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Key Message

A new sustainable world does not just happen, it must be made—Made by innovative, influential young leaders with a sustainable vision for the future.


Leslie Paas· Leslie Paas
Pauline Gerrard· Pauline Gerrard
Project Manager

Education, Learning and Leadership

Preparing the next generation to lead the way

What's New in Education, Learning and Leadership?

  • imageThe Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and Sustainability Education in First Nations Schools in Manitoba (PDF - 928 KB)
    An exploration of the participation of First Nations schools in Manitoba in the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development.

  • Securing a Sustainable Future in the Arctic: Engaging and training the next generation of northern leaders
    Full Paper (PDF - 592 kb) - Executive Summary (PDF - 2 mb)
    In recent decades, the Arctic has undergone major environmental, socio-economic and political changes. The rapid loss of Arctic ice is having negative consequences on northern communities and lifestyles, on iconic species such as the polar bear, and is altering the ecology of the Arctic ocean and the permafrost lands. With the majority of the population in Canada’s North being under the age of 30, they have an enormous stake in the present state of the North as they will ultimately be responsible for shaping the future of the region. Thus, training such a large generation of young people for active citizenry in a region strained by global warming and other sustainability challenges is critical to the future stability of the North. This paper provides an overview of capacity building programs for northern youth; examines what has worked up to now; identifies the existing gaps and barriers; and makes recommendations on what will be needed in the future.

  • Global Connectivity focuses on new challenges for sustainable development
    IISD announces the new Global Connectivity program, which describes our broader, ongoing focus on new and emerging challenges for sustainable development. Global Connectivity replaces the Knowledge Communications program to incorporate how technology, in particular communications technology, is supporting and changing how we organize our governing systems, our economies, and our cultures in unprecedented ways.

  • Supporting the Next Generation of Sustainability Leadership (PDF - 600 kb)
    This paper presents the results of IISD's 2008 survey of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) members' training programs for ages 20-35. It serves as the foundation document for a workshop on Supporting the Next Generation of Sustainability Leadership at IUCN Congress 2008 aimed at exploring collaborative possibilities to shape future training programs by reviewing existing programs, highlighting key issues and identifying the possible next steps.

  • IISD is organizing an alliances workshop at IUCN's World Conservation Congress, Barcelona, October 5-14.
    The workshop aims to build a consortium of leading international sustainability organizations to coordinate next generation leadership training as a global endeavour. The goal is to ensure that sustainable development work being done today is continued into the future.

New ways of thinking are required for the sustainable development of Canada and the world. It all begins with the people—consultants, teachers, students, employees, our human resources that will not only be able to quickly adapt to the future but also, to shape it.

In order to secure the foundations of sustainable development into the future, we need to engage young people and prepare them to continue the world's work towards sustainability, building on what has been learned and bringing their own vision and research into action.

Our principal focus is on young professionals emerging from their formal education and training, who are seeking to apply what they have learned and to understand better how to influence policy and implement change. Our work centres on the following major questions:

  1. What are the skills, knowledge and values needed to work for sustainable development?

  2. What are the most effective ways to engage young professionals today? How do they network, how do they influence decision-making now? What are the challenges, barriers and opportunities they face?

  3. What kinds of programs can we design that will build the leadership capacity of the next generation?

Our Research to Date