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The Social and Cultural Pedagogy master's degree program of the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University co-organized "Social Education and Social Pedagogy: Bridging Traditions and Innovations," an international conference held Feb. 22–24, in Puebla, Mexico.
In organizing this conference, the School of Social Transformation partnered with the Social Pedagogy Association (SPA), the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), and the Red Mexicana de Pedagogía Social (REMPES).
This was the first conference that brought together academics and practitioners from the fields of social education, social pedagogy and public pedagogy from different parts of the world.
Many of the national associations of social pedagogy and social education from different countries (including Brazil, Czech Republic, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, the United Kingdom and the United States) and important international associations — like AIEJI and Sociedad Iberoamericana de Pedagogía Social — collaborated to make the event a success. The conference attracted approximately 350 participants from 17 countries, and presentations were made in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Editors from the major international academic journals related to the field also attended.
A delegation of 16 participants represented the School of Social Transformation, including four faculty members (Angela Arzubiaga, Jennifer Sandlin, Beth Blue Swadener, and Daniel Schugurensky), six students (Holly Nicolaisen, Jorge Morales Guerrero, Casey Khaleesi, Julia Tebben, Emily Nunez-Eddy, and Tanaya Dempsey), and six graduates from the Social and Cultural Pedagogy program (Kara O'Neill, Dana Keller, Tara Swanholm, Joanna Henderson, Angeles Maldonado, and Nayara de Sousa).
"ASU students, graduates, and faculty were key to making this conference successful." — Jennifer Sandlin, associate professor in the School of Social Transformation.
For Keller, who graduated from the Social and Cultural Pedagogy MA program in 2015 and is currently the president of the Social Pedagogy Association, the conference was a tremendous success.
"When we, as a group of MA SCP graduates and faculty, started the Social Pedagogy Association in 2015, the international conference was one of our first ideas. To see it come to fruition with hard work from our SPA team and then through our partnership with the team in Mexico, was truly exciting," she said. "It was a tremendous opportunity to connect with other professionals around the world. We can’t wait to see how the future study and practice of social pedagogy and social education will be impacted by those connections."
Swadener, associate director for graduate studies in the School of Social Transformation and a faculty member in the Social and Cultural Pedagogy master's degree program, agreed: “It was inspiring to witness the leadership roles and scholarship of our alumni and current graduate students. To have participation from so many countries for an inaugural conference was also impressive.”
For Schugurensky, coordinator of the Social and Cultural Pedagogy MA Program, this conference was very important because it strengthened and deepened existing international collaborations in the areas of research, policy, and practice in social pedagogy, and opened new opportunities for further cooperation.
Along the same lines, Sandlin, associate professor in the School of Social Transformation and a faculty member in the Social and Cultural Pedagogy master's degree program, said: "I was thrilled to see participants from across the globe, and energized by the commitment to social justice revealed in so many of the research projects that participants shared. I was excited to connect with colleagues from Finland and Australia and am already planning papers and panels for the next conference that will happen in two years. ASU students, graduates, and faculty were key to making this conference successful. I’m so proud of them and honored to be part of this program."
For Jorge Morales Guerrero, a current student in the program, the conference was a great opportunity to share the main findings of his thesis with an international audience in his home town.
“This conference was a great opportunity to meet scholars from all over the world with whom I share similar interests," he said. "I was particularly amazed by the work activists and scholars are doing in México, and I am grateful that I had the chance to meet with them and get to know about their work. I was also able to share the work that we do at ASU in Local to Global and my personal research! Additionally, the music, food, streets and people of Puebla were extra treats that made the conference an incredible experience.”
At the closing session, a motion to hold this international conference every two years was approved, and currently there are plans to organize the 2020 conference in Cyprus (organized by the University of Central Lancashire, U.K.), and the 2022 conference in Barranquilla, Colombia, organized by the Universidad del Norte.
For more information on the master's degree program in Social and Cultural Pedagogy at the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, visit the program website or contact Brianna Casillas at email@example.com.
For more information on the Social Pedagogy Association and to register for free membership, visit the association website socialpedagogy.org.