UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, organized a discussion session on education and peace building on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Beirut. Within the framework of UNDP’s Peace Building in Lebanon News Supplement, and in the presence of H.E Education Minister Akram Chehayeb, this session was attended by senior ministry officials, representatives of international organizations, educational and university institutions, and national and international NGOs. It was funded by Germany through the German Development Bank KfW.
During the session, media professionals and education experts discussed many of the topics tackled in the latest supplement published by UNDP, including the ministry’s work on nonviolence, the Child Protection Policy, the protection of children from the dangers of video games, the role of Lebanese universities in peacebuilding, history teaching, and the issue of the disappeared.
“In Lebanon, as we await a safe and dignified return, we accord displaced students utmost care and attention. We do not discriminate between them and Lebanese pupils whether in terms of the curriculum, the school environment or the policy for the protection of children in Lebanon,” said Minister Chehayeb in his speech. “An education free of violence has a great impact on society,” said Stefanie Scharf, Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lebanon. “We, at the German Embassy, through the German KfW Development Bank, are ready to support the Violence-Free Schools Initiative implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education,” Scharf added.
“It has been a privilege working with the Ministry of Education since 2007 on peace education through several tools, including the Violence-Free Schools Initiative that has been implemented so far in Bekaa, Mount Lebanon and Tripoli,” said Celine Moyroud, UNDP Resident Representative, adding: “Ttogether with the ministry, we witnessed a lot of stories in those schools, stories of brave teachers, principals and parents joining efforts to embrace diversity and counter violence inside and outside schools, and succeeding against all odds.”
Following the opening speeches, Director-General of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Mr. Fadi Yarak moderated the first session on education and nonviolence. Yarak stressed the role of the ministry in establishing a path for sustainable human development. Hilda El Khoury, Director of Counseling and Guidance at the Ministry, discussed the activities implemented on nonviolence in schools and their impact. The importance of the Child Protection Policy and coordination among the relevant ministries within its framework were discussed by both Nahla Harb, Coordinator of Pedagogy Counselling at the ministry, and Nisrine Tawily, child protection specialist at UNICEF.
Dr. Nazir Hawi, thought leader on digital addiction issues and a contributor in the latest issue of the news supplement, presented facts and figures related to the risks of video games in Lebanon.
“How can education and university contribute to social change?” Dr. Adnan El Amine, Professor of Education at the Lebanese University, answered this question in the second panel discussion on education and history. El Amine discussed his article published in the supplement titled Social Mix in Universities.
“Knowing the truth is a right enacted by the families of the disappeared. The State’s formal approval of the search for missing persons means searching for them as human beings, as equal citizens without discrimination rather than as subjects of religious groups,” explained Wadad Halawani, Chairperson of the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Missing in Lebanon, in her contribution on education and civil rights.
“Learning history has a significant impact on who we are and who we will become. It is a vehicle to peace building,” said Nayla Khodr Hamadeh, President of the Lebanese Association for History, in her contribution echoing the article she wrote in the UNDP supplement on History Education. “The supplement is giving us the space and opportunity to discuss topics and issues we can’t publish or discuss elsewhere,” Hamadeh concluded.
UNDP published issue № 21 of the Peace Building in Lebanon News Supplement on May 28, 2019, with Annahar, L’Orient-Le Jour and The Daily Star newspapers tackling the topic of education in Lebanon from various aspects. Funded by Germany through the German Development Bank KfW, the supplement brings together writers, journalists, media professionals, researchers and artists residing in Lebanon. You can read it here: www.lb.undp.org/pbsupplement