Dr. Adefunke Ekine, a lecturer at Tai Solarin University of Education in southwestern Nigeria, works to advance education opportunities for girls and women from early childhood to the university level.
From an education diplomacy perspective, quality ECCE involves understanding and building upon the local context and connecting local initiatives to national, regional, and international networks. It also includes influencing policy at all levels and supporting the use of domestic and international resources toward culturally relevant and inclusive ECCE programming that reaches marginalized communities and groups.
The focus on education at the global level continues to increase, and the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York was no exception. The Association for Childhood Education International’s Center for Education Diplomacyparticipated in several key events that demonstrated the need for Education Diplomacy to achieve the Global Goals.
Diplomacy skills of leveraging were key to securing the necessary mutual agreement to implement the ECD leadership program, which advanced both the education of government leaders and the education of children in their early childhood years. In addition to consensus building, which brought colleagues together to shape the proposal, negotiation skills in particular dominated the process.
Through cross-sectoral partnerships, Dr. Young and the AACC helped community-based organizations and committees gain a space at the negotiating and decision-making table as Nicaragua’s government moved toward a more centralized provision of pre-natal and early childhood services. To do this, AACC facilitated skills workshops on negotiation, strategic planning, organizational development, social mapping, data collection, and proposal writing, to help communities work effectively with local and national ministries. With these skills, they were able to enhance their Education Diplomacy engagement.
Education Diplomacy uses the skills of diplomacy to build relationships across sectors and stakeholders to solve education challenges. In particular, negotiation skills can be applied to leverage agreement on those solutions – “Leverage” being the core component of the 5L Education Diplomacy Process (see below). These skills are also foundational for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as Michele Ferenz, Senior Mediator of the Consensus Building Institute, explains. “Partnership and participation…are structured forms of negotiation [and] are a core part of the achievement of the SDGs.”
Education Diplomacy uses the skills of diplomacy to bridge divides between sectors, diverse actors, and borders to address education challenges and move transformative education agendas forward. The practice of Education Diplomacy includes interactions that cultivate partnerships, create shared value, and shape consensus about mutually beneficial solutions that position education as a force for positive change in the world.
Education Diplomacy ideally provides an opportunity for all voices to be heard at the table in making decisions or shaping agendas for education. However, the space for inclusive participation isn’t always open for those diplomatic interactions to happen – particularly for grassroots actors and youth. Advocacy creates opportunities for deeper diplomatic engagement to advance education so that those who are directly impacted by education challenges have a say in finding a solution.
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a global funding mechanism and partnership process that solicits the financial support of nations in order to advance education. A GPE Financing Conference, hosted by the governments of Senegal and France, took place in Dakar on February 1-2. ACEI, as a member of a network of civil society organizations that support the work of GPE, was pleased to participate in the conference. Read our five takeaways from the experience.
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