About Shangri-la Institute

About Shangri-la Institute

SISC is a registered independent Chinese non-governmental organisation which traces its roots to Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where in 1996 key staff members started work on nature conservation and community development projects, as part of a national ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) programme. Originally established as WWF China’s education programme, the Shangri-la Institute has accumulated 15 years experience working to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in China, in both the formal and non-formal education settings, by supporting projects that empower schools and local communities to engage in sustainable development.

In its capacity as WWF China’s education programme, the core team of SISC initiated and successfully managed the Environmental Educators’ Initiative (EEI), a ten year two million US dollar national project (1996-2006), which, in partnership with the Ministry of Education of China, developed ESD Centres in 21 Teacher Training Universities across China, and helped to implement Environmental Education curriculum reaching some 200 million students across the country.

SISC works to promote eco-living and sustainable development, and over the years it developed strong links with the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE), the People’s Education Press, UNESCO, Earth Charter, Swarovski, Oxfam Novib, IUCN, local and national government departments, nature reserves, communities, schools, universities, and monasteries in different regions of China.

Our Guiding Principles

We seek to work in equitable partnerships with local communities that have recognized the need for more sustainable forms of development. Our partners include village communities, schools, enterprises, government departments, environment development and educational professionals, academics, monasteries/nunneries, and other NGOs.

We seek to establish and apply experiential learning and teaching methods that facilitate dialogue or negotiation between groups; enable them to understand different points of view; and arrive at agreed solutions to shared problems. Such methods are empowering in that they enhance the capacity of individuals and groups to make choices and transform these choices into desired actions and outcomes. They lead to transformed thinking and values and develop social capital alongside critical and active forms of citizenship.

We seek to acknowledge and address in our work all four dimensions of social learning: cognitive competences; emotional competences; social competences, and social capital. This involves recognizing and re-discovering aspects of local knowledge and culture that contribute to sustainable ways of living. Our learning and teaching methods enable people to combine this knowledge with other appropriate academic and practical knowledge.

We seek to uphold and mirror in our work those ethics and values outlined in the Earth Charter: respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity; social and economic justice; democracy, non-violence and peace.

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