56th Annual General Meeting
April 24-26, 2016
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Building a Sustainable Future: Global Citizens of the 21st Century

Winnipeg was selected as the site of our 56th AGM because it has the largest urban Indigenous population in Canada; it is a member of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination; and it is at the heart of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network. Manitoba was the first province to launch the school project in 2002, and because the AGM was held in tandem with the National UNESCO Schools Conference this year, the province was an appropriate place for members to share insights with students and teachers in service of the AGM's theme, Building a Sustainable Future: Global Citizens of the 21st Century. Merging both delegations allowed for the creation of a video in which adults and youth alike reflected on the importance of global citizenship education. It also inspired students to produce an action plan to implement this value at their schools.

"Global Citizenship is not a status issue, it’s an attitude issue."
–Soo-Hyang Choi

"To place culture at the heart of development is an investment for the future of the world; it is a condition for the success of globalization that takes into consideration the principles of cultural diversity."
–Simon Brault

"UNESCO wants and needs more Canada, and Canada wants and needs more UNESCO. Let’s work together and make it happen."
–Élaine Ayotte

Winnipeg is, moreover, home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which served as the venue for the opening plenary, breakout sessions and various meetings. Participants were given a private tour of the Museum and enjoyed performances and ice-breaker games at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain, toured the Archives of Manitoba (home of the Hudson's Bay Company's archives listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register), engaged in bridge-building activities at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House, and discussed the legacy of Canada's residential schools with staff at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. These exceptional partners helped make the event truly memorable.

Attendees were warmly welcomed to Treaty One Territory by Elder Fred Kelly then greeted by President Christina Cameron and John F. Young, the Museum's President and CEO. Over the course of the event they heard presentations by:

  • Brian Bowman, Mayor of Winnipeg
  • Soo-Hyang Choi, Director of the Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development for UNESCO
  • Simon Brault, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts
  • Michelle Chawla, Acting Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO
  • Élaine Ayotte, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Canada to UNESCO
  • Line Beauchamp, Representative of the Government of Quebec within the Permanent Delegation of Canada
  • Axel Meisen, Past President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO
  • Manon Barbeau, Founder, Director General and Artistic Director of Wapikoni Mobile

The Chairs of the Sectoral Commissions led fruitful thematic breakout sessions on topics related to education, culture and the sciences. The Fort Garry Hotel served as backdrop not just for the closing plenary but also for a meaningful panel discussion on human rights, moderated by Vice-President Danika Billie Littlechild and featuring the Manitoba Human Rights Commission's Isha Khan, the University of Winnipeg's Kevin Lamoureux and Exeko's Nadia Duguay. In all, the event gathered together 170 members and 175 UNESCO Schools delegates. Many participants expressed their enthusiasm about the meeting on Twitter, as seen in this Storify, which captures some of the excitement generated on social media.

View the full program, peruse photos, and listen to keynote speeches among other things on our 56th AGM web page.

Photo: Jon Yee