Rindge

FPU’s Gerrior speaks at conference in Peru

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Franklin Pierce University’s Sustainability Coordinator Jess Gerrior spoke at the International Association of Universities 2014 International Conference in Iquitos, Peru, March 21-23. The theme of the Conference was “Blending Higher Education and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development.”

Gerrior was invited to participate in a panel discussion about the role of higher education institutions in sustainable development and assessing sustainability in university life beyond “campus greening.” A draft statement by the Conference on this subject will be contributed to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Okayama, Japan, in November 2014.

Gerrior and Conference delegates expressed agreement with the need for higher education institutions to realign programs and policies with the mission of sustainable development. Gerrior believes the future lies with new models for collaboration within and among higher education institutions. The courses she teaches at Franklin Pierce University focus on connecting sustainability as both a practice and guiding principle with students’ everyday lives and on the skills needed to empower students as sustainability leaders.

Gerrior reflected on the shocking disparity in the distribution of resources between developed and developing nations, and the often unrecognized value of traditional knowledge systems and how higher education can learn from them. “I learned from African university leaders about the meaning of ubuntu,” Gerrior says, “which loosely translated means, ‘We are who we are through each other.’ This simple phrase challenges how we view ourselves, which I think is critical in solving these global challenges. For universities, I think it means a need to shift from generating answers to generating new questions.”

Gerrior will present “Postcards from Peru: Presentation of Jess Gerrior’s Journey to the International Association of Universities 2014 International Conference in Iquitos, Peru,” on April 23, 12:30 p.m. at Franklin Pierce University’s Lakeside Education Center.

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