The Malaysian Example -- Partnering with Asia to Prevent Violent Extremism
On 22 September, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova participated in the public launch of the Asia Society Center for Global Citizenship Education.
The countries of the Asia and Pacific region have been standing out as leaders in advancing education for peace.
Malaysia is a telling example in this respect. UNESCO has a long-standing and deep partnership with Malaysia that benefits the region as a whole, based on shared values and the vision of inclusive societies that gain strength from diversity.
Indeed, under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, the Government of Malaysia has taken a firm stance against violent extremism through inclusion and education, which UNESCO considers the most effective long-term prevention to forces threatening to divide societies.
Malaysia is leading the way in Southeast Asia in fostering inclusive and equitable education as the basis for sustainable green growth. With its comprehensive focus from early childhood and across the learning cycle, Malaysia's National Education Blueprint 2013-2025, elaborated with the support of UNESCO, is an example to countries of all income levels. It encompasses attention to equity and quality, as well as the competences and skills required to live together on the basis of respect and mutual understanding.
Malaysia is proof that respect for diversity is a source of enrichment, a conviction at the heart of UNESCO’s programmes. This is reflected in the choice of Kuala Lumpur to host the new Regional Counter-Messaging Communication Center, and in line with the Prime Minister’s call for a Global Movement of Moderates against Extremism. The country has taken the lead, with Indonesia, to encourage a nation-wide discussion on the teaching of religion to promote tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.
This spirit of dialogue and openness echoes all UNESCO’s actions to promote peace and improve human dignity through the 'soft power' of education, culture and the sciences.
In this context, Permata, established upon the initiative of Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, the First Lady of Malaysia, stands as an outstanding example of inclusion, reaching the most marginalized, through holistic approaches that start at the earliest age, promote values of peace, non-violence and respect for cultural diversity, and improve lifetime opportunities for children and youth.
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