The UN General Assembly gathers today and just down the street various leaders across the globe came together for a conference called Peace Building through Education. It focuses on educating the youth. From the Philippines to Tanzania to New Jersey, education ministers shared success stories of individuals and schools that broke through differences.
Hon. Shukuru Jumanne Kawambwa, Tanzania Minister of Education, said:
"Children need to grow in an environment where they appreciate the value of peace. Because with peace they can freely make progress and move forward."
Hon. Armin Altamirano Luistro, Philippines Minister of Education, said:
"I think young people are able to participate and become initiators of the world they want to see even now."
New Jersey schools require the teaching of the Holocaust and African American Studies. Hon Rochelle Hendricks, NJ Secretary of Higher Education, said:
"Both of those are, obviously, efforts to assure that students, teachers are challenged to understand complex histories. Not only about what causes racism and violence and all of those things that are the antithesis of peace. But that they can find through academic means a way forward.
One such success story is the Turkish Filipino school located in the Philippines. Ferhat Kazkondu, President Pacific Dialogue Foundation, said:
"Maybe fathers are fighting in the mountains. The students although they come from a diverse background--although religions and tribes are different, they are studying together." It's an private education system where both Christians and Muslims come together as a community. The school recently won an award for practicing peace through education.
And while educators and leaders discuss theories and practices, there are still various concerns that are specific to each culture or country. For example, issues of gun violence and youth in American schools. While the problems are many, this conference hopes to start by addressing the youth.