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IdeaLab: Stimulating thinking on current topics of interest

An initiative to encourage innovation

IdeaLab is a forum for reflecting on current topics of interest to Canadians. Experts from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s broad network explore a variety of topics such as disinformation, Indigenous cultural heritage, climate change, and education. IdeaLab offers new perspectives to encourage intersectoral and cross-disciplinary dialogue.

Illustration of three hands supporting a leafy vine branch, with other garden images in background.

Ărramăt - Indigenous perspectives on sustainable development 

In the context of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022–2023, author Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine discusses some Indigenous approaches to sustainable development, examines how Indigenous peoples and their approaches have been considered—or not considered—in the development and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and demonstrates ties between the SGDs and Indigenous languages. 

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A city skyline with migrating birds overhead and a municipal sign in the forefront that reads "welcome" in English, French and 5 Indigenous languages.

Anti-colonial community planning and ethical space

Urban planning professionals, City of Lethbridge planner Perry Stein argues, have long been complicit in the colonial project - by developing and implementing policies and practices that have led to the removal Indigenous people from their land; the segregation of communities by race and income; the erasure of Indigenous values, languages and history from urban spaces; and the failure of cities to meet the needs of urban Indigenous populations. Acknowledging this, Stein discusses concepts and approaches that all professionals can apply to change course - to manifest truth and reconciliation through the planning, design and management of cities that honor and reflect both tangible and intangible Indigenous cultural heritage.

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The United Nations flag

Recognition, justice and development: the promise of Black diplomacy and the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent

Candies Kotchapaw, founder of DYLOTT and the Black Diplomats Academy, discusses the legacy of the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent and the significance of the establishment of the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent in supporting ongoing action to recognize and protect the human rights of Black peoples globally. Read the article.

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A person holding a beaded medicine wheel and feathers.

Guardians of our knowledge

In this article Cody Groat reflects on this history of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme and its mandate to safeguard and promote documentary heritage, exploring how the Canadian Advisory Committee has approached its work to ensure the recognition of Indigenous forms of documentary heritage.

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A hand offers a plant, and the plant grows outward to touch the land, water and the universe, and over everything is the pattern of the land. Colors are blue, violet and yellow.

Land as teacher: understanding Indigenous land-based education

What is Indigenous land-based education and what is it not? Four Indigenous voices from across the country share their insights on what it means to them, why it's important for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples, and how it can support reconciliation efforts in Canada.

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People of all ages and background walk a non-linear path together.

Reconciliation and Global Citizenship Education in Canada

Through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process, Canada’s residential school Survivors identified education about the experiences and legacy of residential schools as their highest priority. In this article, Charlene Bearhead reflects on reconciliation education in practice - what it means to teach Canadians to value truth, accept responsibility, and take action.

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Oluseye at Nia Centre for the Arts. He stands behind a mural with various pictures.

Art for our sake: creativity and humanity in the African diaspora

For people from Afro-diasporic communities, artistic spaces have always been places of self-expression, community and well-being. Mark V. Campbell explains the tensions that exist within a cultural system that is exploitative and unresponsive to the historical realities of Black creatives.

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A grey radio is placed in the centre. You can see a white screen with purple radio waves and three buttons (one green button on the left and two purple buttons on the right). A light brown retro design makes the background. A cream-coloured circle is placed to the left of the radio. Four dark brown curves surround the circle. A brown circle is placed to the right of the radio. Four cream-coloured curves surround the circle.

Community radio: the eternal springtime of radiobroadcasting

More than 100 years ago on May 20, 1920, radio broadcasting began in Canada. Boris Chassagne, director of 60 Secondes Radio, discusses the importance of this mode of communication.

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An abstract painting made of various shapes and lines. The following colours are seen on the canvas: black, blue, light blue, white, orange, red, and grey.

Montreal, landscapes and lockdown

This article, written by Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, studies the consequences of the health measures and restrictions imposed during the Spring 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in Montreal. The impacts on certain urban spaces are exposed.

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In the center, a black and white picture of Maria Ressa wearing a red blazer. She is surrounded by a yellow circle. The turquoise coloured background is made of newspaper clippings. A few yellow, white, and grey zigzags complete the background.

Growing threats to media freedom: democracy under assault

Maria Ressa, co-founder, Executive Editor and CEO of Rappler calls for readers to educate themselves and demand accountability from social media platforms and governments.

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A mosaic illustration of human faces.

A Sense of Belonging: To what? And on whose terms?

In this article, author David Divine explores the complexities of belonging, particularly in relation to Black communities in Canada. Who defines acceptance, and why do we seek to belong? These questions and answers are explored drawing on a sociological exploration of inclusion and broader meanings of belonging.

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School children and their teacher wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Education and COVID-19: challenges and opportunities

The UNESCO Chair in Curriculum Development explores the challenges and opportunities created by the COVID-19 crisis for education stakeholders in terms of curricula, school environments, students and teachers.

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