Every year, the 21st of September marks the International Day of Peace. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a universally shared date in which all citizens of the world re-commit to Peace above all and to set aside differences to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. In recognition of the goals of Peace Day a webinar was organized by the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM), the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya (MoEST). The theme of this year’s Day of Peace was “Shaping Peace Together”.
The webinar commenced with words from the Secretary-General of KNATCOM, Dr. Evangeline Njoka; the Director of UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, Ms. Anne-Therese Ndong-Jatta, and the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Belio R. Kipsang.
Contributing to this webinar was the Executive Director of Arigatou International Geneva, Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe. The focus of her address dealt with the essential need for values-based education as a means of fostering inclusivity. Additionally, Ms. Uribe highlighted the importance of responding to the needs of children during the current COVID-19 pandemic. During the Webinar she noted that: “Values-based education is an approach to education that empowers, connects, and helps creating spaces for children to make their voices heard, building children’s capacity to work collaboratively with others across religious, ethnic and socio-economic divides.” The current COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions put in place have taken a significant toll on children around the world. This has, in turn, brought to light many issues surrounding the way many nations conceive of education as a whole and has raised questions about the direction that education should take moving forward.
Ms. Uribe noted that “Education has to become more responsive to the needs of children and youth, to prioritize children’s social and emotional well-being, and change its focus on examinations to foster the education of the heart and relational well-being, particularly with the increasing violence against children at home, and the lack of spaces for children to participate and express their views”.
We would like to thank UNESCO-KNATCOM, the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and the MoEST for organizing this event and extending an invitation to Arigatou International to be part of this constructive dialogue. We would also like to recognize all the participants and speakers of the event for their commitment to peace and securing a better future. It is our hope that we will be able to continue our collaboration moving forward.