RCEs in Americas Explore Collaborative Approaches in Times of Global Crises at Annual Regional Meeting

(Report written by RCE Salisbury, edits by Global RCE Service Centre)

RCE Salisbury hosted the 11th Americas Regional Meeting from 3-5 October, 2022 to explore the theme 'Now, More than Ever! The RCE Network as a Peace Leader!', with the support of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) and Ministry of the Environment, Japan.

As part of much UN reform and reinvention during the time of the pandemic, there has been increased coordination of efforts to better assist governments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The immense challenges that were presented by COVID-19 underlined how vital it is for RCE agencies to rise to the top of a global crisis in support of communities and individuals in need.

The Meeting began with opening remarks from Dr. Philip Vaughter from United Nations University, who provided updates from the Global RCE Service Centre, followed by the RCE Regional Advisor to the Americas, Dr. Roger Petry, who focused on collaboration in the Americas in order to create a whole region approach to sustainable development. Following this, participants were honoured to hear from Mr. Keisuke Midori, Section Chief of the Ministry’s Secretariat, Office of Environmental Education, Ministry of the Environment of Japan.

A reviewal of the RCE Americas Governance Structure, the RCE Americas Youth Appointed Fellowship, and the RCE Americas Youth Representatives all preceded presentations from RCEs in the Americas. Presentations from network members focused on a range of topics, including: teaching the SDGs through experiential learning; the idea of cross-pollination and sharing ideas and information across institutions; sustainability assessment; and the upcoming youth sustainability summit. These emphasised the importance of localising SDGs, fostering collaboration, and the sharing of ideas and information across institutions.

On the second day of the Meeting, the Communications Support Committee, working to define and develop the identity of the region, presented their new website along with opportunities for collaboration and engagement, and an action plan for 2023 focused on increasing content, participation, and dissemination. This was followed by a workshop with the Task Force on Education. During a break, a session of poetry readings on environmental sustainability from Salisbury University students Sarah Brockhaus, Siobhan Murray, Summer Smith, and Maya Thompson was given.

Following the break, Mitzi Perdue, Founder of the Sheraton Hotel Chain and Anti-Trafficking Advocate, presented with Dr. Brian Polkinghorn on 'A View of the Ukraine War You Haven’t Heard Before' followed by Ambassador Robert Becker from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe presenting, also on his time with the Foreign Service. Colleagues in RCE Salisbury’s network then shared their work focused on climate action and empowering young Afghan women on coding for robotics. Other presentations included those from RCE Curitiba Paraná, who provided an update on collaborative education and biodiversity projects, and RCE Hawaii sharing their past and current projects on sustainability and human rights education.

Please see the event page for further details from the event, including presentations.

The Global RCE Service Centre would like to thank the team at RCE Salisbury for their wonderful contributions and efforts organising a successful 11th Americas Regional Meeting, and to all participants for their active participation and contributions.

RCE Salisbury is hosted by the Bosserman Center of Conflict Resolution and by RCE Co-Directors Dr. Brittany Foutz and Dr. Brian Polkinghorn. RCE Salisbury is also coordinated by Rob LaChance, M.A.; Alexandra Ginta-Martin, M.A.; and Catherine Diekmann, M.A. The Bosserman Center of Conflict Resolution, located in Salisbury, Maryland (USA), is a non-profit organisation geared towards conflict resolution on a local and global scale. The mission of the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution is to promote a systems-based approach to the effective analysis and practical resolution of social conflict. The Center utilises a teaching hospital model whereby faculty and staff are practitioners.

(Photo credit: RCE Salisbury)