“It is an honour both for me and for Chalmers, which is well to the fore in sustainable development,” says John Holmberg on his appointment.
The professorship is the first UNESCO Chair in Sweden in education for sustainable development. Previous holders are from Canada and Germany.
A UNESCO Chair means that the holder is part of a global network of universities and centres of learning with the principle aim of promoting a specific subject, in this case sustainable development.
John Holmberg will direct the UNESCO Chair at making Chalmers into a globally positive example of how to learn optimally about sustainable development and to communicate the experience gained to other universities around the world – in particular in the developing countries.
“The UNESCO network opens up enormous potential. It is a community learning process and it is simply a matter of finding a basic structure for its implementation,” says John Holmberg.
“Education for sustainable development is very much about how one makes use of knowledge, what image of the world one uses as a starting point and how one structures the knowledge. We need to deal with the climate issue alongside the increase in population. This is by no means impossible although it does demand considerable effort and commitment,” he explains.
John Holmberg is Professor of Physical Resource Theory at the Energy and Environment Division at Chalmers and also deputy head of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV, where he has specific responsibility for undergraduate matters.
He is known for the principles of sustainable education, which he produced as part of his PhD thesis. These have been used by several large companies and organisations throughout the world and have even been printed on milk cartons. John Holmberg was also involved in building up “The Natural Step” at the beginning of the 1990s.
The Swedish UNESCO Council provides advice to the government on UNESCO’s global activities within education, research, culture and communication and is also charged with the task of informing about and generating interest in UNESCO’s work in Sweden.
“The Swedish UNESCO Council is pursuing the question of sustainable development and we are looking forward to active collaboration with the Chalmers UNESCO Chair. The appointment is an important indication of Sweden’s prioritisation of sustainable development within UNESCO,” says Johan Lindell, Secretary-General of the Swedish UNESCO Council.
Press photo of John Holmberg