Earlier this month, SERES co-Founder Corrina Grace traveled with Abigail Quic, facilitator to UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris in order to receive the UNESCO-Japan prize for its innovative sustainability education programs. The award was presented by the Director-General of UNESCO in a ceremony on 5 November 2015 .
Corrina and Abigail met with the other laureates, judges and UNESCO’s team for Education for Sustainable Development prior to the ceremony to discuss their applications. “SERES application really stood out”, noted one of the judges. “In particular, we were impressed by its holistic approach and innovative methodology. The application really had spark, and your strategy lends itself easily to scaling-up. We also really liked the way SERES integrates all aspects of sustainability education into your programs, and we hope that by winning this prize SERES can inspire others to do the same.”
SERES was awarded the prize for our “SERES ESD Youth Ambassadors”initiative, which trains youth ambassadors to become facilitators of established sustainability programmes. The youth ambassadors then train other young people so as to build community resilience to climate change.
In Abigail’s thank you speech, she called on those gathered to work with SERES to harness the power of youth to face the sustainability crisis: “the task is not small”, she stated “nothing short of a transformation of society at every level.”
The award includes 50,000USD in prize money, which will be used to continue our youth training programs, and to help build SERES new training center, to be completed in 2018.
“More than the prize money, this recognition is a huge validation of our work” says Corrina Grace, SERES co-Founder. “We believe that investing in youth sustainability leadership is one of the most effective long-term strategies that we have towards addressing the climate crisis. This award helps us to build that case.”
“I want to let everyone know how proud I am to be a part of this team, and a facilitator of SERES’ processes. We have a strategic and effective response to international strategy around Education for Sustainable Development. I was inspired to hear what the judges said, and how people – even from a distance – can see the impact of our work.
This award has empowered me, it has made me feel so proud, and more importantly it has made me believe even more in what we do, how we do it and where we are going!”
SERES has now been invited as an official partner of UNESCO’s Partner Network for ESD, and as part of UNESCO’s new Green Citizens Initiative. More information about the UNESCO-Japan prize is available online here.
More photos of the ceremony can be seen here: