Can peace really begin in classrooms? Online forum at examines the issues for UN International Day Of Education

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How to teach peace around the planet was the topic of the Global Peace Education Forum on UN Education Day, January 24. Talks included UN Sec-Gen Antonio Guterres, Taliban shooting survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, UNESCO top educator Stefania Giannini, French activist/actress and Harvard professor Guila Clara Kessous, and UNESCO ex-chief Federico Mayor Zaragoza

As wars rage throughout the world, educators and diplomats are gathering online to consider spreading peace in the world’s classrooms.

As wars raged throughout the world, educators and diplomats gathered online to consider spreading peace in the world’s classrooms. Teachers, students, artists and activists, diplomats and public officials shared their experiences in a lively Internet exchange. The virtual forum honored the United Nations International Day of Education, first established five years ago in 2018. Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education, chaired the forum. Actress/activist Guila Clara Kessous, UNESCO Artist for Peace and French Knight of Arts and Letters hosted the Zoom webinar. The forum featured messages from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. On 9 October 2012, while returning from school in Pakistan, Malala and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman because of her advocacy for girls education. “How many generations are you willing to sacrifice?” Malala demanded of world leaders.

Diplomat Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Director General of UNESCO was interviewed about his lifetime of public service in education and diplomacy. He will answer questions from the online audience. “When I was young I thought education was about discovering what we are,” he remarked. “Now I’m convinced the more important question is who we are.”

Dr. Tony Jenkins, coordinator of the Global Campaign for Peace Education and lecturer at Georgetown University, mapped the worldwide growth of peace education programs. The Prem Rawat Foundation reported on the impact of its Peace Education Program on high school students in Elbert, Colorado after librarian Shelly Gould introduced them to the interactive workshop. Artist Pear Wongtitirote, sustainability coordinator atStockholm’s Royal Thai Embassy, sketched a graphic summary of the entire forum.

The forum included performances by musicians from Playing for Change and global music group Rising Appalachia

The online forum is a joint project of the members of the Global Peace Education Network, Inc., which includes more than 70 organizations who agree that peace is a skill that can be taught and learned. The free Zoom webinar begins Tuesday, January 24 at 11 am New York, 4 pm London, 5 pm Paris/Madrid, 9:30 pm Mumbai Registration is required and available at no cost at

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