Building peace in the minds of men and women

Director-General Highlights Vital Role of Youth Education at the “No Lost Generation” Initiative High Level Meeting

On 11 April, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, attended a high level meeting on the “No Lost Generation” Initiative at the World Bank in Washington.

The meeting was chaired by UK Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Justine Greening and brought together high level UN, WB and EU, as well as government representatives, including the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan, H. E. Ibrahim Saif and the Minister of Education and Higher Education of Lebanon H. E. Elias Abu Saab.

The aim was to take stock of progress in the implementation of the initiative and mobilize further support to meet the continuously growing educational needs resulting from the Syria crisis, both inside Syria and in neighboring refugee hosting countries. The meeting was organized by the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom and UKAID.

All participants acknowledged the humanitarian imperative of providing education to prevent a Lost Generation of children and young people affected by the Syria crisis. They also stressed the critical role of education for the longer-term development, stability and security in the sub-region.   

“Three million children and young people have dropped out of school, putting the future of an entire generation in danger,” said the Director-General. "We need to invest in youth, by supporting their access to quality education, because they are the future of the region – marginalized, unoccupied and unemployed young people are easy targets to exploitation and abuse, as well as easy recruits to violence and extremism”. 

She also emphasized the strain put on education systems in hosting countries, struggling to get thousands of children and young people, refugees and from their own communities, back to school.

"We must do more to support the efforts and priorities of the governments of hosting countries, helping them to cope with immediate and longer-term challenges in terms of access to quality education", said Ms. Bokova.       

The “No Lost Generation” Initiative was launched in 2013 when host governments, donors, the United Nations, international agencies and non-governmental organizations came together to develop a strategy to prevent a lost generation of Syrians. The aim was to provide Syrian children, both in Syria and in neighboring countries, with access to an education, a protective environment and other opportunities for their future.