Building peace in the minds of men and women

Nobel Laureate, former President of Iceland and Youth to debate on how to live together in peaceful societies

A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a former President and youth from all corners of the world will come together in coming weeks at a high-level symposium at UNESCO in Paris to discuss how peaceful societies can be created.

The “Learning to Live Together – from Ideas to Action” Symposium organized by the American Field Service (AFS), International Programs, will be held on 8 November, 2014, under the patronage of UNESCO. The Symposium is part of the 100th anniversary celebration of AFS and will be attended by experts from the fields of education and peace-building – in particular those who have contributed to promoting intercultural dialogue and cooperation.

Confirmed speakers for the event include; Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former president of Costa Rica,  Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and former President of Iceland, Eric Falt, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for External Relations, Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) at the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD), and Chernor Bah, youth representative on the High-Level Steering committee for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative and Chairperson of the Youth Advocacy Group.

In the lead up to the symposium, AFS  launched a preparatory interactive online virtual dialogue to kick start the conversation. Workshop participants and other youth interested in the topic are invited to exchange their views and ideas on local and global challenges and  on specific ways to work together in virtual dialogue and Global Citizenship Education (GCED).

GCED seeks to instill values, knowledge and skills that are based on the respect for human rights, social justice, diversity, gender equality and environmental sustainability. Together these empower learners to be responsible global citizens. GCED gives learners the competencies and opportunity to realise their rights and obligations to promote a better world and future for all. 

The results from the online dialogue will be shared at a special youth-led Youth Symposium taking place on the morning of the 8th   of November and the high-level Symposium will follow in the afternoon.  The role of young people is crucial in Global Citizenship Education as young women and men around the world have proved themselves to be leaders, innovators, thinkers, problem-solvers and catalysts for positive change, here and now as well as in the future. For UNESCO, youth are both partners and stakeholders in today’s global efforts to foster dialogue and mutual understanding. Their meaningful participation in larger processes and a clear recognition of their expertise and initiatives are essential to the success of any endeavor in this area.

For more on UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth (2014-2021),  click here. This vision is also what drives the UNESCO Youth Forum, whose objective is to hear the voices of young women and men on issues related to the organization’s fields of action relevant to youth.

Founded by American Field Service (AFS) volunteer ambulance drivers after World War II, AFS Intercultural Programs is an international non-profit volunteer-driven educational organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help students and adults develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.