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Symposium on Education Towards Sustainable Development

November 07, 2010  -  November 13, 2010

Education towards Sustainable Development (ESD) is a multifaceted and dynamic field. It is based on multi- and interdisciplinary thinking and action, so as to come up with solutions for complex environmental and social problems that involve different systems at the individual and community levels.

This can be achieved through a change in the norms of behavior and the values of members of a community.

The educational system has the responsibility of spearheading the world’s orientation towards sustainable development. Every school has to be open to this subject and begin a process of learning and internalization. It is imposed upon us because we care about the future of our children.

Educating for a more sustainable future includes, in its broadest sense, improving the quality of basic education, reorienting education to address sustainability and improving public awareness.

The educational message discussed at this symposium was that human ingenuity is the one who created the difficult environmental challenges we face today and it depends on us to finds a way to solve them.

The purpose of the symposium was to expose the participants to the ideas and educational projects in Israel, to offer the Aharon Ofri Center as a platform for educational sharing and to strength the center's relations with the Ministries of Education of the different countries we work with.

During their stay in the country the participants were exposed to educational Israeli initiatives and educational tool for sustainable development in the educational system, both for students and for the teaching staffs.

The two core issues presented were Education for Sustainable Development and “Education Cities”. Both issues were presented as holistic and integrative tools which are integrated in various educational programs.

1 - Education towards Sustainable Development is aimed to respond to the environmental, social and economical crises that Humankind is facing today and to find future solutions to these crises. It is based on the concept of Science of Connectedness, i.e. the capability of uniting and bringing together different people and disciplines in order to come up with solutions for complex multi- and interdisciplinary issues. As such, it enables the fertile and fruitful encounter of different educational approaches and trends.

2 - The purpose of “Education Cities” is to design and implement an educational approach to the entire community. This educational approach is reflected in the various institutions, policies, and implemented through activities aimed at improving the quality of life of the individual and increase the involvement and commitment to her community. This process occurs through partnerships - cooperation between all the stakeholders in the city, which include the residents, the various institutions, and public and private organizations.

The symposiums’ schedule was rich and diverse and included, among other things:

Lectures from high level personnel from the Ministry of Education and experts in the field, such as: 

-Mr. Yaacov Hecht, Director, “Education Cities”

- Ms. Zivit Linder, Director of the Environmental Education Division, Ministry of Environment

- Dr. Nurit Bar-Yosef, Division of Education for Science and Technology, Israel Ministry of Education

- Ms. Ruth Penn, Director, Division for Special Education, Israel Ministry of Education

- Ms. Lea Rosenberg, International Relations Department, Israel Ministry of Education

- Ms. Avital Darmon, Founder and past director of the National Center for Biology Teachers, Israel Ministry of Education

- Dr. Hagit Tishler, Division for Teaching and Personnel Training, Israel Ministry of Education

- Ms. Pnina Zelzer, Division for Gifted and Outstanding Students, Israel Ministry of Education

- Dr. Aviva Marx, Division of Agriculture Education

- Dr. Ilan Shemesh, Department for Youth at Risk

- Prof. Ruth Arnon, President, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities

- Prof. Abraham Friedman, Chairperson, Israel Human and Social Science Committee, UNESCO

- Dr. Oved Kedem, Educational Projects Director, Davidson Institute of Science Education at the Weizmann Institute of Science


- Mr. Eyal Bloch, Co-founder of the Institute for Education for Sustainable Development, the David Yellin Academic College of Education

- Prof. Yogin Berman, Ben Gurion University

-Special Keynote Speaker, Dr. Beatrice Rutishauser Ramm , “Sustainable Education Projects”


The representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- Ambassador Danny Ayalon, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- Ambassador Haim Divon, Deputy Director of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation

Representatives of the countries signed a declaration of intent, which came from the understandings which were reached during the symposium, and of the will to implement what they learnt and discussed in their countries. In addition, they declared the opening of a collaboration network among them according to the principles of Education for Sustainable Development.