Tag: <span>Education for Global Citizenship</span>

Piaget's Project Appeals

Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of…

Featured Image Jean Piaget By Roland Zumbühl of Picswiss as part of a cooperation project. Wikimedia Commons.

Edward J. Dale. Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.

(St.Paul, MN: Paragon House Publishers, 2014)

Edward J. Dale has written a very useful overview of the intellectual currents in trans-personal psychology;  a broad field in which different practitioners use different terms for roughly the same approach:  Robert Assagioli – psychosynthesis, Ken Wilber – integral consciousness, Abraham Maslow – the farther reaches of human nature, Marilyn Ferguson – the Aquarian conspiracy. Dale provides an extensive bibliography of authors.

Therefore; there are at least two journals which specialize in trans-personal research:  Journal of Humanistic Psychology, founded in 1961 and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology founded in 1969.

Roberto Assagioli

 Photo of Roberto Assaglioli, M.D. – Taken from the book ‘ Psychosynthesis (1965) By U3195247, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Roberto Assagioli: The Will as a Road to the Higher Self.

Psychoactive Substances.

All the trans-personal authors hold that it is very likely that the ability to develop trans-personal capacities is universal;  under the right developmental conditions. However, these trans-personal characteristics have been developed in many societies and are found in shamanism, in induced trance states, in contemplative prayer-meditation, in the use of natural psychoactive substances; and in more recent times in the use of LSD in psychedelic research.

Nevertheless; there is a possibility of a rapid and widespread emergence of trans-personal consciousness in the near future;  as an increasing number of people undertake spiritual practices of meditation, tantra, Zen, kundalini and other self-development techniques.

Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber. By Kanzeon Zen Center, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Trans-Personal Psychology.

There are basically three avenues leading to current trans-personal psychology. 

The first is a development growing out of therapeutic work. Assagioli began in the Freudian mode;  being the first translator of Freud’s writings into Italian. His work with clients showed that there were deeper aspects of the personality than Freud had stressed;  and thus a need to find therapeutic techniques,  which reached these deeper layers.  Much the same holds true for Abraham Maslow.

A second avenue has been from that of academic research and experimentation;  such as the work of Stanislav Grof, author of The stormy search for the self.

The third avenue  has been the presence of Asian teachers of meditation;  who came to Europe and the USA: the Tibetans after the 1959 flight from Tibet;  and the voluntary departure from India of yoga teachers and from Japan for Zen.

Stanislav Grof

 Stanislav Grof, psychologist and psychiatrist. By Anton Nosik, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Completing Piaget’s Project.

The value of Dale’s book is in its subtitle Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.  What can be confusing to readers is the title of the book Completing Piaget’s Project. Dale draws on an extended poem La mission de l’Idee;  written when Piaget was 19 and published in the French-speaking Swiss Protestant youth journal;  and his only novel Recherche;  written when he was 20 and trying to organize ideas from his college studies; his wide reading and his personal experiences of psychic events and their impact on his body. 

The poem and the novel do have trans-personal elements;  as well as reflecting debates going on at the time in the Swiss Protestant churches;  between more liberal and conservative currents. However; Piaget’s “project” linked to the creation of the League of Nations; and carried out from the 1920s in Geneva is not analyzed.

 

The League of Nations.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was born and educated in the French-speaking canton of Neuchatel.  He was a brilliant student;  and at an early age started writing articles for nature and wildlife journals.  He became active in the Young Socialists League and a militant for peace. He was influenced by the destructive violence of the 1914-1918 war.  Many children from France were sent to Neuchatel to take them out of harms way.

At the end of his university studies in Neuchatel;  he went to Paris to work with Alfred Binet on the early IQ tests to measure intelligence. After a couple of years;  he returned to Geneva to teach and do research in an institute devoted to education: l’Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Piaget came to Geneva just as the League of Nations was starting at the end of 1922. Piaget hoped as did many others;  that the League would establish a peaceful world society. Piaget’s project was born in the intellectual currents stimulated by the League of Nations.

League of Nations

 Image: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

A Peaceful World Society.

His project was to build a peaceful world society;  by developing education for peace that aimed at the full development of the person.  This had to begin with the very start of education in primary school;  and strengthened through education in secondary school.

In order to create primary education that would fulfill this aim;  one had to understand how children learn.  Thus,  began his life-long investigation of the sequences of learning – when does awareness of shapes, colors, numbers, relations to others and a moral sense arise.

However; a world at peace could not be created only by having good education in the primary schools of Geneva.  There had to be a world-wide improvement of primary education;  by bringing advanced child-development knowledge to the attention of educators the world over;  in particular to the Ministries of Education;  which had the responsibility for educational policy  and content.

Alfred Binet

Alfredo Benet Junior (July 11, 1857 – October 18, 1911). By Unidentified photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rockefeller Foundation.

