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Peace Building Through Education: A Central Concern
Posted on May 01, 2019 |
In the early part of the twenty-first century, new aspirations have emerged for sustainable peace, dignity and freedom in different societies and parts of the world, including Lebanon. Many questions have been raised about the fundamental role that education plays in achieving these aspirations, and in confronting the flood of violence, extremism, and cultural and religious intolerance sweeping over our societies, placing entire generations at risk of alienation. There are serious calls for rethinking the role of education, and the ensuing debate about the kind of education we need. What type of citizens do we want to shapeæ What are the skills that we want to reinforceæ What are the best pedagogical approaches to adoptæ
the Author
Director General of Education at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education
Peace Building Through Education: A Central Concern

In light of this reality, education is undergoing major transformations globally. At the Ministry of Education, we are keeping up with these transformations by starting a discussion around a renewed educational vision for equitable and effective human development, through a curriculum development workshop that promotes respect for diversity, by combating discrimination and cultural domination, and by establishing education policies that contribute to improving teaching and learning outcomes. In addition, we are doing this by by implementing programs and activities that promote a sense of responsibility toward others and develop twenty-first-century skills, with peacebuilding, dialogue, critical thinking, conflict resolution and communication skills being at their forefront.

We believe in the importance of education as a key factor for sustainable peace, where all educational institutions play a role in instilling the values of coexistence and building a dutiful national identity, rather than simply passing on information and knowledge. Education has never been as important as it is today, as it plays the crucial role of advancing knowledge and behaviors required to foster a sense of citizenship, of reinforcing individual responsibility in achieving peace and fighting against hatred and violence. Education can help voices of moderation, solidarity, reason and respect prevail, as peace requires, more than ever before, dialogue between communities and greater intercultural engagement.

Henceforth, we need a new education for these new times and conditions. We need, more than before, an education that contributes to preparing our children and our youth to live in a diverse society in which others are respected regardless of their differences. Certainly, we are not aiming to cover one subject, but rather work on integrating and teaching this new education through direct and indirect activities, covering all subjects and educational activities inside and outside the school. Books alone are not sufficient to teach and spread human values; it is important to complement their work by providing leadership and practical application. Here, I applaud the role of the highly qualified teachers at the Ministry of Education, and highlight the efforts they have invested in promoting the system of values and noble principles.

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education is expending all its efforts to build a culture of peace and non-violence in its institutions, taking inspiration from our cultural heritage rich in diversity, from our common ancestral human values rooted in our culture, and from the teachings of both the Islamic and Christian religions, and building on the laws and international conventions that Lebanon is committed to implementing.

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