Championing Ethics Education and Nurturing Children’s Spiritual Development

This year, Arigatou International–Geneva shared its expertise at 20 international conferences and co-organized three advocacy events. Our participation focused on promoting the critical role of ethics education for children in building peaceful and inclusive societies. We also highlighted the significance of intercultural and interreligious learning as an essential aspect of improving the quality of education. 

Furthermore, we raised awareness about the importance of the spiritual development of children, recognizing its critical role in fostering their well-being and protection from violence, as part of our work with the Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence, that Arigatou International convenes. 

Through these efforts, we reached more than 1,300 stakeholders, including representatives of United Nations agencies, Permanent Missions in Geneva, governments, ministries of education, civil society and faith-based organizations, academia, educators, and children and youth. 

Ethics Education to Contribute to Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

As part of the Transforming Education Pre-Summit held in Paris from June 28 to 30, Arigatou International – Geneva organized a side event focused on ethics education for children and its role in fostering peaceful and inclusive societies. 

This collaborative event was co-organized with the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building, the Ministry of Education of Kenya, the Ministry of Education of Indonesia, and the UNESCO National Commission for Kenya. Speakers from these institutions, along with a former member of the GNRC Children’s Committee, shared their valuable work and experiences in implementing ethics education programs in their countries. The discussions focused on identifying gaps, challenges, and opportunities within this field.  

The side event served as a platform for knowledge-sharing and reflection about the need to integrate ethics education into curricula, programs and policies. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, the event facilitated meaningful discussions recognizing the transformative potential of ethics education in shaping a better world.

“The subjects like maths, science, and literature in school will lead children to become professionals in the respective areas. But ethics education will make them responsible humans to think about their roles in shaping a better world”

Mr. Aakash Ramankutty

Ethics Education Youth Leader, Shanti Ashram, India

Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of UNESCO-IICBA

Mr. Aakash Ramankutty, Ethics Education Youth Leader, Shanti Ashram, India

Dr. Itje Chodidjah, Executive Chairperson, Indonesia National Commission for UNESCO

Ms. Mary Kangethe, Director, Education Program, Kenia National Commission for UNESCO

Ms. Eleonora Mura, Head of Partnerships and Organizational Development, Arigatou International 

Interfaith Harmony Week

On February 27, the Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence, convened by Arigatou International, organized an inspiring interfaith dialogue. The event brought together diverse religious and spiritual leaders, as well as faith actors, to address the challenges hindering children’s spiritual development and explore practical solutions within religious and spiritual communities. 

During the dialogue, participants engaged in thought-provoking discussions on the disparities between religious scriptures and the types of violence children experience. They delved into the pivotal role of children’s spiritual development as a protective factor against violence, emphasizing its positive impact on their overall well-being. 

This interfaith dialogue served as a powerful platform for these diverse voices to come together, exchange perspectives, and explore actionable ways to foster children’s spiritual development while preventing violence. 

Prof. Anantanand Rambachan, Emeritus Professor of Religion, St. Olaf College, Minnesota, USA

Sister Grace Marie Horan, FSE., Representative of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue

Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome, Centre for Sustainable Conflict Resolution and Legal Advisor to the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims

Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, President, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Sri Lanka

Dr. Siobhan Fitzpatrick, CBE, Chairperson, International Network on Peace Building for Young Children and Regional Vice Chairperson, Early Childhood Peace Consortium

Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Executive Director, Arigatou International – Geneva. 

Countering Racism and Discrimination: The Nexus to Building Pluralistic and Diverse Societies

Arigatou International – Geneva conducted a workshop on 9 March 2023 to present its work to the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations fellows. The fellows were in Geneva as part of a training to learn about organizations working to promote intercultural and interreligious learning and peacebuilding.

During the workshop, they got acquainted with the Ethics Education Approach and how it can serve as a tool for challenging prejudices and deconstructing stereotypes.

“Mutual understanding and respect are the foundations of a peaceful world. Our framework provides the necessary tools and knowledge to achieve this goal. That is why I advocate Ethics Education for all.”