Thus, in the spirit of the League of Nations; Piaget and some of his Geneva colleagues created the International Bureau of Education in 1924;  which Piaget headed for nearly 40 years.  Intellectually, it was related to the League of Nations and brought together;  usually once every two years, the Ministers of Education of the League members to discuss curriculum and teaching methods influenced by research being undertaken. 

The Bureau was largely financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Since the USA had refused League membership and so did not contribute to the League’s budget;  much of the intellectual efforts of the League were financed by the Rockefeller Foundation including the impressive Library;  which is part of the League’s Palais des Nations.

After the Second World War;  the Bureau continued its work of conferences for Ministers of Education as an independent organization, always with Piaget as director.  In 1964, the Bureau was administratively incorporated into UNESCO but remained in Geneva.

The Same Learning Sequences.

The International Bureau of Education, housed in the Palais Wilson; the original League Secretariat offices, Piaget’s separate office building and the experimental primary school;  that served for observations were just across the street from my office as professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies. 

We would often eat or have coffee in the same places. Of course, I knew who Piaget was and would say “hello”, but I interacted with his team of researchers,  who were more my age. They were working on observations in Africa and Asia to see if the same learning sequences that Piaget had observed for Geneva children were true in other cultures as well. Their findings were that the sequences were the same; but the ages at which they took place differed due to child-raising patterns in Africa and Asia.

Institute International_Bureau_of_Education_-_UNESCO

International Bureau of Education – UNESCO @ Le Grand-Saconnex. By Guilhem Vellut from Annecy, France, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Contribution of Education to World Peace.

Piaget’s project of peace through improved primary and secondary school education has not yet been fulfilled.  UNESCO has a major program “Education for Global Citizenship“. The teachers’ manuals for the UNESCO program owe much to Piaget’s research.

While Dale’s book has many interesting elements and is a useful overview of trans-personal efforts. I think that it is a mistake to try to transform Piaget into a forerunner of trans-personal approaches;  and to neglect the heart of Piaget’s project: the contribution of education to world peace.

Transformation of Education

 Image: Image by Ian Ingalula from Pixabay.

Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Transformation of Education Appeals

Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education.

Featured Image: Image by Ian Ingalula from Pixabay.

The United Nations is preparing a Transforming Education Summit; to be held in New York on 19 September;  during the General Assembly. A preliminary Summit is being held at UNESCO in Paris 28-30 June.  This is an opportunity for peacebuilding efforts to provide information and suggestions; especially for a major theme of the Summit; “Learning and Skills for Life, Work, and Sustainable Development.” As the preparatory text for the Summit states:

“Transforming education means empowering learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient, adaptable and prepared for the uncertain future while contributing to human and planetary well-being and sustainable development.”   

However; the uncertain future holds out some clear challenges: armed conflicts, human rights violations, persistent poverty, mass migrations, and the consequences of climate change.

The goal of a world community living in peace; where human relations are based on nonviolent relationships is central to the transformation of education.  We work to develop an atmosphere of cooperation and solidarity; where discussions of all points of view are possible.  We must, however, be realistic in what such a summit on the transformation of education can bring in terms of long-range change.

I had participated in the UNESCO-led World Congress on Disarmament Education in Paris; June 1980.  Today; there are no visible disarmament negotiations.  There is a growth in military spending; despite many calls saying that the money would be better used for development and welfare.  There is in many parts of the world a growth of militarization–a process whereby military values; ideology and patterns of behaviour achieve a dominant influence over political, economic and foreign affairs.

Nevertheless; there is a value in presenting the goals and techniques of peacebuilding in the Transforming Education Summit; especially that UNESCO already has an Education for Global Citizenship program; which includes elements of education for human rights and the culture of peace efforts.

Education for Global Citizenship aims to develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity and being able to contribute to global peace, sustainable development and the creation of a harmonious world society.  As the Preamble to UNESCO’s Constitution states: 

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

In light of the armed conflicts in many parts of the world; there is a need to focus on specific ways to ensure education for children in areas of armed conflict and in post-conflict situations; including effective measures to deal with the traumas caused by the armed conflict. Post-conflict education must help to develop new attitudes and values; especially toward those who were considered enemies during the armed conflict.

There is much that peacebuilding concepts and techniques can contribute to Transformation of Education. We need to see how best to provide ideas into this Summit process.

René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues.

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Quincy Wright Rapprochement of Cultures.

Quincy Wright: A World Citizen’s Approach to International Relations

Featured Image: Quincy Wright, Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, from the 1940 MacMurray College Yearbook, where he was one of the speakers on “The Essential Elements of a Durable Peace” at the MacMurray Institute. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Contemporary movements that stressed the need for world citizenship started on the eve of World War II when the spirit of aggressive nationalism was at its height in the policies of Germany, Italy and Japan.  There was a need to develop balance by stressing the unity of humanity and the interdependence of the world.  These concepts of world citizenship were articulated by a leading professor of international law, Quincy Wright (1890-1970) of the University of Chicago who felt that States must shape their domestic laws and foreign policies in such a way as to be compatible with the tenets of international law.

