Building peace in the minds of men and women

Conflict-sensitive education – why and how?

A high-level symposium entitled Conflict-Sensitive Education – Why and How? will bring together over 150 participants from around the world on 8 April to examine ways to improve children's access to quality education in conflict-affected countries. It will provide an opportunity to launch guidance and implementation tools – tested in countries including Kenya, Liberia, Pakistan, Somalia, and South Sudan – with a view to supporting education stakeholders in introducing conflict-sensitive education into their education systems.

Held at UNESCO Headquarters (2 - 5.30 p.m., Room II), the Symposium will highlight the challenges of providing quality education to children in conflict areas along with guidance for such work. Participants will share their experiences in conflict-affected countries and promote practical tools and approaches to address conflict through education policies and programmes. The event reflects the conviction that investing in conflict-sensitive education can save children’s lives and studies have shown that conflict-sensitive education helps to prevent new conflicts and their effects.

Yet the provision of quality education in conflict-affected and fragile contexts often remains an unfulfilled promise. Although education is the highest priority of families and young people at all times, it remains one of the most underfunded sectors during crises

Presently, 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by conflict or fragility, and approximately 61 million children are out of school. Over 40% of these are living in conflict-affected areas, and approximately 20 million of them are girls. Girls account for 30% of the refugees enrolled in secondary school, and are the most vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation in times of conflict. In response to such disturbing figures, the international community is advocating for conflict-sensitive education, through this Symposium as well as other events.

The tools that will be promoted during the Symposium aim to contribute to peace-building and conflict-prevention. They articulate strategies to ensure that conflict-prevention is integrated into education policies and programmes so as to avert the eruption of new conflicts in the future.

The Symposium is organized by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and its Working Group on Education and Fragility with support from Comic Relief, the European Commission, UNICEF and USAID. Ministers of Education from Liberia, Palestine, and Mali will speak about their own experiences of providing education during and after conflict. Other high-level participants from international and national agencies will also contribute to panel discussions during the event.

The event will be followed by a concert by Peter Yarrow, from the 1960s folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary. Peter Yarrow will also talk about his charity Operation Respect, which supports prevention of violence and bullying against children around the world.

The full agenda and more information on the Symposium may be found on INEE’s and IIEP’s websites. This event will be live-streamed through the UNESCO and INEE websites.


Journalists wishing to cover the event require accreditation. Contact:

Maxime Bouquet, Communication Officer, UNESCO-IIEP, +33 (0)145037766,

The International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) supports governments in planning and managing their education systems so that they can achieve their national objectives as well as the internationally agreed development goals. IIEP develops sustainable educational capacity through training, research, technical assistance and knowledge sharing. IIEP has developed materials to support ministries to integrate conflict and disaster risk reduction into policy and planning.

The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) is an open global network of almost 7,500 practitioners and policy makers working together to ensure all persons the right to quality and safe education in emergencies and post-crisis recovery. Its Working Group on Education and Fragility supports these efforts through a harmonized vision, approach and tools on conflict-sensitive education.

Funded by: USAID, UNICEF, European Commission, Comic Relief