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"i La poesno es de quien la escribe, sino de quien la use!" Poetry does not belong to its writer, but to its user! (Antonio Skarmeta, "El Cartero de Neruda", Plaza & Janes Ed., Barcelona,1986 rpt 1995).

Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta first published "El Cartero de Neruda" in 1978. In this novel, the writer brings together the exiled Chilean poet Neruda with a local postman and together they exchange views about life and its metaphors and enrich each other's experience with their personal narratives.

In 1980, the work was made into a film. fifteen years later, in a remake, directors Michael Redford and Massimo Troisi skillfully transformed the original Chilean landscape into that of a remote Italian island, thereby conveying the initial messages of the book in a European context.

Much in the same way, many of the ideas expressed by Southern innovators in popular education - such as Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal - are slowly reaching European audiences through formal and non-formal education. Many fields - such as peace education, human rights education, environmental education and development education - have "filtered" the opinions of Freire, Boal and other voices from the so-called "Education for Liberation" movement into what we have now begun to call "global education".

There is both inspiration and value to be drawn from the philosophy and work of authors and educational practitioners from the South, since their views and ideas challenge the Western colonisation of global institutions, communications and political processes. All societies need to hear voices speaking out against oppression, in whatever form this may take.

Institutions, NGOs, trainers and educators from different fields have come to realise that it is time to apply the concept of "sustainability". to their respective competencies, thereby broadening the scope and focus of many specific kinds of 'education". Global education is an attempt to link past and present didactic approaches to different issues of global concern in a coherent, methodological and pedagogical framework. As such, it is a discipline that is bound to evolve swiftly.

This publication aims to contribute to this evolution process by giving a taste of recently published global education materials from different European and international NGOs and institutions.

In Skarmeta's book, the postman, having 'borrowed" a phrase from one of Neruda's poems for a love declaration, tells the poet: "Poetry does not belong to its writer, but to its User!".

Many of the educational books and materials featured in these pages could have been compiled with this intention in mind. They seldom reflect only one point of view or approach to the subject with which they are dealing, and often "borrow" ideas and activities from previous publications and projects, sometimes framing them in a new context.

This is a sign of the vitality of the global education field and of its central concepts: active listening and an intercultural approach. Those active in this educational genre believe in the free use and publication of ideas, methodology and good practice. Consequently, most development education and global education publishers - particularly in the NGO sector - waive copyright fees on reproduction.

As the interdependence of our planet increases, along with the globalisation of most of the processes affecting our lives, we are faced today with a formidable challenge that is summarised uncompromisingly by the Polish and international journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski in his book "Imperium" (Granta Books, London, 1994) which records the changes of recent years in Eastern Europe:

"... you must know this law of culture: two civilisations cannot really know and understand each other well. You will start to go deaf and blind. You will be content in your own civilisation .... signals from the other civilisation will be as incomprehensible to you as if they had been sent by inhabitants of Venus".

The question is, do we passively accept this "law of culture" defined here or do we recognise the reason for and value in taking up the challenge of global confrontation and action? This publication is a contribution to the second option. It introduces materials with a broad cultural focus which educate towards global citizenship in the 1990s.

A second question is whether it is possible to reframe the old dichotomies - North-South, East West, Human-Nature, and so on - into an updated educational approach stimulating local actions and global views. The publications presented in these pages do not provide any easy answer. What they do provide, however, are suggestions of ways of working towards and reflecting on probable questions and possible responses.

This publication has been divided into two main sections:
In Section One, the reader is presented with a concise overview of a selection of educational materials that have been published recently in Europe and which are categorised here by theme. They range from video and theatre productions to teacher and youth worker handbooks and focus on a broad array of topics from World Music to the future of the United Nations. The majority share an active learning approach and a concern for one or more global issues.

In Section Two, teachers and educators are given the opportunity to try out some of these materials for themselves. A selection of activities has been made from the materials presented in the first section.