A Study of War

Quincy Wright spent most of his teaching life at the University of Chicago.  He was active in debates among international relations specialists on the place of law – and thus of universal norms – in the conduct of States.  In 1942 he published his massive  A Study of War  which combined a philosophical-legal approach with a more statistical-quantitative one.  He was very concerned with the quality of university teaching on war and peace.  His 1955 The Study of International Relations remains an outstanding multi-disciplinary approach to the study of world politics. (1)

World Citizens Association

         He served as a bridge between professors of international relations and the growing ranks of peace researchers and the world citizens movement.  Quincy Wright was a leader of a first World Citizens Association founded in 1939 serving as its Secretary with Anita McCormick Blaine as Chairman. (2)

         Unfortunately, the strength of the nationalist tide was too great, and a balance by stressing world unity could not be created in time. The Second World War broke out in Europe shortly after the creation of the World Citizens Association. Japanese nationalism had already brought violence to China, but too few people reacted. Japanese nationalism continued in an unbalanced way, leading to the attack on the US base at Pearl Harbor, which  provoked U.S. entry into the war.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A small boat rescues a seaman from the 31,800 ton USS West Virginia burning in the foreground. Smoke rolling out amidships shows where the most extensive damage occurred. Note the two men in the superstructure. The USS Tennessee is inboard (7 December 1941). By Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the modern world, the security and prosperity of all individuals and all groups are closely bound together.  The preservation of civilization depends upon the ability of national states and diverse peoples to live together happily and successfully in this rapidly shrinking world.  Since all individuals today suffer or benefit by conditions the World over, every man has interests and responsibilities as a world citizen.”

Second World War and The Cold War.

         Even though the Allies won the Second World War, the start of the Cold War presented many of the same issues as had been present in 1939.  In his 1949 address as President of the American Political Science Association, Wright posted a dark picture.

While inventions in the fields of communications and transport and interdependence in commerce and security make for one world, the actual sentiments of people have been moving toward more exclusive loyalty to their nations,  more insistence that their governments exercise totalitarian control over law, defense, economy, and even opinion.  Materially the world community steadily becomes more integrated, but morally each nation gains in solidarity and the split in the world community becomes wider.  Under these conditions, people await with a blind fatalism the approach of war.  Disaster seems as inevitable as in a Greek tragedy.”

Montage of Cold War pictures. By 麩, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

What have world citizens to propose?

   Wright sets out three steps which remain the framework for world citizen action today.  As a first step, world citizens must provide a process of systematic observation: what new political conflicts are likely to develop?  What methods are likely to be used? What goals are likely to be striven for?  In short, what is the nature of current tensions, struggles and conflicts?

System of world law

         The second essential step is to provide proposals for negotiated resolutions to these struggles and conflicts within the framework of a system of world law.

  What arrangements will assure that world politics operates with reasonable respect for human personality, for civilization, for justice, for welfare – all values which most men will recognize?  How do we work so that the political struggles going on in the world will utilize only methods consistent with human dignity and human progress?  World citizens are willing to take one step at a time anticipating that if one step in the right direction is taken, it will be easier to win sufficient consent for the next steps.”

Education for World Citizenship

         Thus today, the Association of World Citizens which builds on the earlier efforts of the World Citizens Association has made proposals for mediation, conciliation, and confidence-building measures for armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Myanmar (Burma) and the Ukraine-Russia conflicts.

Education for Global Citizenship.

The third step which Wright proposed was longer term but essential: education for world citizenship.  If men must be world citizens as well as national citizens, what picture of the world can command some of their loyalties however diverse their cultures, economies and government? 

The primary function of education – developing in the individual attitudes appropriate to the values of the society in which he is to live – and, in progressive societies of adapting those values to changing conditions – all citizens need to feel themselves citizens of the world.”

         Thus, through education, a widespread sentiment of world citizenship must be developed.  Thus,  the Association of World Citizens works in cooperation with UNESCO’s major program “Education for Global Citizenship.”

         Today,
the Association of World Citizens is proud to build on the steps outlined by
Quincy Wright.  We face the challenges of
our time as he faced the challenges of his time.

 Notes:

1) See Quincy Wright. The Study of International
Relations
(New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1955)

    See also
Quincy Wright. The World Community (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1949)

2) For biographies of Anita Blaine, see! Gilbert A.
Harrison. A Timeless Affair. The Life of Anita McCormick Blaine (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1979) and

Jacqueline Castledine. Cold War Progressives.
Women’s Interracial Organizing for Peace and Freedom
(Urbana: University of
Illinois Press, 2012)

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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