The Inter Press Service (IPS) Forum on Global Citizenship was held at at the Sri Lankan Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York on November 18th. The forum was held in cooperation with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and Soka Gakkai International, with experts, diplomats, journalists and educators in the field of peace education and global citizenship participating in the forum.
The forum was chaired by Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former representative for Bangladesh and a key figure in the 1999 General Assembly resolution that adopted the U.N. Declaration and the Programme of Action (PoA) on the Culture of Peace. He mentioned certain important concepts related to global citizenship education, including spirituality in terms of our values and commitments as human beings. Belief in the “oneness of humanity” was also raised as he urged for transcending boundaries both in individuals and the community.
The spokesperson for the High Representative of UNAOC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Nihal Saad noted that education for global citizenship can shape a sustainable future and better world. He maintained that educational policies should promote “peace, mutual respect and environmental care,” stressing the importance of values in education and not just producing literacy.
Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Palitha Kohona, also noted that global citizenship has never had an exact definition, but stressed that the UN, an institution in which to hold up the principle of global citizenship, has been successful in promoting working together on a global scale in addressing common issues.
Panellists in the forum agreed that the promotion of global citizenship is proceeding strong despite challenges from the supposed conflicts between cultures, decreasing resources and cultural cynicism. In addition, suggestions were raised to place more emphasis on academics in the UN, including topics of global education into school curriculums and more importantly, not forgetting to solve issues of inequality in educational opportunities even as the world is looking towards bringing in global citizenship education.
- News article from the IPS and photo source: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/11/citizens-of-the-world-unite/