27.01.2012 - Education Sector

Youth and experts interact at launch of UNESCO-USA-Brazil project “Teaching respect for All”

© UNESCO/Danica Bijeljac

Living with diversity, how to tackle racism and the importance of youth involvement were topics young people in the USA and Brazil raised with UNESCO’s Director-General and experts on January 18 at UNESCO Headquarters via a live videoconference.

The occasion: the launch of the UNESCO-USA-Brazil project “Teaching respect for All”. Delegates of UNESCO Member States, representatives of NGOs, teachers and students were also present.

Opening the ceremony, Ms. Irina Bokova, said education was vital to deepen understanding and to protect the dignity of all, “regardless of colour, gender, descent or national, ethnic or religious identity”. This was essential for promoting a new humanism for the 21st century, she said. Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, Department of State, USA, emphasized the importance of educating young people about tolerance and non-discrimination. “All forms of intolerance are an affront to human dignity, she said. “We must respond as members of a global community and as members of our local communities.” Mario Lisbôa Theodoro, Executive Secretary, Secretariat on Policies of Promotion of Racial Equality Brazil, said sharing experience with other countries was important. “We want to learn,” he said. “We want to hear about new experiences when it comes to fighting racism and education.” <a name="_GoBack"></a>

A videoconference followed with students in Bagunçaço Youth Centre, Salvador, Brazil and Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach, USA. interacting with Director-General and speakers. Chris Plutte, Executive Director of the Global Nomads Group, moderated.

Building respect in and through education was the focus of the second part of the event. Moderated by Maria Aparecida da Silva Bento of the Research Centre on Laboor Relations and Inequality in Brazil, panellists from different areas of expertise presented multiple approaches to address racism and discrimination and foster respect. The panellists were Anwar Kemal, Chairperson, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Sgt. Susan Westenberger, Youth Education Team, Calgary Police Service, Dr. Peter Kirchschlaeger, Co-Director, Centre of Human Rights Education (ZMRB), Dennis Sinyolo, Senior Coordinator, Education International, and Mutlu Ergün, author, researcher and performer, “Edutainmnet Attacke!”. During the discussion, the important role of municipality and community-level actors in education was stressed. Sgt. Susan Westenberger shared her experiences as a member of the Police Service who has been working closely with schools to counter hatred and discrimination.

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