Global sense of place

Faculty member attends international environmental education conference 

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Boileau recently spoke at the World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in Abu Dhabi.

Elizabeth Boileau, smiling with palm trees and the ornate Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental hotel in the background

She was among 2447 conference attendees from 82 different countries at WEEC, an international congress addressing education for environment and sustainable development.

The conference is held every two years in different parts of the world with the mission of spreading and sharing knowledge. The United Arab Emirates not only hosted, it has committed to investing $163 billion in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report suggests that education provides a critical opportunity to raise awareness and motivate changes in behavior.

One of the key takeaways from the conference was that education must be transformative and empowering to evoke change. Boileau, who teaches in the Department of Applied Human Sciences, found it powerful to connect with colleagues from around the world. Cultivating such a global sense of place unites people in working towards the same goal.

"Participating in this conference allowed me to situate the programs we offer in the Center for Environmental Education in a global context," says Boileau. "I gained some new ideas but also reflected on how progressive our courses are in allowing students to have experiential and transformative learning experiences that lead to positive outcomes in the community and for the environment"