Please note: This was published over a year ago. Phone numbers, email addresses and other information may have changed.

Sylvania instructor chosen to lead Portland sustainability project

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PCC sociology instructor Kim Smith traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, in November. There she attended the Annual Global Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) Conference where the greater Portland region was officially designated as a RCE on Education for Sustainable Development through the United Nations University Institute for Advanced Studies of Sustainability. RCEs are created to develop collaborative partnerships between regional educators, leaders, students, and community members in order to increase the collective impact of their sustainability education efforts through the sharing of trainings, resources, and curriculum, as well as helping promote events happening in the local area.

Kim Smith, serving as a U.S. delegate at the UN Headquarters, in Nairobi, Kenya, November, 2013.

Kim Smith, serving as a U.S. delegate at the UN Headquarters, in Nairobi, Kenya, November, 2013.

At the conference, Smith was able to network with other RCE coordinators and members.

“I learned a great deal about best practices, capacity development, and projects from other RCEs around the world,” said Smith, who teaches at the Sylvania Campus. “We discussed important issues like climate change, preserving traditional knowledge and biodiversity, and sustainable development goals set by the UN.”

Smith is the coordinator of the new RCE Greater Portland, which will encompass Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah Counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington. There are 127 RCEs around the world, with only three in the U.S. (including Portland).

Now that greater Portland is officially a RCE site, Smith said the next steps are to create an awareness campaign, host a kick-off/launch event and identify and prioritize projects that help implement their five-year plan. She also emphasizes the significance of Portland being identified as an RCE because, “…it puts us in a powerful leadership position as UNESCO launches its new Global Action Program.”

RCE Greater Portland has identified four major goals for the center:

  • Build a vibrant and diverse regional cross-sector network of individuals and organizations advancing sustainability education together.
  • Advance the development of lifelong sustainability learning opportunities in formal, non-formal, and informal contexts.
  • Increase public awareness about regional sustainability issues and the role of ESD in shaping a healthy, just, and thriving future.
  • Support capacity building to develop Citizen Leaders who will steward our region for generations to come.

For more information about the program , contact Kim Smith at, or (971) 722-4097.

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x by Rose High Bear 3 years ago

Thank you so much for writing this wonderful article. Our RCE Steering Committee have deep admiration for Kim Smith, her vision for sustainability, and her commitment to Portland. We are now officially designated as: the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Studies of Sustainability. Please join us in this effort by going to: and take the RCE engagement pledge.


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