INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCIES + YOUTH = PEACE

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Maison de la Paix - Petal 4 - GCSP Conference Room 2 (5th Floor)

2 Chemin Eugène-Rigot

1202 Genève

Switzerland

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In the current context, our societies have never been so connected, but not necessarily in any substantial way. The dizzying development of the means of communication and economic interdependence does not necessarily lead to a better knowledge of the “other”, nor to respect for others. On the contrary, new forces of division fuelled by ignorance and cultural illiteracy are multiplying, spreading exclusion and hatred, hindering lasting peace.

The Geneva Peace Week is the opportunity to understand what some of the pre-requisites are for a culture of peace, based on UNESCO’s field of expertise. 30 years ago, the concept of a culture of peace was born in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire in a conference organized by UNESCO. The Biennale of Luanda – Pan-African Forum for the culture of peace, which wrapped up on 22 September in Angola, brought together representatives of governments, civil society, and the private sector to address the emerging challenges to peace, with a special emphasis on the role of youth.

The promotion of intercultural competencies is an essential component in this respect, for conflict prevention and reconciliation, to increase the resilience of individuals and communities and to promote a culture of peace. Where does respect for the other begin? How can we empower young people to take responsibility for peace? What is the challenge of intercultural skills for young people? How can we make peace our own when we are 10 years old? What skills can be developed to link cultural diversity, respect for others and their personal contribution to peace? What are the basic skills needed to empower young people for peace?

One of UNESCO's approaches to peace-building among the youngest is the dissemination of knowledge about cultural diversity and the evolving notion of cultures and their interdependence. Within the framework of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), led by UNESCO and the Programme of Action on the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence, UNESCO consists of a laboratory of innovation in terms of content and methodologies. It develops and tests tools for the development of intercultural skills.

The event will present two of the tools recently published by UNESCO:

1) Writing Peace, a textbook dedicated to students aged 8 to 18 years, currently being piloted in 42 countries around the world since April 2019;

2) The Manual Developing Intercultural Competences: Story Circles, recently co-published by UNESCO and Routledge.

A workshop will be proposed to the participants on Writing Peace, as if they were back to school. Writing Peace reveals the secrets of the global cultural ecosystem and the amazing diversity within24 different writing systems. It provokes students to question the interdependence of cultures between them and the sense of belonging and responsibility towards humanity.

The questions raised by students and their teachers during the workshops held in Rabat, Abidjan, Almaty, Bangkok or Cairo in 2018 and 2019 reveal this surprising disconnection of students with regard to their role, and consequently, with regard to their responsibility for peace and the inadequacy of education systems in terms of cultural literacy, respect for others and conflict prevention.

It is urgent that intercultural skills be finally considered as basic educational skills so that future generations can fully participate in global citizenship. The acquisition of scientific and literary skills is certainly no longer enough. It is a question of global awareness of a common belonging to humanity and of responsibility towards humanity and its future. After all, as called for in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001): “Culture takes diverse forms across time and space. This diversity is embodied in the uniqueness and plurality of the identities of the groups and societies making up humankind. As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations” (Article 1).

The event will be illustrated with moving testimonies from learners on their awareness of their own responsibility for peace. This session will be punctuated by video and photo testimonies of the pilot workshops, a practical application of the use of the manual by the participants in the event on site; the screening of the film on the exhibition; and the presentation of the international steering system and its first results.

Speakers:

- Vincent Defourny, Director, UNESCO Liaison Office in Geneva, Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

- Amina Hamshari, Programme Specialist in Intercultural Dialogue, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France

Webography:

- Webpage of Writing Peace: https://en.unesco.org/writing-peace-manual

- Writing Peace Manual: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000259764

- Manual for developing intercultural competencies: story circles: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370336?posInSet=1&queryId=cc6b54a6-5d36-41d3-a695-0b28bee4392e

- International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022): https://en.unesco.org/decade-rapprochement-cultures

- Photo gallery : https://www.flickr.com/photos/165824316@N06/albums



***Please note that your registration information will also be shared with the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (the key facilitator of the Geneva Peace Week) for the purpose of compiling anonymous statistics on event attendance.

Date and Time

Location

Maison de la Paix - Petal 4 - GCSP Conference Room 2 (5th Floor)

2 Chemin Eugène-Rigot

1202 Genève

Switzerland

View Map

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