How It All Began

Japanese Quince Blossom

Sustainability Frontiers has evolved from a deeply felt experience of likeminded people working together at the International Institute for Global Education (IIGE) at the Ontario Institute for Studies of Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), Canada.  When David Selby moved to OISE/UT in 1992, he formed IIGE and began to draw together a community of educators, Canadian and international, committed to critical theoretical inquiry and discourse, research and development, around the idea of ‘whole planet, whole person’ education.

IIGE took on a holistic or global philosophy concerned with systemic learning about the world.  Its staff and graduate students explored the mutually enfolded nature of different spatial levels, local through global, the interconnectedness of seemingly separate global issues and their respective ‘educations’ (such as environmental, humane, human rights and peace education), the co-creating and co-evolving nature of past, present and future, and the interplay between the outer and inner worlds of the individual learner.

Tree BlossomIn its eleven years of existence IIGE was a very exciting place to be. Strong collegial bonds were forged between the members of Sustainability Frontiers. These bonds stretched to the United Kingdom when IIGE staff and students joined together with academics from the University College of St Mark & St John, Plymouth, England, as a twenty-four member consultancy group for the UNICEF CARK (Central Asian Republics and Kazakhstan) Global Education Project for national curriculum and pedagogical reform. In this way, Associate Member Jim Christophers, then of the University College, built bonds with other Sustainability Frontiers members.

The letter and spirit of IIGE is well captured in the celebratory volume, Green Frontiers: Environmental Educators Dancing Away from Mechanism, edited by James Gray-Donald and David Selby (Rotterdam, Sense, 2008), a collection of leading-edge essays by IIGE folk.

Those connected with IIGE went their separate ways after 2003 but there lived on a determination to reclaim that special spirit. So Sustainability Frontiers was formed to contribute an insufficiently heard and heeded voice on planetary responsive education.

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