Education for World Futures

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Abstract

We live in a time of unprecedented growth of science and technology with consequent escalating rates of material and social change. Global warming, the world's nuclear arsenal, population and information explosions, advanced bionics and computer-human interfaces all challenge what it will mean to be human in the next 50 years. This is the world our students will inherit. How then should we prepare them to identify and understand the challenges of the 21st century and have the knowledge and wisdom to help shape meaningful, sustainable and equitable world futures? Integrated Human Studies programmes address these questions. They offer students a coherent approach to understanding major issues likely to confront humankind over the next 50 years. In this presentation we set out our guiding principles to what we believe should be an essential component of university studies. First, students need a basic understanding of and respect for the many disciplines that touch on the human condition. Second, they need the skills to integrate these diverse disciplines ranging over the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities to explore and help resolve major global problems. Third, they need encouragement to reflect on what it means to be human, what it means to be a member of the human community and what it means to be a member of a species that has the power and propensity to affect this planet earth.