30.08.2013 - UNESCO Office in Santiago

UNESCO promotes education for peace, democratic coexistence and human rights in a regional seminar in Costa Rica

The Regional Consultation on Education for Peace, Democratic Coexistence, and Human Rights was presented at this event held on August 29 and 30 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Consultation was carried out by the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE, its Spanish acronym) and was sponsored by OREALC/UNESCO Santiago.

The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago) thanked the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) and the Costa Rican organization Citizens’ Agenda for Education (ACE) for the invitation and their initiative in organizing the Regional Educational Seminar for Peace, Democratic Coexistence, and Human Rights held on August 29 and 30 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

At the event, CLADE presented the Regional Consultation on Education for Peace, Democratic Coexistence and Human Rights, held with the sponsorship of the OREALC/UNESCO Santiago. The purpose of the survey was to learn to what extent the principles of Human Rights Education are influencing legislation, politics, and educational practices, as well as teacher training and socialization at schools.

Looking to contribute to the collective construction of knowledge and debate on the issue, along with policies for coexistence, the culture of peace, and the reduction of violence in Latin American and Caribbean schools, the consultation collected the thoughts of a variety of social players interviewed, including students and teachers. The document presents an overview of the challenges and opportunities for human rights education in our educational systems, and it will be available on the Internet, open to new ideas and contributions.

The research highlights the situation of six countries in this field—Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and Paraguay—and was carried out in alliance with CLADE’s partners in those countries: ACE, the Bolivian Campaign for the Right to Education, the Colombian Coalition for the Right to Education, the Guatemalan Collective for Education for Boys and Girls, Civil Incidence in Education - Mexico, and the Forum for the Right to Education in Paraguay.

The meeting also held discussion groups on education in human rights, providing opportunities to exchange ideas and collectively construct recommendations from experiences, specific cases, or reflections. Some of the topics discussed were:

  • Overcoming violence and all forms of discrimination
  • Gender and education: pending challenges
  • Teaching human rights education
  • The crucial role of the educational community in human rights education

The results of the discussion groups’ work will be added to the general recommendations that arose out of the Regional Consultation.

At the seminar, Atilio Pizarro, Head of Planning, Management, Monitoring, and Assessment at OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, underscored important aspects of UNESCO’s work in the issues covered at the event: “UNESCO’s concern for education in a culture of peace, democratic coexistence and human rights is inextricably linked to the purposes underlying its creation as an organization that focuses on encouraging peaceful understanding among countries through cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture, communication, and information. Our Constitution states that, since wars are born in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the bulwarks of peace must be built.”

Atilio Pizarro also stressed that “UNESCO is fully aware of the many implications and demands involved when speaking today of an education for peace, coexistence, and human rights, especially within the scenario of our region, the most unequal on the planet, where peace itself is threatened not so much by war as by inequality and corruption.” Pizarro concluded by noting that “UNESCO promotes education as a basic human right, one that is essential to being able to exercise one’s other rights. Our job is to persuade and inspire societies to evolve in that direction.”

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