Ms. Vedika Schukla

Advocacy and External Relations Officer, Arigatou International – Geneva

Check out all the events we contributed to this year:

The Role of Peace Education in the COVID-19 Recovery – Perspectives From Young People Working at the Grassroots 


19 April 2022

Organized by United Religions Initiative, as a side event to the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2022 

The Convergence of Science and Theology: Activating the Church to Invest in Young Children Globally 

📍South Bend, USA 

Organized by the University of Notre Dame’s Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child 

25-26 April 2022 

European Council of Religious Leaders – Council Meeting 

📍Birmingham, UK 

Organized by Religions for Peace 

7 to 9 June 2022 

European Council of Religious Leaders Birmingham Declaration

Urban Challenges to Integration Ahead of European Policy Dialogue Forum 



09 June 2022 

Organized by the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), the Network for Dialogue, and the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL) 

Welcoming the Stranger, Shaping the Future – Conference 

📍Geneva, Switzerland 

20-21 June 2022 

Organized by the Lutheran World Federation, Islamic Relief Worldwide and HIAS 

Are We Educating for Peace or War? 


22 June 2022 

Organized by Up2U

Moral Injury Research Retreat 

📍Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Boston 

1-3 August 2022 

Organized by Human Flourishing Program at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social 

Science in collaboration with the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University and the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities. 

High-level Side Event: World Day for Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, Elimination and Healing 

📍New York, USA 

23 September 2022 

Organized by Global Collaborative, the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN in New York, and Arigatou International  

Building New Bridges Together – International Conference 

📍Geneva, Switzerland 

17-19 October 2022 

Organized by 

X National Congress of Catholic Education in Chile – Religious Education in Interreligious Contexts 


25-26 October 2022 

Organized by the Education Department of the Episcopal Conference of Chile, Santillana, the Church of Jesus of the Latter Saints and CONEDI.

PaRD’s Annual Forum on Religion and Sustainable Development 

📍Bali, Indonesia 

31 October – 3 November 2022 

Organized by PaRD – International Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development

4th European Policy Dialogue Forum on Refugees and Migrants  

📍Barcelona, Spain 

9 -10 November 2022 

Hosted by the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID); Network for Dialogue (N4D); Blanquerna Observatory of Communication, Religion and Culture; European Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace Europe; and Institut Superior de Ciències Religioses de Barcelona

G-20 Interfaith Summit 

📍Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 

12-13 December 2022 

Organized by G20 Interfaith Forum 

A New Perspective for a Strategy on Child Dignity in the Digital World 

📍Rome, Italy 

7 February 2023 

Organized by the Italian Embassy to the Holy See and SOS – Il Telefono Azzurro Onlus.

The Family’s Role in Elevating the Next Generation 

📍Geneva, Switzerland 

23 February 2023 

Organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the sponsorship of The Permanent Missions of the Gambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Geneva

G20 Interfaith Forum Webinar 

📍Geneva, Switzerland 

13 March 2023 

Organized by the G20 Interfaith Forum

We co-signed a statement delivered at the Transforming Education Pre-Summit!  

Arigatou International – Geneva joined as a co-signatory of a letter addressed to Ministers of Education ahead of the Transforming Education Pre-summit.  

The letter, drafted by Human Rights Watch and endorsed by multiple organizations, urges Ministries to ensure the provision of at least one year of cost-free pre-primary and secondary education. This recommendation is supported by the evidence that children who attend school experience improved health, enhanced employment opportunities, higher income levels in adulthood, and reduced vulnerability to exploitation and abuse, including child labor and child marriage.

Article on the Child Right to Spiritual Development for the Inter-American Children’s Institute

The Inter-American Children’s Institute invited Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, Executive Director of Arigatou International – Geneva, to write an article for the 13th edition of the IINfancia Newsletter. In her article, “The Rights of the Child to Spiritual Development – A holistic approach to children’s wellbeing,” Ms. Uribe addresses the lack of recognition and understanding of the right of children to spiritual development.

The article (found in page 47) invites readers to explore spirituality as “the connection and relation with the self, with others, with nature, and with that which is referred as God, the Divine, the Transcendent or Ultimate Reality.” Ms. Uribe makes a case for the benefits of spiritual development in children and provides concrete recommendations for policymakers and practitioners to prioritize the spiritual development of children as part of their education.

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