We live within a complex historical context with numerous world-scale economic, social, political, cultural and environmental constraints where different outlooks and projects within society are at loggerheads, giving rise to uncertainty as to what the future will bring for the human race. In this regard, the emergence of the paradigmatic guideline of GOOD LIVING has been gaining momentum, questioning the traditional concept of “Development” and its varying meanings and qualifiers: economic development, social development, overcoming underdevelopment, sustainable development, sustainable human development, quality of life, etc. This triggers a new dilemma for the different generations experiencing the so-called “development education”: charitable-care; developmentalist, critical and united; for human and sustainable development, for global citizenship, as it was rightfully identified several years ago.[1]

GOOD LIVING serves as a paradigmatic benchmark, referring to both a conception of life from a philosophical standpoint, and a way of living day-to-day that is akin to said conception. Thus, utopia and reality merge into a common ethical quest for meaning, and the connection of Good Living to the educational sphere is neither secondary nor marginal, but in fact inherently linked. Ultimately, the meaning of the education will be imbued with its development of the vital –theological and everyday– impetus of the paradigm that fuels and constitutes it.

GOOD LIVING is as much an expression of ancestral wisdom as it as a challenge at present and one for the future. Its meaning is linked to the native peoples who conserved, recovered, defended and reinterpreted it, but it has been assimilated as a referential concept for countless social, academic and political sectors and movements in many countries, even becoming a constitutional foundation in countries such as Bolivia and Ecuador.

GOOD LIVING or LIVING WELL is based on ancestral cultural traditions from Latin America (the ABYA YALA of these native peoples): mainly, the Sumak Kawsay (life in plenitude and harmony from the Quechua community of Ecuador); the Suma Qamaña (well-being of your inner force from the Aymara peoples of Bolivia, Peru); the Balawaba (unity of nature from the Kuna world in Panama); the Ñande Reko (harmonious life from the Paraguayan and Brazilian Guaraní); the Lekil Kuxlejal (the good life in peacefulness from the Tseltales Mayas, Chiapas, Mexico), among others,[2] all of which are focused on an integral and interdependent world view of harmony, belonging and care with nature that invites us to live together with equity, respect for diversity and the rights of all. Hence it is now conveyed, in light of the complex and conflicting conditions of our modern world, not only as a Latin American ancestral benchmark, but also a paradigm that raises doubts about the foundations upon which the hegemonic model of neoliberal globalisation has been built and that questions the educational guidelines that fall within the scope of this model. In this paradigmatic debate we attempt to identify how Good Living could guide educational purpose.

Let’s not forget that the speculation of the role that education could play to address current predicaments has been a recurring concern in an international context.  For example, the report drafted for UNESCO by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century, chaired by Jacques Delors[3], begins by stating that to confront modern-day challenges education is “an essential tool” to allow humanity to advance towards the ideals of peace, liberty and social justice, addressing and overcoming the tensions a) between the global and the local; b) the universal and the singular; c) the long- and short-term; d) competition and equal opportunities; e) knowledge development and access to information on the one hand and the human capacity to assimilate, on the other. More recently, the World Education Forum held in Korea in 2015 emphasises the importance of working on a transformative and universal education agenda, focused on access, equality, inclusion, quality and results from learning within a life-long approach to learning, recognising it as the driving force behind achieving the Sustainable Development Goals proposed for 2030.[4]

Within this framework we can uphold the idea that it is essential to endorse the transformative education proposals that confront these challenges with the paradigmatic perspective of Good Living, which is capable of questioning and addressing the hegemonic neoliberal vision and breaking away from an anthropocentric episteme focused on the value of consumption even at the cost of plundering common goods, prioritising personal success before the needs of the masses. Thus, this paradigm performs a dual purpose: of problematising and breaking away from the hegemonic model, alongside inspiring alternative proposals based on equity, solidarity, integrality, and respect for the diverse forms of being and production of knowledge.

The paradigm of Good Living, focused on caring for life, will not only entail the implementation of alternative economic, social and political proposals, but will also provide an ethical, aesthetic, cultural and identity basis to the propulsion of emancipatory education proposals that free us from the oppressive clutches, in turn releasing our human potential and skills; to critical educational processes that boost creativity and individual thinking and are based more on the learning to be obtained that on the teaching to pass on; to processes that encourage dialogue as a way of constructing and reconstructing knowledge; to processes that stimulate awareness to perceive dimensions that go beyond our rationality; as well as processes of socialisation, meeting, awareness, discovery, identification and recogition of identities. Multiple, diverse, planned or never-before-seen processes; formal, non-formal, informal. Educational processes that are essentially linked to life, its dilemmas and challenges.

This is why we wanted this edition of the journal to focus on exploring different dimensions and perspectives linked to the relationship between Good Living and Education. And we have had the privilege of encountering countless voices and outlooks that will undoubtedly help stimulate our thoughts and daily endeavours.

We wanted to specially dedicate this edition to a beloved Peruvian popular educator and philosopher, ALFONSO IBÁÑEZ IZQUIERDO, who in his thought and deed knew how to identify and passionately convey the key dimensions of issues that emerge between philosophy and education. He sadly passed away on 6 April this year, leaving behind a vast intellectual oeuvre that will prove essential for further research and advocacy among those seeking to build a critical and utopian framework of thinking anchored in our realities. This edition, which will reach numerous countries and has significant contributions from different corners of the world, is in honour of Alfonso because his utopian dream impelled him to examine, as he usually did, the different dimensions of Good Living or Living Well as an existential outlook towards which and from which to build another possible world, thus indulging us through his papers and contributions that he presented at events and in dialogues with a fascinating and empowering challenge to encourage us to carry out our educational work with ever more coherence and meaning.

We have included an insightful overview of his life and work that will no doubt spark interest in discovering more of his writing. Alfonso’s ethical and political-pedagogical ambitions will land on fertile ground to permeate our own actions and reflections, which is precisely what is sought through this edition of the International Journal for Global and Development Research.

Óscar Jara and Editorial Board


[1] Mesa, Manuela (2014):  – Precedentes y Evolución de la Educación Para el Desarrollo: Un Modelo de Cinco Generaciones, in: Revista digital Sinergia, Diálogos educativos para a transformação social, # 1 diciembre 2014. pp. 24-56 http://www.sinergiased.org/, Lisboa, Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira.

[2] Mejía, Marco Raúl (2012): Las búsquedas del pensamiento propio desde el Buen Vivir y la Educación Popular: urgencias de la educación latinoamericana, Rev. Educación y Ciudad n. 23 p. 13, Bogotá, IDEP.

[3] UNESCO (1996): La Educación encierra un Tesoro. Paris.

UNESCO 2015 “Replantear la educación. ¿Hacia un bien común mundial?”: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002326/232697s.pdf

[4] UNESCO, BM, UNFPA, PNUD, ONU Mujeres, ACNUR (2015): Educación 2030, Declaración de Incheon, Corea hacia una educación inclusiva y equitativa de calidad y un aprendizaje a lo largo de la vida para todos.