8 November 2023
On the celebration of the UNESCO Associated School Networks' 70th anniversary, more than 10.000 students from 68 countries were gathered for a series of three digital Campuses in three languages.
Peace, intercultural dialogue and understanding, sustainable development, and quality education. These are the foundations of the UNESCO Associated School Network (ASPnet), who is commemorating its 70th anniversary.
With many regions of the world facing war and armed conflict, actions on how to build lasting peace remain crucial more than ever. To this end, UNESCO Campus organized a series of campuses, in three different languages, to reach English, French and Spanish-speaking students and teachers. A unique opportunity to celebrate the first day of the 42nd UNESCO General Conference.
The dialogues between the experts, students, and teachers led to a list of actions and activities that not only promote peace but enrich our understating on how to be multi-level active global citizens.
Starting from an international point of view, cooperation of different actors, such as international organizations and civil society groups, is essential. Firmin Edouard Matoko, Special Advisor Africa for the Director-General at UNESCO emphasised on cultivating a culture of peace. Historically, peace was defined as the absence of armed conflict and hostilities. However, peace is composed of values, attitudes, and behaviours, which we can all learn from a young age. Peace is a continuous action, in which everyone can contribute to.
"Peace is not only the absence of war. All situations of personal or collective conflict, social or economic insecurity and environmental instability contribute to the absence of peace. Each generation has a mission to accomplish: to guarantee peace for the generations to follow."
- Firmin Edouard Matoko, Special Advisor Africa, Director-General, UNESCO -
Important goals can also be achieved at the national and community level. Actions for peace are essential in conflict and post-conflict zones. In this kind of situation an operation of mediation is vital to settle the situation.
To inspire students and to enlighten them about the sheer of mediation, Saurea Didry Stancioff, West Africa Program Manager at Promediation, shared her experience. Mediation is a key tool to establish trust and dialogue between the contending parties of a conflict. The mediation process can help build the first blocks to establish lasting peace, through creating a bridge of dialogue to find innovative solutions.
Talking about the local point of action, Panji Haryo Purnomo, Teacher of Pradita Dirgantara High School, School leader of Fostering Global Citizens through the Memory of the World, provided students and teachers with an example of a successful local peace initiative. His commitment to education and his unwavering dedication to nurturing the youth through knowledge and culture have fostered a sense of peace among his community in Boyolali, Indonesia. Through conflict resolution, the empowerment of youth and the preservation of a shared cultural heritage is fundamental.
"Peacebuilding is not abstract; it's made of actions and conversations. Let's be ambassadors of peace, champions of dialogue, and preservers of heritage. Together, we can turn the dream of peace into a tangible reality."
- Panji Haryo Purnomo, Teacher of Pradita Dirgantara High School, School leader of "Fostering Global Citizens through the Memory of the World" -
The multiple questions by students and teachers led to a lively discussion on how each one of us can act for peace. Within our day-to-day lives, the experts left the participants with the inspiration on how each one of us can act for peace. For Firmin Edouard Matoko, it is to embrace diversity and seeing it as a strength. For Saurea Didry Stancioff, each of us can start by active listening. Lastly, for Panji Haryo Purnomo, it starts with respect for everyone and everybody.
Fostering peace exists and can be done at multiple levels. All it takes is the courage to start.
This event has made possible thanks to TECH4ALL and with the support of France.