Irina Bokova: Education is the cornerstone of a culture of peace
On Thursday, 27 September 2012, in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the Republic of Italy organized a debate on civil society and human rights education for the promotion of religious tolerance. In a context marked by the Internet dissemination of an anti-Islam video and the ensuing escalation of violence, panellists highlighted the need for greater tolerance, reason and moderation in order to resist the rise of extremism.
The Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Italy and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan denounced the “irresponsible provocation” that has stoked up hatred between cultures and religions and called for calm and mutual understanding.
The Director-General of UNESCO welcomed the joint initiative taken by the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League in issuing a communiqué condemning Islamophobic acts, all forms of religious insult and incitement to hatred. She then stressed the crucial role of education in building world citizenship, as on the previous day at the launch of the “Education First” initiative.
The debate began with speeches by Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, and several ministers from Switzerland, Malta, Cyprus and Morocco. Speakers discussed the role of education, the protection of religious minorities and the strategic importance of protecting religious minorities in order to solve many other problems linked to the protection of human rights.