Tag: Education

YouthINK – Day 3

A daily conference bulletin by the youth reporters

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

At official opening of UNESCO Week, experts underscore crucial role of women and youth

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova officially opened the UNESCO Week for Peace and Sustainable Development: The Role of Education in Ottawa, Canada on 8 March together with Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Canada, and Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, Government of Ontario.

“We need new forms of education that promotes understanding between cultures, that strengthens the resilience of societies and provides the relevant skills to navigate the future,” said Ms Bokova, emphasizing the need to promote human rights, dignity, diversity and inclusion. Bringing in the importance of youth, Minister McKenna highlighted that “Young people are already leading; we need to listen to them. They not only care but also have more ambitious ideas that ever before for a more sustainable future.” Focusing on those who are on the frontlines in the classroom, Fred van Leeuwen, Secretary-General of Education International said: “Teachers create bonds within groups and build bridges across groups and communities. It is clear that efforts to improve teaching and learning will not succeed unless we trust, value and support teachers. We see this Conference as a clear token of UNESCO to support the teaching profession worldwide”. ” Since the opening also coincided with International Women’s Day, the leaders reiterated the need to “leave no woman behind” on the path to a sustainable world.

Youth lead from the front in intergenerational dialogue on role of teachers in ESD; discuss impact of technology, training and support of policymakers

At the opening of the UNESCO Week, youth delegates and policymakers joined forces for UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations on Education to discuss the role of teachers in ESD


To say that it was a power-packed gathering for UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations on Wednesday morning would be an understatement. The carefully chosen TAGe delegates who took the stage to discuss the Youth Perspectives on the Role of Teachers in Education for Peace and Sustainable development brought to the discussion not only a wealth of experience but also regional and professional diversity. The youth delegates came from 35 different nations and had been selected by UNESCO MGIEP via a rigorous application process that included participating in four weeks of online discussions.

Engaging in a dialogue with the youth were 15 distinguished experts cutting across academic, professional and regional expertise. Among them were Director General UNESCO Irina Bokova, Minister of Education Ontario, provincial parliament Mitzie Hunter, Special Adviser for Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Dessima Williams, UNESCO chair on GCED Dr Carlos Alberto Torres and other highly-established experts. The session got off to an inspirational start with UNESCO MGIEP’s first ever YESPeace champion and singer Emmanuel Kelly moving the audience with his story.

The dialogue began with moderators Paul Darvasi and Danika Littlechild posing the question regarding what a 21st-century teacher should look like. The responses from the experts and the youth drove home the realisation that teachers of today need to be superheroes to keep up with the changing needs of the students and the increased access to information.The experts brought in the question of support received by the teachers from other stakeholders including policymakers and the governments.

“For creating peace and sustainable development, dialogues such as the TAGe are essential,” said Irina Bokova, DG UNESCO. This point was further highlighted by the H.E. Mr Choong-hee Hahn

Untitled2Ambassador, Permanent Delegation to UNESCO Korea, who reiterated that “Empathy and compassion are needed to create peaceful and sustainable societies.”

When touching upon the impact of technology on the role of the teachers, youth delegate Sandiso Sibisi from South Africa argued that in many regions the internet has not permeated to the extent of that in the Western world. The rich dialogue also touched upon the issues of teacher training, focus on assessment of students and new pedagogies.

The session ended on a high with Emmanuel Kelly once again taking the stage and sang a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine.

Irina Bokova, Director General UNESCO joins the youth to launch World Rescue—MGIEP’s innovative mobile-based game on SDGs

Untitled3The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development today released World Rescue-a mobile-based game inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The game was officially released by Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO and Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP.

The research-based video game, takes the players across Kenya, Norway, Brazil, India, and China where they take on the roles of five young heroes to solve global problems—such as displacement, disease, deforestation, drought, and pollution—at the community level to achieve a more sustainable world.

“Digital games offer a double dividend: First, they offer a platform whereby learners can make mistakes as they learn concepts of peace and sustainable development; and second children actually have fun while learning,” said Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP at the launch.

World Rescue has been designed and developed by Pixel Perfect, a game development company based in Hungary that won UNESCO MGIEP’s first-ever International Gaming Challenge in 2015. The storyline of the game has been curated by Literary Safari. World Rescue is available for download free of cost on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store and has already been downloaded approximately 2000 times.

YESPeace Workshop: Mobilising youth and teachers to transform education for peace and sustainable development

Untitled4After an exciting morning where the youth engaged in a rich dialogue during Talking Across Generations on Education (TAGe) on the role of teachers in ESD, the MGIEP youth delegates came together in full force for theYesPeace workshop.

The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for young people working in the area of formal, non-formal and informal education to share their work in the areas of peace, sustainable development and global citizenship and draw upon the discussions on the role of teachers.

The format of the session was designed to drive an action-oriented and participatory approach involving group work.

