By:  Alicia Jiménez-Elizondo, Earth Charter International Secretariat


Looking for an opportunity to change the way you see the world in 2017? If so, we have an exciting professional development program coming up in January that may provide the inspiration you are looking for!


Great professional development broadens perceptions, raises awareness, and empowers you to bring about cultural transformation in your school and community. At the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development, based at the University for Peace in Costa Rica, we develop educational programs that enable you to reflect on your values; expose you to different worldviews and perspectives; increase your knowledge about education for sustainable development (ESD).


Our newest program, the Online Certificate Program on Education for Sustainable Development, will allow you to engage with people from difference parts of the world as you deepen your understanding of ESD and how to apply it in your school. We have designed the program to provide participants with the understanding, knowledge, and skills to integrate ESD and Education for Global Citizenship into classrooms, schools, and curricula with depth and creativity.


What makes this program unique?

The Earth Charter is fundamental to educational change, ESD, and transformative learning. Combining the Earth Charter with ESD makes this certificate program distinctive. A great deal of ESD emphasizes environmentalism to the exclusion of diversity, social justice, and peace. The Earth Charter not only re-orients our thinking but it also focuses on perspectives, beliefs, values, and mental models which are essential to substantive change.


Why is this program important for educators?

We often hear from teachers that, while they are aware of the difficult challenges we face, it can be hard to translate information and concepts related to these challenges into meaningful curricular lessons that present sustainable solutions. This certificate program and its facilitators, who are top in their fields of education for sustainable development, transformative pedagogies, and holistic education, will help teachers clarify concepts of sustainability; sustainability values ​​and principles; sustainable lifestyles and responsible consumption; and global citizenship, as well as the synergies between them. In addition, this certificate program explores methodological and transformative pedagogical tools that can be used in educational programs, where participants can gain skills to integrate the values of sustainability in their areas of action. These skills can be used to motivate students and engage them in the education process, helping them go deeper and enjoy the learning experience along the way.


Above all, we hope to motivate and inspire participants to contribute to building more coherent, harmonious, and sustainable societies through their role as teachers, and stimulate the exchange of experiences among people from different contexts and backgrounds. Students will directly benefit from motivated teachers, who are aware of their important role in building more sustainable communities.


What can you expect?

This certificate program lasts for five months and consists of four courses with five real-time seminars. The program starts with a real-time seminar where participants and facilitators can introduce themselves. The courses follow the model of asynchronous learning, where participants have flexibility to complete the sessions when it is convenient for them. Each course finishes with a real-time seminar, where participants and facilitators can reflect and share their learning experiences.


The courses and facilitators include:

  1. A Planetary Perspective: Toward a Culture of Peace, Sustainability, and Well-Being

Facilitators: Lorna Down and Rosalyn McKeown

  1. Values and Principles for Sustainability: The Earth Charter as an Ethical Framework and a Call to Action

Facilitators: Mirian Vilela and Alicia Jimenez

  1. Transformative Learning and ESD: A Holistic Pedagogy Grounded in the Neurosciences

Facilitator: Sam Crowell

  1. The Way Forward: Models and Skills for Implementing ESD with the Earth Charter

Facilitator: Mark Hathaway


Investing five months in an education program can be difficult for many educators, who are often overwhelmed with work. This certificate program offers many benefits to educators, for example improving their understanding of the new teaching model for policy standards that many countries and regions are following (under the framework of the new Development Agenda 2030 and the Incheon Declaration of the World Education Forum (2015)), among other international education standards.


The Online Certificate Program on Education for Sustainable Development was developed under the framework of the UNESCO Chair in Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter, coordinated by the Earth Charter Center for Education. The Chair is a collaborative effort between UNESCO, Earth Charter International, and the University for Peace.


The Certificate of Completion will be awarded by the University for Peace and the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development, under the UNESCO Chair.


The program starts on January 17th 2017.  More information can be found at


Alicia Jimenez-Elizondo works at the Earth Charter International Secretariat in Costa Rica. A biologist, Alicia has worked in both conservation and sustainable development since 1998, including several years at the International Union for Conservation of Nature – Mesoamerica’s Regional Office before starting a professional services co-op called Coopesolidar, based in San Jose, Costa Rica. In 2006, she joined the Earth Charter International Secretariat and was charged with promoting the Earth Charter, particularly in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Alicia is also involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for sustainable development. She received an MSc degree in Resource Development at Michigan State University and is currently undertaking PhD studies in education at La Salle University.