War; the gap between rich and poor is increasing; there is still extreme poverty in some countries and millions of people continue to starve here and now in the 21st century; problems such as gender violence, homophobia, racism, aporophobia (fear and rejection towards the poor) and xenophobia still exist, as well as labor exploitation―even child labor exploitation―and human trafficking; the destruction of biodiversity keeps on advancing, climate change is now a fact and no actions have being taken to stop them. Beside this situation, education cannot remain indifferent and must make an important contribution to the construction of a fairer society, as Global Citizen Education promoted by Unesco.

Over the last few years, the need for education to collaborate in the construction of a fairer society has led to the rise of the Education for Social Justice approach, particularly in English-speaking countries. In Latin America, however, the focus is still just beginning, and in fact there are only some few countries where this perspective is slowly starting to emerge.

 This Chair seeks to harness the potential of the international leadership in Education for Social Justice that the Autonomous University of Madrid has shown through the research group Educational Change for Social Justice (GICE) and the DEMOSPAZ Institute, in order to boost the development of Education for Social Justice, especially in Latin America, based on four complementary elements: 

  • High quality and multidisciplinay research ;
  • Development of an Education for Social Justice through the elaboration of didactic materials and promotion of innovative actions in schools and in non-formal educational contexts centres;
  • Training of teachers and specialists in Education for Social Justice; and
  • Dissemination of research findings, teaching materials and other resources about this topic. 

The aim is to achieve these goals through the collaboration between institutions and the generation of networks.