On February 11, 2019, Audrey Azoulay, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Rafael Garesse, Rector of the Autonomous University of Madrid, signed an agreement for the creation of the “UNESCO Chair in Education for Social Justice of the Autonomous University of Madrid”.
Its existence is justified through two elements. In the first place, because of the serious situation of injustice and oppression that is experienced throughout the world. We are experiencing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the gap between people who have more and less have increases, extreme poverty still exists in many countries and millions of people continue to starve in the 21st century, violence continues Gender, homophobia, racism, aporophobia and xenophobia, labor exploitation persists – even children – and human trafficking. The destruction of biodiversity is progressing unstoppably and climate change is already a fact without taking measures to reverse it.
And, secondly, by the conviction that education can contribute to modify that situation. If – as Nelson Mandela said – “education is the most powerful weapon to transform the world”, let’s transform education to achieve a more just, equitable and inclusive society.
In this way, the Chair aims to contribute to the creation of a more just society through education: an Education in and from Social Justice. This purpose is specified in a series of objectives, agreed between UNESCO and the Autonomous University of Madrid, focused on five complementary elements:
- High quality interdisciplinary research.
- Development of an Education for Social Justice through the development of teaching materials and through the promotion of innovation actions in educational centers and non-formal education.
- Training of teachers and specialists in Education for Social Justice.
- Diffusion and dissemination of documentation, research and resources on Education for Social Justice.
- Collaborative work and networking.
Currently, it focuses its actions on eight interdependent workstreams: