Publicat: 21 Septembrie, 2017 - 10:08

Președintele României, Klaus Iohannis, a susținut miercuri, 20 septembrie a.c., la New York, Statele Unite ale Americii, o intervenție în cadrul evenimentului la nivel înalt 'Promoting Peace for Education. Making Education for Peace', organizat de țara noastră în marja Adunării Generale a Organizației Națiunilor Unite.

Vă prezentăm în continuare textul intervenției:

'Mr. Prime Minister,

Your Excellency Madam Director General,

Counsellor,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I want to warmly welcome you and thank you for participating at this event.

Let me confess that every opportunity to speak about young people and education is very rewarding for me. For many years, I have been a teacher and I worked as a teacher. I still am a teacher, I am working as the President of my country and when I was a teacher it gave me great pleasure to work for and with my students.

As President of Romania, I try to use that expertise in all my actions, since I believe that, in some way, a politician should not just act as a decision maker, but also as a facilitator of common learning and knowledge building.

Our countries represented here today share the same vision for the future. We all try to steer our countries towards stability, prosperity and sustainable development. Education for peace is the keystone of our common vision for the future of our countries and also for the future of the world. I am glad that more and more leaders have become increasingly engaged in promoting inclusive and quality education for all, which is the essence of education for peace.

How can we address the challenge of lack of access to education for more than 263 million of kids around the world?

What should we do for the almost 22 million children of primary school age and almost 15 million adolescents of lower secondary school age who are out of school, in conflict-affected countries, as underlined by the latest Global Education Monitoring Report? How can we join our efforts in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and give a chance to our kids for a better tomorrow?

This round table should enable us to highlight good practices, lessons learned and the crucial issues relating to the subject at hand: Promoting Peace for Education. Making Education for Peace. I take this opportunity to suggest some topics I consider particularly relevant for our common reflection: conflict prevention and education; access to education; education as a driving force for progress in our societies; education and communication technology.

First, any broad vision of conflict prevention should include education for peace.

In recent years, we have lived a grim reality of increased radical violence and propaganda targeting young people.

Preventing radicalization is most effective when we educate our children to understand and respect diversity, in a climate of human rights and dignity.

It is my strong belief that young people should be actors of peace! They should be supported and encouraged to be curious, to learn from the past, to practice tolerance, to avoid clichés, to understand that diversity is a treasure, to fight for their rights, while being aware and respectful of other people's rights. The involvement of youth in the public arena at an early stage is crucial for the development of our societies.

International awareness on the link between peace and education has grown, especially at UN level. I think there is little doubt that education for peace should be a natural part of the curricula in all our countries.

In the Romanian educational system, civic education was introduced years ago and it worked: new generations are more and more civically involved every year.

Education for peace would be a good complement to the basic education that every young citizen receives during the formative years. Education for peace is, in fact, education for the next generations to have a better life.

Second, the access to education, as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goal 4, is a fundamental human right. It falls on us, leaders all over the world, to make sure that this fundamental right is respected for every child, wherever he or she is born.

Third, education should be a driving force for progress in every society. In Romania, we started to put the youth at the center of public policies and the development process through various initiatives.

Such initiatives as the 'Youth Capital of Romania' or 'Educated Romania', which are developed under my patronage or at my initiative, have the potential to become a catalyst for transformation. We trust that these projects will generate a new model of relationship between local authorities, youth associations and the community.

In my view, a society can only progress if we see learning as a continuous process, supported for people of all ages, but specifically for the young generations. In order for this objective to be achieved, we need to involve the young people in every stage of youth and education policy development.

This is why I initiated a national project, called Educated Romania — România Educată — which aims to develop a long-term national vision and strategy for education and research for the years till 2030. Last year, we had over 40 public events in which we discussed the way forward, all over Romania. More than half of these events were organized by students or youth NGOs. This only proves the interest and ability of young people to contribute to a better society.

The impact of education on economic development is well documented in the context of 'knowledge societies'. Creative industries, products with high added-value, and the service sector are depending on the quality of public education. Clearly, a vibrant economy significantly reduces the risks of conflict. It increases the chance of peaceful, prosperous societies.

Therefore, we should once more commit towards adequately financed education in order to ensure the access of all social categories to quality education programs.

One of the conclusions of the 'Educated Romania' project was that redesigning the way teachers are trained and supported is crucial for their performance and the overall quality of the education systems. We need motivated teachers equipped with tools and competences necessary to answer the ever-changing needs of the students. Since every child is unique, a student-centred learning approach is the key element of an efficient and relevant education process that could support and guarantee peace.

Fourth, we need to understand the importance of using communication technology for the common good. This era of unimagined connectivity and informational abundance provides huge opportunities, including for education. But there are also huge risks and challenges, like fake news, propaganda, disinformation and hate speech.

So, we must give our youth the intellectual tools to judge by themselves, and to discern autonomously right from wrong, and legitimate goals from extremism and violence. That is why fostering critical thinking is an essential component of the education for peace.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am convinced that our dialogue will provide a clearer image of the specific challenges and the best ways to tackle them.

I also hope that our debate will provide consistent input for the relevant UN bodies, with special focus on UNESCO and UN University. During our mandate as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 2020-2021 — if, of course, our bid succeeds — Romania will place education for peace at the heart of its tenure. In this respect, we are ready to initiate new projects in cooperation with like-minded partners. And we will put our expertise and capacity to the service of our common goal of better education for all.

I am looking forward to our debate. Thank you!