The youth were divided in projects and created projects as well as Action Plans to enhance teacher and youth synergies (of people and practitioners).Untitled5

Interview with Emmanuel Kelly
UNESCO MGIEP’s first-ever YESPeace Champion


Q) Do you think that being a YESPeace champion will now put a lot more pressure on you or will it only empower you further to inspire?

It definitely is a great responsibility, but one that I am fortunate to be in a position to be given. I am honoured to be part of this campaign and hope to inspire and aspire to create and help achieve qualities of peace, sustainable development and above all, love. I actually feel more free to be who I am.

Q) What do you think are the common challenges that youth face today regardless of where they are and what they are doing?

The biggest problem I see is that there is a lack of a role models to aspire to be and at the same time lack of inspiration. I think that the only solution for this is that we should all aspire to be ourselves and be inspired by someone who always changes you for the better. In my case, i am lucky to have my mum and brother who have inspired me each step of the way in my journey to where I am today. They have had a tremendous impact on my life and I am so grateful to have had that.

Q) Do you think education has an important role to play in changing the mindsets?

I think that not only education, but the kind of education is important. Education systems are not teaching the students to be socially conscious.

The teachers need to realise that the skills that are needed today are not the skills that were needed ten years ago. They need to listen to the students.

Q) How would you explain the phenomenon of many educated youth from across the globe getting radicalised?

I strongly feel that entertainment industry is responsible to a large extent for creating unrealistic images in the minds of the young people of today. It also sends out wrong messages through what it thinks is entertaining; such as violence is alright. However, a larger problem is that children don’t have any immediate role models to turn to within their families. They turn to teachers for guidance and when they don’t get that kind of support from there too, the children are really lost and easily attracted to extremist ideologies.

Q) Do you think music can play an important role in closing the gaps that you just identified?

There is no doubt about this; music plays an important role in unifying people from across regions and cutting across ideologies. An example of this can be seen in Israel, where the biggest band is from Palestine and in Palestine where the biggest band is from Israel. Music has always been able to offer a beacon of hope and it does it in a way that is subtle. The lure of music is always fun and attractive but at the same time it has immense healing powers too.

Twitter highlights of the day

Impact on twitter: #tage and #UNESCOweekEd

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Sessions for Day 4 (9 March,  2017)

Innovative pedagogies for ESD and GCED: Is game-based learning the future?


Community mapping to develop GCED skills


One world one compassion


Youth reporter
Radhika Bhatnagar


UNESCO MGIEP’s call for Education for Humanity finds resonance with Leaders and Laureates

As the only United Nations agency in India convening a roundtable at the prestigious summit, MGIEP put the spotlight on building compassion through curricula and institutionalising youth participation in decision making.

December 2016, New Delhi— Last week, UNESCO MGIEP pushed forth the dialogue on Education for Humanity via its roundtable at the prestigious Leaders and Laureates Summit for Children held at the President’s Estate. The first edition of the summit, spearheaded by Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2014) brought together the collective leadership of Nobel laureates and leaders, youth and over 150 eminent personalities from various walks of life – academia, business, civil society, sports, arts and culture, for designing a child-friendly future.

Speaking at the occasion, HH the Dalai Lama urged all those present to do their bit to ensure that the 21st century is the “century for peace”. Underscoring that education has a role to create compassion he said, “Training through holistic education can lead to heightened awareness which creates peace.” Asserting that it is imperative that education systems  focus on developing compassion and not only intellect, he reiterated, “The basis of inner peace is warm-heartedness and this must be cultivated through education.”

His comments were mirrored by those made by Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands who, in her moving address to the “missing children” at the summit pointed out what continually evades the discourse on achieving a sustainable future— the inclusion and participation of the youth in decision making. Illustrating her point, she drew the attention of the audience to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and underscored that without active youth involvement, the goals would remain hard to achieve.

The MGIEP roundtable on Education for Humanity took forward the dialogue from where the opening session concluded. The roundtable was presided by the 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman, who won the highly-coveted prize for her relentless struggle for human rights and women’s participation in peace-building in Yemen and for organizing non-violent protests that became part of the 2011 Arab Spring movements.

Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, director UNESCO MGIEP drew attention to the results of a study undertaken by MGIEP across India to support the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s revision of the National Education Policy (NEP) in 2015, where majority of the youth felt they were always at the periphery of critical decision making processes.

When asked about “how we can create spaces for the youth to be engaged and have an equal voice,” educator Lata Rajnikanth reiterated that students must be made to feel they are equal stakeholders from the primary education level itself so as to inculcate a sense of joint ownership in the future.

Freeman, a youth activist from Ghana who was rescued from child slavery, offered an alternative by narrating his success with integrating decision-makers with young students by asking the policymakers to engage in a youth dialogue and not vice-versa.

Talking of the key learning outcomes for fostering compassion, Rohit Menezes, partner at the Bridgespan Mumbai office, pointed out that while compassion itself should be an outcome of the education systems it is unfortunately not happening as organically as it should.

