The special focus of the conference this year is learning to make a social difference. We are defining learning in its broadest sense as it relates to the acquisition of knowledge or skills through formal or informal educational practices of teaching, study, and experiential engagement. The critical concern here is that those practices are concerned with changing and improving social lives; harnessing the power of education to address inequality, discrimination, and disadvantage to promote social justice.
According to figures from Oxfam International, in 2016-17, 82 percent of the wealth created went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity got nothing. Educationalists have a responsibility to not only increase understanding of the underlying socio-economic factors giving rise to such inequalities of wealth distribution but also to address and tackle their potentially devastating global impact on lives and communities. Hence the special focus of this year’s conference and the call to those whose work seeks to make a social difference to join us in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2019.
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