Historical background, concepts and
potentials of transformative learning

This handbook is fuelled by the utopian vision of an equal partnership between all countries and people of the world. It is based on the conviction that only together we can build a more equitable future. However, the frequent emphasis, in the context of South-North cooperation, on partnerships “on an equal footing“ clearly shows that there is no such thing as an equal footing to begin with. After all, the relations between Europe and the Global South over the past 500 years have been anything but cooperative. Global education projects and partnerships cannot brush this history aside but must instead deal with it. Dealing with this shared past is therefore a prerequisite for jointly shaping the future. For this reason, this chapter will start by examining this past and its implications for the present. It will then take a closer look at the potential of global education projects and partnerships to bring about a more socially and ecologically sustainable world.