​Opening Remarks by Ms Vibeke Jensen, Director of the Division for Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO​

Dear ASPnet community,​
National Coordinators,
Teachers, Students, Parents,
Experts and colleagues.


​We are living unprecedented times: At no moment in history has education been disrupted at such a global scale. More than 90% of the world's students have been or are still under lock down today, trying to continue teaching and learning remotely; oftentimes with the help of their parents. Within the ASPnet community, 93% of schools are currently still closed.

Considering this extra-ordinary context, it is of great importance to come together and stay connected, as a global community.

The objective of the webinar is to share our observations and (initial) lessons learned on how teaching and learning worked out – or didn't work out so well – during the period of confinement; and to share our ideas and hopes about how we could reimagine the organisation of our schools and learning environments following this crisis.

I particularly look forward to hearing your ideas on how to reimagine the organisation of our schools and learning environments; because history has shown us that disruptions and shocks, such as these, can also be a great enabling power and accelerator for learning and social transformations.

I strongly believe that we have to seize the momentum of this current crisis to "build back better" and to collectively strive and work towards a more peaceful and sustainable world.

Education plays a vital role in this regard and particularly Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development can instil a feeling of belonging to a broader community and common humanity and empower learners of all ages to take responsible actions, both locally and globally, for a better future.

And many of you are the forefront of doing just that! Discussing and acting upon issues related to cultural diversity, non-violence, justice, equality, human rights and environmental sustainability…focusing not just on acquiring knowledge but also key skills, such as critical thinking, creativity and empathy, which allow us to live together peacefully on a planet under pressure.

Today, we have the chance to listen and interact with  

  • Students from Argentina, Indonesia and Nigeria
  • Teachers from Mongolia, Kenya, the Netherlands and China; and
  • Parents from Lebanon, France and Iraq

I would like to extend my particular gratitude to you for taking a considerable amount of time to prepare and be here with us today to share your insights and learnings.

You and many other ASPnet members have shared with us messages of solidarity and resilience. We received them with great appreciation and we have shared them through various channels, of course, within the ASP network but also by featuring them via the UNESCO website #LearningNeverStops as well as through the BBC. Your messages have been well received, providing communities across the world with a strong sense of solidarity, a feeling of being in this together and making our way out of this together.

I would like to thank my colleagues from the ASPnet International Coordination Unit as well as colleagues from UNESCO's Institute for Information Technology in Education for organising this webinar – it is the first time in ASPnet's history that the entire ASPnet community is invited to come together through a global webinar.

And thank you to all, who are attending today! There are over 620 of us from 80 countries.

​And now, let's begin the discussions. ​