16.01.2014 -

UNESCO advocates for increased investment in quality education for Syrian youth

At the 2nd International Pledging Conference for Syria, held in Kuwait City today, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova advocated for increased investment in education, particularly for the benefit of youth affected by the Syria crisis.

“Unoccupied young people are not only an education issue,” Ms Bokova said. “As unprecedented levels of sectarian extremism and violence unfold across the region, failure to provide quality education contributes to idleness, anger and frustration, as well as manipulation and exploitation of young people. It creates fertile ground for attraction to radicalism and violence.”

Through a new initiative focusing on youth education and engagement for stability, UNESCO will seek to expand educational opportunities for young people affected by the Syria crisis with a view to their social and professional integration. The initiative will, in particular, support access to quality secondary education, technical and vocational education, as well as higher education.

“UNESCO is proud to announce its initial partnership with Kuwait on this initiative, and deeply grateful to his Highness the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his specific commitment to education in the context of the Syria crisis,” said the Director-General.

“Across the region, parents, teachers and governments are making tremendous efforts to help these young people by ensuring the continuity of education, to build resilience and foster peace in extreme circumstances,” she added. “UNESCO is determined to put the full force of its mandate behind this goal, for the Syrian people and for the whole region.”

The initiative builds on and reinforces several UNESCO programmes already in place. Over the past three years, the Organization and its partners, including the European Union, have provided support through a variety of programmes to youth affected by the Syria crisis in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, as well as inside Syria.

Some $2.4bn was pledged by participants at today’s conference, which was chaired by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and hosted by the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah.

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