25.01.2019 - Geneva Office

Celebration of 24 January International Day of Education at United Nations in Geneva

© UNESCO/Zhaocan Li

Geneva, 24 January 2019. On the occasion of the first-ever International Day of Education, the UNESCO Geneva Liaison Office, together with co-sponsoring Member States and partner International Organizations, organized a Panel Discussion on the theme of “Education for Peace and Development” to mark the inception of this day at the Palais des Nations.

The event presented a timely opportunity to discuss key stakes and major developments at the global education landscape, with a particular focus on education as a fundamental human right, the role of education for peace and development, and education in emergencies.

Welcoming the participants in a packed room, Mr. Abdulaziz Almuzaini, Director of the UNESCO Geneva Liaison Office, recalled that “education was not only a human right, but a key driver for peace and sustainable development.” He stressed on the need for a strong and sustained political and financial commitment, stating that the observance of the International Day should serve as a powerful call for collective action in support of education at the global level.

The Panel consisted of high-level officials representing a wide cross section of different actors from governments, UN organizations, and the civil society. Ambassadors of Norway, Pakistan, Morocco and European Union, as well as Senior Directors from ILO, UNICEF and Arigatou International brought to the discussion many important issues pertaining to SDG4, with the perspectives of their countries and organizations.

A broad range of topics, including financing of education, human rights education, education and economic growth, education of children in conflicts and emergencies, the elimination of gender gap in education, safety in schools, improved infrastructures for people with disabilities and minority groups, etc. were at the center of the Panel’s deliberations and its interaction with the audience.

The speakers often referred to UNESCO’s leadership role in global education. Underscoring in particular the importance of global citizenship education, they affirmed, through specific examples and country cases, that education was as an optimal way to build bridges among different peoples and to promote common humanistic values of respect, tolerance, democracy and freedom of expression.

“I believe that today’s gathering was another testimony to our commitment to education as a most powerful force in our hands to ensure significant improvements in peace, human rights, decent work, development and international cooperation, ” said Mr. Almuzaini during the meeting.

The International Day of Education was proclaimed at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018 through its Resolution 73/25, which invited UNESCO, as the specialized United Nations agency for education, to facilitate the observance of 24 January of every year, in collaboration with Member States, the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations and civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector. For more information, please visit: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/educationday.

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