The PERL/UNITWIN network has created space for collaborative learning by connecting people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Local as well as global cooperation and frank, open, solution-oriented discourse will continue to be fundamental for the activities of the new Center for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Development.
Insight and Ingenuity
Ideas and the terminology evolve with time and during the past two decades the global cooperation that has characterized the PERL/UNITWIN partnership has contributed to the evolution of numerous concepts such as consumer citizenship, sustainable consumption and sustainable lifestyles. The Center aims to persist in questioning perceptions and searching for deeper understanding of sustainability issues.
The processes of collaborative learning are dependent on the participation of individuals from minority groups as well as majorities, of individuals who find commonality and of those who disagree. Such learning requires the practice of the art of consultation where there is respect for other’s opinions and a collective commitment to finding the most likely answer rather than maintaining one’s own point of view at any cost.
Collaborative learning builds upon accumulated and newly won scientific insights. It seeks to integrate creative approaches with the wisdom of cultures and peoples around the globe. Thus, it is also needs to provide room for the unusual, the unexpected, and the unconventional.
The Center for Collaborative Learning for Sustainable Development seeks to pursue the global engagement the PERL/UNITWIN network has had. Regional networks in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe will be maintained and promote activities that foster holistic, values-based education for sustainable lifestyles. The regional networks are important means of ensuring that “global generalizations” have regional adaptations. They also play a valuable role in raising awareness of the necessity of “unity in diversity” so as to avoid a “one-size fits all” slant on sustainable development.
In 2014 PERL/UNITWIN partners carried out research for a global stocktaking report about sustainable lifestyles (see publications). By taking an interdisciplinary approach, this report examined the state of affairs in each region of the world as to human development needs and concerns, environmental concerns, health and well-being challenges, challenges related to education for sustainable development, and governance issues. It identified positive trends that address lifestyle problems and it provided recommendations for pathways forward.
Building Bridges and Creating Space for Collaborative Learning
PERL/UNITWIN has helped to connect people from a diversity of backgrounds and disciplines, and to create a space for collaborative learning. Ideas and the terminology have evolved with time and cooperation has expanded to take on many forms. This collaborative learning process continues to be fundamental and the basis for the activities of the Center.