PhD defence

Identifying and fostering sustainable development competencies: Combining lessons from non-Western and Western contexts

PhD candidate Yared YN (Yared) Demssie MSc
Promotor Martin prof.dr. M (Martin) Mulder
Co-promotor dr. HJA (Harm) Biemans
External copromotor dr R Wesselink
Organisation Wageningen University, Education and Learning Sciences, Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Tue 7 December 2021 11:00 to 12:30



Humanity is facing various sustainability challenges. Different initiatives, such as the sustainable development goals of the United Nations are introduced to deal with these challenges. Several researchers conducted studies to identify sustainability competencies (SCs) which are required to contribute to realizing a more sustainable future. These studies are typically conducted based on Western worldviews. As a result, the SC frameworks which exist do not take non-Western worldviews, nor their contexts and related indigenous knowledge (IK) into account. This dissertation argues that for sustainability challenges to be effectively addressed at global level, integrating non-Western perspectives in the development of SCs is essential. The 2021 UNESCO report ‘Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education’ strongly advocates the inclusion of IK in education worldwide. The dissertation articulated the SCs which are specifically needed in this respect and assessed teaching methods by which they can be developed in higher education.