Sustainability, citizenship, and equity in education around the world


 Presenter (s) Ousainou Sarr, Ohio University
Mariana Shekarian, University of Ottawa
Elena Negrea Busuioc, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration and Simona Elena Szakacs-Behling, Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research
 Discussant (s) Upenyu Majee, Michigan State University
Dante J. Salto, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Discussion (zoom) (March 23, 2020 at 11:00 am-12:30 pm EST)

This virtual session examines the issues of sustainability, citizenship and equity in education in different geographic areas and sociocultural contexts, including North America, Iran, Romania, and Gambia. The papers explore dilemmas of research practices, analyze how textbooks address issues of environmental sustainability and equity, as well as examine education leadership policies for sustainable development. Please listen to the recorded presentations below and join authors and the invited discussants, Dante J. Salto and Upenyu S. Majee, in a live session on March 23, 2020 (11:00 am-12:30 pm EST) to continue the conversation:

‘Content Analysis of Environmental Sustainability in Images of Elementary School Textbooks: The case of Iran’ by Mariana Shekarian, University of Ottawa (abstract)

‘Trees, Networks, and Clocks: Metaphors of Solidarity and Diversity in Romanian Social Studies Textbooks’ by Elena Negrea Busuioc, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration; Simona Elena Szakacs-Behling, Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (abstract)

‘Leadership and Policies for Sustainable Development in the Gambia: Capacity Building Potentials and limitations’ by Ousainou Sarr, Ohio University (abstract)


‘Content Analysis of Environmental Sustainability in Images of Elementary School Textbooks: The case of Iran’ by Mariana Shekarian, University of Ottawa

‘Trees, Networks, and Clocks: Metaphors of Solidarity and Diversity in Romanian Social Studies Textbooks’ by Elena Negrea Busuioc, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration; Simona Elena Szakacs-Behling, Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research


‘Leadership and Policies for Sustainable Development in the Gambia: Capacity Building Potentials and limitations’ by Ousainou Sarr, Ohio University


Ousainou Sarr is a doctoral candidate in Educations Administration at Ohio University with specialization in Comparative International Education. Ousainou has a combined twenty years work experience as a Finance, Administration and Education professional. Ousainou’s research interest centers on learning organizations, capacity building, and education for sustainable development. E-mail:

Mariana Shekarian is currently a part-time professor and a Ph.D. student at the University of Ottawa. She holds a BSc. in Biology from the University of Tehran, a certificate in Teaching English to Adult Learners from the University of Cambridge and an M.Ed. in Societies, Cultures and Languages from the University of Ottawa. Her research interests mainly lie in the areas of language teaching and learning, gender inequality in higher education and the environmental sustainability and how it can be solved through education and transformative knowledge. In her free time, she enjoys working out, jogging and taking her Shih-poo for a walk! E-mail:

Elena Negrea-Busuioc is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest, Romania), where she teaches courses on Metaphors in advertising, Visual communication, and Public communication in the EU. She has received a PhD in linguistic (University of Bucharest, 2009) for a thesis on the pragmatics of irony and she has been a Fulbright fellow at the Department of Communication, Portland State University (OR, US, October 2013-March 2014), where she carried out a research project on deliberate metaphors in communication. Since 2010, she is the editor of the Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations. Her research interests revolve around the figurative language use in communication (with a focus on metaphor and irony), visual communication and discourse analysis (especially EU-related discourse). E-mail:

Simona Szakács-Behling is a researcher in the Department Media | Transformation where she coordinates the globalDAS project on global citizenship education practices in German Schools Abroad (Deutsche Auslandsschulen) in various regions around the world and is Principal Investigator in the project Transnational Solidarities focused on schools in Germany promoting a specific European ethos. She studied Communication and Media in Bucharest (BA, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, 2004), Sociology and Social Anthropology in Budapest (MA, Central European University, 2005) and Sociology in the UK (PhD, University of Essex, 2013). Simona’s doctoral thesis was distinguished with the Georg Eckert Award for Excellence in Educational Media Research. Her overarching research interest is in transnational dynamics in and of education occasioned by cross-border mobilities of persons, discourses and practices and changing forms of international education across a variety of school types and spatio-temporal contexts. E-mail:


Dante J. Salto is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in Educational Administration and Policy Studies (Higher Education concentration) from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY). His dissertation focuses on the interaction between higher education accreditation regulatory demands and college behavior. He also holds a Licenciatura in Education from the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina.


Upenyu S. Majee joined the Michigan State University (MSU) in 2019 as the Project Manager for the Ubuntu Dialogues: Museums and Communities Connect, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded partnership between the MSU African Studies Center and Stellenbosch University Museum, South Africa. He also teaches an Africa in the World course with a focus on conventional and alternative portraits of historical and contemporary Africa in the media, academia, and public discourses. Upenyu holds a joint PhD in Educational Policy Studies and Development Studies, and master’s degrees in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and African Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Zimbabwe. His research interests include internationalization, regionalization, and knowledge decolonization in African higher education. His dissertation examined institutional efforts to respond to conflicting imperatives to expand, equalize, and internationalize higher education in post-apartheid South Africa. Parts of the research have been published in Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education and in the Journal of Studies in International Education. In addition, Upenyu has co-authored a book chapter on decolonial approaches to AIDS, children’s wellbeing, and education in the Handbook of Quality of Life in African Societies.

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  25. Recently I’ve quoted some of the more negative emails and comments people have sent me…But today I thought I’d share some of the positive ones that I’ve got over the last two days:
    One of my big goals with Two Step Speaking is to make it as practical as possible, and actually get you DOING the process I teach, as you go through the course.

  26. Too many courses I’ve seen in the past just give you a lot of information… but don’t actually tell you what to do with it.
    Thank you for the great work you have done in 2SS course, it’s way more than just an English course. Joining this course is the best thing happened to me since a long time!

  27. Thanks Ahmad!And this is my *other* big goal with Two Step Speaking.This is my *other* big goal with Two Step Speaking.I don’t want you to just improve your English.
    I want you to really think about how English can bring you success… make your life better… really think about what you can DO in English. And use the language to get that success, to make your life better, and to do all the things you want.

  28. Children play on the lawn in front of their apparent home; a young mother takes her baby outside for a walk, stopping to wave at her partner through the window; a father and daughter watch a sunset. Each moment planting fashion firmly in reality, or at least a version of it.

  29. The scientific evidence calls for a complete change — a total overhaul of our relationship with nature and biodiversity. This is not an option, but a necessity for our survival. The welfare of humanity relies on the health of the environment, as well as the well-being of other species. The time to act is now.

  30. halting the melting of the cryosphere, which could release unknown viruses and bacteria, and preventing the rise in ocean temperatures, which leads to the destruction of our coral reefs — irreplaceable habitats for a wide array of ocean life. All these require firm global policy commitments and bold and coordinated global action.

  31. They are also protected by the 275 million local and indigenous people who live there, who use their skills and knowledge to generate an income without damaging their environment. One example is the BIOPALT project in the Lake Chad Basin in sub-Saharan Africa.

  32. global aims established at the UN General Assembly in 2015 to protect peace, people and the planet — provide a framework for sustainable development that addresses poverty, inequality, human rights, education, health, climate and ecosystems.

  33. of the biodiversity crisis and raise awareness about how it impacts us all. Education is a critical tool empowering future generations to play an active role as custodians of nature. Environmental education should be incorporated in school curricula, in teacher training as well as outside formal school systems — this commitment is at the heart of UNESCO’s education policy and action.

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