David Selby

Jacaranda Blossom

David Selby

David Selby is a Founding Director of Sustainability Frontiers, Adjunct Professor at Mount St Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Associate of the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education, Dublin City University, Republic of Ireland. He was previously (2003-2009) Professor of Education for Sustainability and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, and, before that (1992-2003), Professor of Education and Director of the International Institute for Global Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Canada.  He is a citizen of both Canada and the United Kingdom.


David has a long-standing international reputation for his teaching and writing on the theory and practice of environmental, global, humane, human rights, life skills, and sustainability-related education.  More recently he has become known for his path finding writing in the fields of climate change education, disaster risk reduction education and education for resilience.

As Director of the Centre for Sustainable Futures, a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, David was tasked with transforming the University of Plymouth into ‘an institution modeling university-wide excellence’ in sustainability performance and achievement.  He worked with a core team of nine as well as some forty-five seconded academics in working towards this goal. 

David has lectured and facilitated seminars and workshops on environmental, global and sustainability-related education in some thirty-four countries as well as for various United Nations organizations.  He has been a consultant to UNESCO, UNICEF and the International Development Research Council of Canada, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Minnesota, a Visiting Lecturer at the Free and Technical Universities of Berlin, and a Visiting Professor at Daito Bunka University, Tokyo.

Tree BlossomTree BlossomTree Blossom

A long-standing consultant on basic, life skills and global education for UNICEF, David supported UNICEF-funded national education reform initiatives in Lebanon and Jordan (1993-8); Armenia (1997-2000); Albania (1997-2001); Iran (2000-5); and Kazakhstan and the Central Asian Republics, where he led a team of some twenty-four Canadian and UK academics (2002-5).  He also served (2006) as evaluator of the Caritas pre-school program in Kosovo. His more recent consultancy work for Sustainability Frontiers includes the following co-consutancies with Fumiyo Kagawa:developing a six-day teacher education program and portfolio of classroom activities for a UNESCO Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development Program (2011); undertaking a  mapping study of the integration of disaster risk reduction in school curricula globally for UNESCO and UNICEF (2011);  developing a technical guidance tool for the integration of disaster risk reduction in school curricula for UNESCO and UNICEF (2012); undertaking safe school research in Cambodia, China and Indonesia for Plan International in Asia (2012); mapping out child-friendly schooling for peacebuilding for UNICEF New York Headquarters (2013); developing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation teaching and learning toolkit for the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Authority (2014); conducting a Bangladesh curriculum review through a lens of climate change and disaster risk reduction for Save the Children Bangladesh (2014, 2016);  researching and writing an Input Paper for the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 on behalf of Plan International Sweden; developing the lower-secondary curriculum together with training and resource materials on climate change, disaster risk reduction and related environmental issues for the government of St. Vincent & the Grenadines (2019-20), among others.

David has led a number of major foundation and government funded projects and initiatives including: the 2005-10 Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Sustainability at the University of Plymouth (funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England); the 2001-3 Global Citizenship Education Research Project funded by the Ford Foundation), the 2000-1 Education for Citizenship Project (funded by Canadian Heritage), and the 1993-5 Ontario Green Schools Project (funded by the Richard Ivey Foundation) at the University of Toronto; the Global Perspectives in the National Curriculum Project and the 1986-9 Global Impact Project at the University of York, England (both funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature); the 1982-5 World Studies Teacher Training Project, also at York (funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust).

Tree BlossomTree BlossomTree Blossom

With lifetime totals of some 27 books, 52 book chapters, 31 peer reviewed articles and 53 articles in professional journals, David has written extensively in all his fields of interest.  His co-authored book, Global Teacher, Global Learner (1988), remains a path finding volume in the field of global education, while his book, EarthKind (1995), first thoroughly mapped out the field of humane education.  More recent works include: Global Education: Making Basic Learning a Child-friendly Experience (1999); Weaving Connections: Educating for Peace, Environmental and Social Justice (2000); New Century, New Belongings: Essays in Global Education (2002); Green Frontiers: Environmental Educators Dancing Away from Mechanism (2008); Education and Climate Change: Living and Lerning in Interesting Times (2010); Sustainability Education: Perspectives and Practice across Higher Education (2010); Sustainability Frontiers: Transformative Voices from the Borderlands of Sustainability Education (2014). His books and articles have been translated into a range of languages: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Newer publications with Fumiyo Kagawa arising out of the Sustainability Frontiers consultancies described above include:  Disaster Risk Reduction in School Curricula: Case Studies from Thirty Countries (UNESCO/Paris, UNICEF/Geneva, 2012); Disaster Risk Reduction Education in Vanuatu: A Baseline Study (Save the Children Australia, 2012); Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Education in Vanuatu (Save the Children Australia, 2012); UNESCO Course for Secondary Teachers on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (UNESCO, 2013); Towards a Learning Culture of Safety and Resilience: Technical Guidance on Disaster Risk Reduction in School Curricula (UNESCO/Paris, UNICEF/Geneva, 2014); Child-friendly Schooling for Peacebuilding (UNICEF/New York, 2014); Disaster Risk Reduction Education Toolkit (CDEMA, 2014); Disaster Risk Reduction in the School Curriculum, the Present and Potential Role of Development Agencies and the Implications for the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015 Successor (UNISDR, 2015), Learn, Practice, Share: A Comparative Review of the Pillowcase Project (Global Disaster Preparedness Centre, 2016); Working Together for Resilience: Linkages between School-Based Disaster Risk Management and Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (HOPE’87, 2018).

He is now actively engaged in writing a book on transformative place-based environmental education with the title Down the Combe and into the Meadow: Reflections on Nature and Learning.

David was the co-recipient of the Canadian Peace Education Award in 2003 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a Member of the International Editorial Board of Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review. 

He is an avid gardener, orchid lover, coastal and mountain walker and wild flower photographer. In his spare time he is also actively engaged in butterfly conservation initiatives in Devon, England.

> publications

Contact David : dselby@sustainabilityfrontiers.org

Accessibility | Site Map | Copyright © 2020 Sustainability Frontiers | Designed by COSMIC