CFP: Decolonising Global Education

Ela Drazkiewicz's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you will find this call for papers on Global Education interesting. 

Best regards,

Ela Drazkiewicz and Tomas Profant


In 2002 the Maastricht Declaration defined Global Education as an ‘education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all’.  European states, international organisations and NGOs were urged to design and implement Global Education initiatives, and incorporate them into national curriculums. It was envisioned as an important pedagogical tool in shaping future generations into ‘global citizens’ who would be interested and invested in global issues, and ready to support developmental causes, human rights campaigns or climate change campaigns.

With this special issue, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Maastricht initiative, we want to not only ask about the effectiveness of Global Education, but also explore its diverse variants, meanings and trajectories across European states. We also hope to open up a discussion about the future of this pedagogical tool, especially amid the most recent discussions calling for the decolonisation of the development apparatus (e.g. CSEP 2018, ODI 2020).

Global Education is a highly unique phenomenon full of internal contradictions. It concerns international relations and global political economy, but it often operates as a technocratic pedagogical endeavour (Andreotti 2014). While it has a strong moral agenda it is also highly politicised: it is often used to generate support for specific international politics and policies, such as those concerning foreign aid (Drążkiewicz 2020). Furthermore, while Global Education is based on universalistic claims, it is a highly diverse phenomenon with distinct national features and histories, which is strongly influenced by local political contexts, educational systems and moral economies (Davies et al. 2018). As at its centre is a global perspective it can be seen as a counter narrative to ethnocentric discourses, yet sometimes it also appropriates, manipulates or even reinforces national ideologies.

Global Education also presents some analytical challenges as it escapes traditional disciplinary classifications and boundaries. Even though it concerns international relations and global political economy, it is rarely a topic of conversation in political cabinets or at international forums. Instead, it  takes place at schools, churches or community centres, and is undertaken by teachers and community educators. Yet, as it holds close relationships with political and civil society institutions (which usually initiate and fund global education programmes), by educators it is frequently seen as an extracurricular activity, a secondary issue escaping mainstream pedagogical debates. Consequently, Global Education has often been overlooked by both political and education studies, with both disciplines seeing it as a domain of scholars in other fields.

We hope that our special issue will help to bridge those disciplinary divides and fill the gaps in our knowledge about Global Education. We therefore invite contributions that will help us to make sense of this multidimensional and complex character of Global Education, while analysing strategies and initiatives designed to influence young generations and their interest in global matters.

We are particularly interested in papers that ask:

  • How effective are Global Education initiatives (in terms of their ability to shape and influence ‘young minds’ but also their contribution to achieving the Millenium Development Goals or the Sustainable Development Goals)?

  • What political theories is Global Education promoting? How does it conceptualise global relations and/or global issues?

  • How are Global Education initiatives conceptualising ‘Global Citizenship’? How is this notion defined vis-a-vis other education initiatives that emphasise national links, loyalties and identities?

  • What moral codes are Global Education initiatives mobilising? What philosophies and visions of the world do they promote? How do they correspond with dominant preexisting ideologies? Does Global Education counter or rather reinforce dominant discourses? What is the role of religion in these processes?

  • What forms of social and political engagement are Global Education initiatives promoting as a solution to global problems? Charity? Foreign aid? Political activism? Structural changes? What is the link between Global Education and action?

  • What are the historical trajectories of Global Education? Who promotes Global Education, why and in what circumstances? What socio-economic contexts support its popularity? In what circumstances does Global Education lose social or political support? How is  the recent neo-conservative turn in some parts of the world impacting Global Education (its curricula but also its funding and position in the national education systems)?

  • What is the relationship between Global Education and other forms of political education (Citizenship Education, Human Rights Education, Anti-Racist Education, etc.)? How are they differentiated by the practitioners? When and where are they mobilised and by whom? To what end?

  • What are the relationships between the main stakeholders involved in Global Education  and other actors (the aid industry, charity organisations, political parties, etc)?

  • What impact do global and local events have on Global Education initiatives, strategies and programmes? What issues are reflected in the programmes and why? Which issues are highlighted, and which are presented as salient? Who is made visible or invisible through those programmes?

  • Is Global Education global or local? Can we have a global education pattern that fits all, or does fostering global citizenship require locally tailored strategies? How are North-South, East-West and other socio-economic global and local divisions reflected in different variants of Global Education? Who teaches what? Why?

  • How does Global Education fit with the current decolonising trends in development and foreign aid? Does it support or hinder the process?

  • Who is the real beneficiary of Global Education?

  • What is the future of Global Education?

For this special issue we welcome papers written from the perspectives of Political Sciences, Anthropology, Education, Geography, Development Studies, Sociology and all other related disciplines. The geographical focus is open but we especially encourage papers analysing Global Education in Eastern and Central Europe.

The Predicted Special Issue Production Timeline:

Submission of abstracts: by the 1st of May 2021.

Workshop with potential authors to the SI: 10th of September 2021.

Submission of shortlisted manuscripts: by October 2021, followed by the peer review process.

Final decisions: December 2021.

The reviewing process is to be finalised by March 2022.

Publication in mid 2022.

All questions and submissions should be directed to Ela Drazkiewicz and Tomas Profant


Andreotti, Vanessa de Oliveira (2015): Critical and Transnational Literacies in International Development and Global Citizenship Education. Sisyphus — Journal of Education, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 32–50, doi:10.25749/sis.6544.

CSEP (2018): Decolonise Development: Thoughts and Theories (Panel Discussion), Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism, 26.10.2018,

Davies, Ian – Ho, Li-Ching – Kiwan, Dina – Peck, Carla L. – Peterson, Andrew – Sant, Edda – Waghid, Yusefed (2018): The Palgrave Handbook of Global Citizenship and Education. Palgrave Macmillan, doi:10.1057/978-1-137-59733-5.

Drazkiewicz, Elzbieta (2020): Institutionalised Dreams the Art of Managing Foreign Aid, Berghahn

ODI (2020): ODI Bites: Decolonising International Development, Overseas Development Institute, 15.10.2020,