Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Weeding out violent extremism Message from UNESCO Chair Education Commission Attacks in Paris

(l-r)Chair, UNESCO Education Commission, Dr Kris Rampersad  consults with
Commission Secretary Head of Education Section at UNESCO Borhene Chakroun
at UNESCO 38th General Conference, Paris, France
Education towards building a culture of peace in our societies

Immediate implementation of the UNESCO Education Agenda to 2030 which includes measures to weed out violent extremism both inside and out formal school arenas becomes more imperative than ever.
The time is now for public officials, politicians, academics, media, the private sector and civil society to come together in solidarity and consolidate to impact the environment of extremism which devastated Paris.
My sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to the French people and indeed all in our global communities who have been rocked by the violence in Paris and in which I was myself caught over the past few days.
The effects of violent extremism we have all witnessed in Paris these past few days show none of us are immune and signals more than ever the relevance and significance of the work of our Commissions and our efforts through UNESCO and otherwise of reaching into its root causes to grow a culture of peace both inside and outside of schools.
More than ever we see the need for public officials, politicians, academics, the media, the private sector and civil society to consolidate and band together against hate, discrimination, prejudice at local, national levels that feed and lead to violent extremism. The time has passed for rhetoric and postering and for more specific action and leadership by example, for role models to youths in schools and communities.
We know the powerful educational influences of the informal arenas of culture, information and social spaces as communities, places of worship, homes and families.
In addition to focussing on reform and revisioning the education programmes, budgets, systems and structures, is the need to engage the equally powerful formal and informal systems of the families, homes, communities and social relations at national and global levels. The Education Commission commands the largest share of UNESCO’s programme budgets and premiere programme focus among UNESCO’s aligned functions in Culture, Human and Social Sciences, Science, and Information and Communication.
It is not business as usual.SDG4 as a central mandate of UNESCO as the lead UN agency for Education, to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”
We must nurture generations who can rise above prejudice and discrimination whether it is at political, social or economic levels that are responsible for so much of the social strife that occupies UNESCO’s attention today.
The new Education agenda mandates us to recognise that most of learning occurs not inside a classroom wall, but outside: not within school hours but outside on the streets, in communities, in religious institutions, in families, among gangs and peers as my friends from the UNESCO Youth Forum can testify.
The purpose of our education agenda is not just to form or inform, but also to remake, reform and transform; to break down the barriers of prejudice, discrimination, and conflict to respect the natural human rights as citizens and as global beings

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