Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge

Learning Planet Institute_LearningPlanet Festival_2023©Quentin Chevrier

For the very first time, a global challenge brought together more than 70 young people from 30 different countries, to build the university of the future. 

Before an international jury of education experts from global education networks, universities, movements and organisations, youth participants to the Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge contributed to the development of Planetizen University by pitching their dream learning programmes. 

About Planetizen* University

LearningPlanet Alliance, powered by UNESCO and the Learning Planet Institute, is driving an intergenerational, global conversation to build towards new forms of university adapted to transitions across the world. Through gatherings at the UN General Assembly, UNESCO Youth Forum and more,  it is bringing together partners across institutions, NGOs, and youth organizations worldwide into this global co-creation. 

*As the planet is facing unprecedented challenges that make learning transitions key to our survival, we have to learn not only local citizenship but “planetizenship” to respect planetary boundaries and rebuild the relationships between humans and our planet.

Learn more about the Planetizen University here

For this very first Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge, young people’s programmes focused on flourishing universities (projects on well-being, thriving and socio-emotional development), engaging universities (projects on community engagement and inclusion) and sustainable universities (projects on planetary health and climate). 

After examining youth’s propositions, the jury – composed of Alysha Alva, from AIESEC; Asli Derya from the Learning Design for Cambridge Advance Online; Dr Sabine Becker-Thierry, from the United Nations University; Francois Taddei, from the Learning Planet Institute; Ji Mi Choi from Arizona State University; Jason Cohen from KidsforSDGs; Michael Backlund, from ClimateScience; Osaretin Osadolor from African Leadership University; Pavel Luksha from Global Education Futures and Sebastian Berger, from the Global Student Forum – chose three winners among the 20 pre-selected finalists. 

In front of over a hundred partners and participants from all corners of the globe, Pearl Perumal, Georgina Odero, and Jay Liu presented their dream learning programmes at the LearningPlanet Festival 2024.

Article - Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge

Learning Planet Institute_Discovery Days_2022©Antonin Weber_Hans Lucas

1st place – Pearl Perumal from South Africa

Pearl Perumal wants to interweave global indigenous knowledge systems by transforming oneself, learning, environments and connecting the past to the future. 

I entered the Youth Design Challenge because I wholly believe in the vision of the Planetizen University inviting youth to their own table to co-create and co-design learning materials and programs for what’s driving sustainable society and work”, Pearl Perumal

“I think a programme like this has a reach beyond high school or higher education students. It can actually apply to further education or even to the business world and governments. It bears such a wider appeal and has so much potential. I hope it gets the backing and the funding it needs”, Asli Derya, Head of Learning Design for Cambridge Advance Online

Discover Pearl Perumal’s programme: IKS For Transformation 

2nd place – Georgina Odero from Kenya

Georgina Odero submitted a knowledge-sharing platform and programme for learning how to repair used machines in African countries.

“With the Fixers, we are very happy because we have been working with two local universities and are about to launch it in the next couple of months to have our first round of work. (…) I think our programme can work not only in Kenya but in the world, and I hope to get insight and feedback (…)  to be able to better and make sure (…) that there is always sustainable engineering wherever you go in the world.”, Georgina Odero

“I honestly loved (…)  your idea. It was super unique and very inspirational to see how you were able to connect the dots with youth up-skilling, but then also tying in sustainability and the circular economy. You clearly explained the need on both ends, like needing those repair centers, because they’re absent in some communities,, as well as reducing electronic waste and up-skilling engineering students.”, Alysha Alva, AIESEC.

Discover Georgina Odero’s project: FiXers: Engineering for Sustainability

3rd place – Jay Liu from Hong Kong

Jay Liu presented a programme on enhancing good faith and communication in interpersonal relationships, and especially, in the case of an argument.

“What I hope to teach Planetizens through my program is the art of arguing well, not only by strengthening points, but also by promoting a cooperative mindset to solve these problems together, whether they’re interpersonal or concerning the future of our planet”, Jay Liu

“(…) We really need to dare to know and daring to know requires how we honestly go into argument with each other and learn to come out of this argument with productive solutions. (…) So I think Jay is doing really good work in creating a programme that will help people and businesses to learn it.”, Pavel Luksha, Global Education Futures

Discover Jay Liu’s programme: Ad Bonam Fidem

Explore all the other inspiring youth projects here

Learning Planet Institute Discovery Days 2022©Antonin Weber Hans Lucas Planetizen University Youth Design Challenge

In the coming months, the Institute will be exploring with partners how to accompany finalist projects and their enthusiastic young leaders over the year. Our LearningPlanet Alliance team will also be giving a spotlight to each of the learning programmes, to broadcast their great work.

“I’m looking over the top three prizes out of the hundreds of ideas that came in, and if Jay, Georgina and Pearl were collaborating, imagine how powerful their programmes could be! (…) It’s not a one plus one, it turns into a one plus exponential.” Ji Mi Choi, Arizona State University

Interested in getting involved? Join the community here

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