Chula for Global Learning Community: The UNESCO High Level Futures Literacy Summit and Beyond
30 December 2020
To date, some 8,000 participants from around the world have visited the UNESCO High Level Futures Literacy Summit platform. People from the public and private sectors, civil society, artists, academics, and students alike were inspired by how Futures Literacy changes what people see and do, driving innovation. Chulalongkorn University, the only invited participating institution from Thailand, addressed the Summit Plenary and showcased its flagship projects in Agoras (a virtual exhibition and workshop) under the umbrella mission statement “Innovations for Society,” thus reaching out to future collaborators and partners across the world.
Gabriela Ramos, the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO, highlighted, the current pandemic calls for “a full revision of our economic, social and health models” as “this new context requires new approaches, new tools and new ways of addressing existing and emerging challenges, including inequality and climate change.”
In his post-Summit reflection, Riel Miller, Head of the UNESCO Futures Literacy Team, noted that “Futures Literacy is not just aboutassisting humanity to plan the future and finding the best image or images of the future needed to undertake such planning.” Rather, he said, “it is opening up to plant Futures Studies on the foundation of a broadly inclusive ‘discipline of anticipation’”—somethingthat is essential in promoting agility and openness of mind to realize social transformation for a better world.
The Summit served as springboard for the creation of a global learning community that may unlock the power of futures literacy. Chulalongkorn University is ready to be an active partner in such a community via its dynamic new innovative strategies in teaching, research, and engagement. In his statement at the Plenary Session of the Summit, President Bundhit Eua-arporn said, “Chulalongkorn University holds a unique position in society. It is situated in Thailand, a hub of the Asian region. Thailand is actively involved in regional policy making, in socio-economic development to reduce regional disparities, and in improving regional governance. Thailand has also been a driving force for advancing ASEAN connectivity. Consequently, as a trusted public institution of Thailand, Chulalongkorn University has a duty to address the challenges that confront us.” He also emphasized the urgent need for all of us to build mutual trust and solidarity and to envision our common future, a better future for our society.