Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Director-General visiting schools in Jordan supporting Syrian refugees

Amman, 18 March 2014 - UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova is in Jordan to visit UNESCO education and communication projects supporting Syrian refugees and impacted Jordanian host communities, during a one-day visit on 18 March.

The Director-General arrived to Amman from Dubai, where she attended the Global Education and Skills Forum 2014 (15-17 March), aimed at mobilizing the private sector and civil support for girls’ education.

In Jordan, Ms Bokova is visiting a public girls’ school in Ramtha (close to the Syrian border) to acquire a deeper understanding of the challenges that the education system in Jordan is facing, four years into the Syria crisis. The Director-General is invited to review progress on a project to help teachers manage classes which have absorbed large numbers of Syrian students.

Later in the day, the Director-General is meeting with youth reporters at the Farah Al Nas community radio station, and launching the first episode of a programme, aimed at providing information and services, including psychosocial support and counselling, to Syrian refugees and vulnerable groups in the Amman and Zarqa areas.

Ms Bokova is also meeting with HM Queen Rania Al-Abdallah during the day, as well as HE Dr Ibrahim Seif, Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, the Amman based UN Regional Directors and the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development.

Prior to her departure, the Director-General is holding a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel, from 7 pm to 7.30 pm.

Jordan has shared significantly in bearing the consequences of the Syria crisis and in shouldering its burden on behalf of the international community, by maintaining an open border. This resulted in an exponential increase in the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan.

The presence of a large refugee population has placed considerable pressure on the local education system, with teachers and students having to cope with larger classes and children frequently suffering from post-conflict trauma. UNESCO works closely with the Government and the European Union to support the Jordanian education system and to ensure that Syrian children can continue their schooling. A new initiative, “YES”: Youth Education for Stability” will strengthen this support, by focusing on the provision of quality secondary education, higher education, informal and non-formal education opportunities to affected Syrian and host country youth across the region. “Yes” aims to contribute to conflict prevention and stability, with each participating country developing contextualized activities to reflect national priorities.