Currently, the world is facing a global crisis which started with the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, rapidly spreading globally and taking away our lives and livelihood. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only threatened our ways of life, but it has also unearthed and magnified injustices in our societies around the world that have been ignored or unsuccessful in bringing about change. Such injustices are also seen as “pandemic” in terms that they are threatening and detrimental to human security and lives, while they are so widespread around the world and often inter-connected that they call for solidarity and cooperation across borders more than ever before. While confronting the COVID19 pandemic, we also struggle to resolve multiple pandemics such as economic polarization, racism (and various forms of discrimination), militarization and violence, hate speech and fake news, and ecological degradation to name a few.

In times of pandemic, the discourses on a “new normal” also emerge as if the future were to be inscribed in the current conditions, often dubbed and hyped by, technology-driven, automatized, individualistic vision of the ‘futurists’. The post-coronavirus ‘New Normal’ has emerged as popular imaginary as if people were sharing remedies to survive under the newly constructed communities and their rules. The ‘New Normal’ in society’s stock market, world trade and job market are at the forefront with experts analysing and discussing new trends. The bottom line for such popular imagery, however, still evolves around the notion that the pre-COVID 19 ways of life and social orders might be “normal” to which we want to go back, while the world in these multiple crises we are currently facing actually tells us otherwise – that indeed, things in the pre-COVID 19 have gone quite wrong in many ways, with various forms of injustice and violence unaddressed. Recently, UNESCO challenges such a popular notion of “normal” under its “Next Normal” campaign, “calling into question our priorities, our ways of life and the functioning of our societies” that have been disregarding the cost to our environment, economies and public health and societies. Claiming that “we have accepted the unacceptable for far too long” and “our previous reality can no longer be accepted as normal”, UNESCO proclaims: Now is the time for change.

In this light, the 5th IConGCED calls for interested educators and stakeholders to actively participate in the articulation of challenges and opportunities we face in the current pandemic, particularly in terms of roles and contribution of GCED, and the sharing of visions and practical ideas – and the building of solidarity – for post-COVID 19 ‘next normal’ as we strive to resolve the multiple pandemics we face.

If crisis brings us opportunities to transform the present into a better future, then our task is not only to critically evaluate the current situations but also to envision the future we want and strive to translate it into educational policies and practices. We must ask ourselves: What implications and lessons should we learn from the current crisis and multiple pandemics? What particular issues above all should we focus on and give priorities at this moment, and what kinds of public and education discourses should we lead? How can we effectively translate those analyses and visions into policies and practices? What strategies should we take to translate our commitment into action? GCED – its aspiration, priorities, and strategies – should also be contextualized in this juncture where we are also going through unprecedented challenges in education in general. Given the current difficulties education in general faces, how should GCED address such difficulties and how can it help improve the situations? How can we translate GCED into timely and well-contextualized educational contents and practices that are relevant and responsive to the immediacy of our daily lives as well as the current crisis, without losing sight of its holistic values and long-term perspectives? Eventually, how can GCED effectively contribute to the restoring and reviving solidarity and hope in this time of turbulent crises – and beyond?

To enrich the discussions of the 5th IConGCED, APCEIU will also organize a pre-conference webinar in September. Hence, this year’s IConGCED will be composed of one-day “Pre-Conference Webinar” in September and three-day main event, “5th IConGCED”, in November.


In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, this Conference will be organized online – webinar as well as various online streaming, both live and recorded – to encourage audience around the world to participate.


As an international platform for sharing and exchanging ideas and practices on GCED, the Conference will pursue the following objectives in general:

  • Articulating key societal and educational issues that GCED can contribute to
  • Exploring the roles of GCED and various innovative ideas in effectively tackling the issues at stake
  • Making available and sharing of GCED practices for their good cases as well as lessons learnt
  • Enhancing the audience’s understanding of GCED and its implementation
  • Facilitating the building and/or strengthening of networks and partnerships among key stakeholders

In particular, the 5th IConGCED will pursue the following objectives:

  • Articulating key GCED-related issues posed or unravelled by the current crisis of COVID-19
  • Exploring the roles of GCED in addressing and improving situations, which can be deemed as “multiple pandemics” and the ways GCED can contribute to revitalizing much needed solidarity
  • Sharing GCED practices to tackle challenges posed by the current crises
  • Critically evaluating and rethinking approaches, strategies, and ways in which GCED is promoted and practiced so as to seek improvements and innovations
  • Enhancing the audience’s understanding of GCED through specific, contextualized issues


Maximum of 500 for real-time virtual conference through the pre-registered platform, and minimum of 1000 including live streaming, are expected to participate in the 5th IConGCED:

  • Policy makers and professionals in the field of education
  • GCED experts, leaders and practitioners
  • Interested educators, youth and parents
  • International/regional/national organizations and civil society organizations
  • GCED-specialized organizations and institutes
  • Representatives from the private sector
  • Persons who are interested in GCED

Expected outcomes

  • Key GCED issues around the multiple pandemics discussed, articulated, and shared, invoking further discussions and practices and offering alternative visions and discourses

Global Citizenship Education (GCED) aims to be transformative, building the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that learners need to be able to contribute to a more inclusive, just and peaceful world.

GCED has three conceptual dimensions as follows:

  • Cognitive

    Learners acquire knowledge and understanding of local, national and global issues and the interconnectedness and interdependency of different countries and populations
    Learners develop skills for critical thinking and analysis

  • Socio-emotional

    Learners experience a sense of belonging to a common humanity, sharing values and responsibilities, based on human rights
    Learners develop attitudes of empathy, solidarity and respect for differences and diversity

  • Behavioural

    Learners act effectively and responsibly at local, national and global levels for a more peaceful and sustainable world
    Learners develop motivation and willingness to take necessary actions

It takes a multifaceted approach, employing concepts and methodologies already applied in other areas, including human rights education, peace education, education for sustainable development and education for international understanding and aims to advance their common objectives. Global citizenship education applies a lifelong learning perspective, beginning from early childhood and continuing through all levels of education and into adulthood, requiring both formal and informal approaches, curricular and extracurricular interventions, and conventional and unconventional pathways to participation.

Extracted from The ABCs of Global Citizenship Education (UNESCO, 2016)

The Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) is a UNESCO Category 2 Centre established in 2000 by the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Korea and UNESCO in order to promote and develop Education for International Understanding (EIU) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED) with UNESCO Member States. APCEIU supports the 8th UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's "Global Education First Initiative (GEFI)", and has played a pivotal role in promoting GCED reflected in both the UNESCO Education 2030 and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

APCEIU strives to become an influential catalyst of GCED through the following main programme areas: capacity building of educators, research and policy development, dissemination of information, development of teaching/learning materials and international teacher exchange programmes. To promote a more effective EIU, APCEIU emphasizes a pedagogical approach that integrates knowledge and understanding with the development of values and attitudes underpinning a culture of peace. It strives to catalyze critical empowerment for positive transformations in all areas of life.

To learn more, visit the APCEIU official homepage (www.unescoapceiu.org).

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