Asia is not immune to the global crises of sustainability that increasingly affect not only our eco-systems, but also our relationships, livelihoods, and the continuity of what is precious in our diverse traditions and age-old civilizations. It is the view of many that institutions of higher learning can play a key role in disseminating the knowledge that is urgently needed in our time and in cultivating awareness and compassion, especially among young adults, so they will be prepared to engage thoughtfully and openheartedly with a world in rapid change. To play this role, however, those of us working in higher learning in and out of formal educational structures must take the lead in innovating with the resources and opportunities we now have. Neither business-as-usual within the academic world, nor purely technical or technological fixes, are likely to be sufficient for the tasks facing us.
This panel presents explorations as well as case studies of experiments in transformative learning pedagogies in India, Malaysia and Thailand against the background of Asian and global threats to sustainability.
What are the guiding principles, methodologies and innovations in the design of higher learning that will help us address the challenges of unsustainability? What are the prospects for harnessing these new ideas and practices to bring about genuine change at an individual and societal level in this generation as well as across the generations? Can they instill in us a healing sense of urgency as we face the consequences of a largely destructive development practice? What resistance, risks and opportunities will arise in embedding them into the mainstream context of formal educational institutions? Can they contribute to the creation of an ecologically and socially sustainable Asia by 2030? And beyond?