26 September 2022, New York USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) office in New York and the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence successfully launched the Peace, Education, and Dialogue event on Monday, 26th September 2022. The event aimed at enhancing the understanding of Peace, Education, and Dialogue by focusing on the role of youth for a better future and the Importance of bridging cultures from across the world to coexist peacefully. The event gathered around 100 students from well-renowned institutions such as New York University and Columbia University.
The Peace, Education, and Dialogue event began at 3:00 pm (EST), with Mr. Marco A. Suazo who delivered his welcoming remarks to guest speakers and the audience and introduced an explanatory video about the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence’s work. Mr. Marco A. Suazo then gave the floor to Mr. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR and H.E. Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of King Hamad Centre for Peaceful Coexistence delivered their welcoming remarks at the beginning of the event.
The floor was then given to Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. She discussed the means by which societies can incorporate valuable qualities such as coexistence and acceptance for a peaceful future. One way would be advocating for youth inclusive peace processes. Indeed, she emphasized the importance of getting children and young people engaged in civic and political movements as well as peace discussions, to prevent violence-related activities and ensure long-lasting peace within societies.
Mr. Seth then welcomed the Holy See Secretary of State His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Cardinal Pietro Parolin highlighted the role of education in building peaceful societies. He also underlined the importance of adopting an attitude of acceptance and understanding of differences to ensure peace. Finally, he explained that the human race should act as a cohesive group instead of a competitive one, as a way to cooperate to build sustainable peace around the world.
The floor was then passed to H.E. Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. He mentioned the various setbacks the world is facing, namely inequalities and a lack of opportunities which reinforce the progressive failure of the education system across the world. He emphasized the importance of improving education to create more inclusive and peaceful societies.
Ms. Maryam Shah, Certified Trainer for King Hamad Faith in Leadership Fellows Programme at the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence, gave a brief overview of the three main educational youth programmes offered by the King Hamad Centre for Peaceful Coexistence. She explained that those programmes promote the celebration of differences among people and bridge building between education and peace, which are essential to community-building and coexistence.
Mr. Seth gave the floor to Professor Alessandro Saggioro, Professor at La Sapienza University, and the King Hamad Chair for Interfaith Dialogue. Professor Saggioro underlined the importance of having a deep, relevant peace dialogue through active actions including activities and interactions between various educational institutions to promote peace instead of a superficial dialogue based on passive action. He also explained how education is crucial to promoting peace for a better future and humankind.
The last guest speaker of the day was Mr. Issah Toha Shamsoo, Founder and Executive Director of African Students For Interfaith Tolerance (ASFIT), a youth-led peacebuilding organization in Ghana. He mentioned the importance of dialogue, specifically inter-faith dialogue, which is a tool for understanding one another and promoting peacebuilding. He also encouraged investment in education which is crucial to solving various complex issues. Through education, young people's capacities to participate in peacebuilding effectively would be strengthened.
The event ended with Mr. Seth and H.E. Dr. Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa signing together the Memorandum of Understanding between UNITAR and King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence. This Memorandum of Understanding aims at providing a cooperative framework within which the Parties can develop and implement educational programmes and related activities. Both UNITAR and the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence intend to utilize and leverage their existing resources and facilities for mutual benefit, and for the benefit of the activities’ beneficiaries.