Director-General Irina Bokova put education at the center of efforts to prevent violent extremism during a high level event at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on Wednesday.
Speaking in a moderated session with National Public Radio correspondent Deborah Amos on the theme “Breaking the Cycle of Violent Extremism: Education, Peace and Security,” the Director-General underlined the vital role of UNESCO, across its mandate, to mobilize all forces of quality education, intercultural dialogue and scientific cooperation.
“Education is the way to disarm processes that can lead to violent extremism, by undermining prejudice, fighting ignorance and indifference,” she said.
Ms. Bokova also welcomed the presence of the Board of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at The Wilson Center.
Following the event, she visited the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy where she met with more than 40 high school students participating in the Center’s 50 by 50 program, which has the goal of seeing 50 percent of senior public sector jobs held by women by 2050.
The Director-General stressed the imperative of empowering girls and women, underlining this as a UNESCO Global Priority.
"Don’t be afraid to fail,’ she said. “We all fail at some point and we just need to pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and try again.”
Ms. Bokova called for increased cooperation between The Wilson Center and UNESCO on joint programmes to promote gender equality, which she said is essential to sustainable development and sustainable economies.