Agreeing, Dr. Duraiappah pointed out the disturbing results of a 2015 survey conducted by Bengaluru-based NGO Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness covering about 10,000 high-school and college students from 11 cities across the country. It found more than 65% of young people felt that boys and girls from different religious backgrounds should not be allowed to associate with each other. Worse, over 40% of boys agreed that women had no choice but to accept a certain degree of violence. Eminent journalist N Ram added that to change to change such mindsets, it is essential that the process of “imparting values” in education systems takes on a secular nature and doesn’t further propagate differences.

Drawing the key inputs from the rich discussion, Chair Tawakkol Karman summarised the three recommendations of the table as the following:

—Institutionalising youth participation in decision making that goes beyond soliciting opinions.

—Giving emotional learning equal importance as intellectual development in curricula.

—Multi-sectoral approach for finding solutions to close gaps in current education systems.

Contact Information:

–Ms Anamika Gupta a.gupta@unesco.org, Programme Officer

–Mr Simon KUANY, s.kuany@unesco.org, Programme Officer

–Ms Radhika BHATNAGAR r.bhatnagar@unesco.org, Communications Officer


“Intellectual skepticism can be a way to resist indoctrination and reduce societal violence”

Prof. KP Mohanan dissects identities and raises uncomfortable questions about one’s beliefs at MGIEP’s 6th Distinguished Lecture

New Delhi, India— In November 2016, four students of a medical college in India tied a monkey’s hands, beat her, broke her legs and jaws, and finally put a rod through her anus and killed her. This gruesome incident and the extent of violence that the young students resorted to is a chilling indicator of the growing pathology of violence in societies the world over.

Did the students feel pleasure in causing pain? Had the bystanders become desensitised to suffering? What factors shaped the young individuals to behave in the way they did? And more importantly, can we redesign education such that the young grow up to become less violent and more compassionate?

This million-dollar question posed by Prof. KP Mohanan at MGIEP’s Sixth Distinguished Lecture on 2 December 2016 set the tone for the next hour where he spoke on the intricate links between ‘Education, Blind Faith and Societal Violence’. The event was co-organised with and held at the University of Chicago Centre in New Delhi and attended by approximately 150 academics and young students.

In his talk, Prof Mohanan explored the forms and roots of violence at an individual and societal level. He elucidated that while individual violence relates to incidents of violence between individuals such as domestic violence and bullying, societal violence refers to violence amongst varying groups— religious, ethnic, nationality, tribal etc., and primarily stems either from greed for power or an emotional disposition arising from the us-versus-them mindset, or a combination of both.

Citing anecdotes, he elaborated how developing a rational temper can act as a bulwark against a person’s intellectual and emotional predispositions towards violence. To begin with, rational inquiry enables a person to see the essential non-singular nature of identity and accept the notion of multiple identities that we are all endowed with. Secondly, by subjecting one’s deeply-held beliefs and assumptions through rigorous scrutiny, rational inquiry dislodges the sense of total certainty in people’s mind and implants a degree of doubt or skepticism towards one’s own assumptions and position, as well as those of others. This self-skepticism, Prof. Mohanan emphasized, is a primary requirement for developing a rational temper. Perhaps this is what Bertrand Russell meant when he famously said, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” Rational inquiry extends beyond the scope of mathematics, science and philosophy to include historical, humanistic, religious, moral and personal inquiry.

“Can you prove that the earth goes round the sun and not the other way round”? He asked the audience. No response. “Don’t we all believe this because it was written as such in our textbooks?” he further prodded. Thus making his point that all whose present in the room had been indoctrinated by textbooks to some extent, Prof Mohanan explained how mainstream education typically produces pliant and ‘schooled’ individuals with degrees and certificates, but who can be easily manipulated and indoctrinated by governments, corporations, and religious fanatics, again because of blind faith in authority. One of the results of such manipulation is the obscuring of the nature of collective violence, as demonstrated by the bystanders whilst the medical students tortured the monkey.

As an alternative, Prof. Mohanan proposed fostering the students’ abilities to critically inquire, engage, evaluate and, if logically inconsistent, then challenge the validity of knowledge transmitted through textbooks and teachers. This, according to him, would be the first step in cultivating the student’s intellectual and emotional resilience against any form of indoctrination, However, in his talk, Prof. Mohanan acknowledged that rational enquiry alone is not sufficient in creating a compassionate society, and needs to be combined with some form of socio-emotional learning and training.

The lecture was presided by Dr Karan Singh, member of the Rajya Sabha in India and the Chairman of UNESCO MGIEP’s Governing Board, and attended by distinguished guests from the world of academia and civil society. The engaging discussion concluded with a round of questions and a witty repartee between Dr Singh and Prof Mohanan on the need for doubting and questioning vis-à-vis the need to hold on to one’s beliefs.

About MGIEP’s Distinguished Lectures:

Creative living in a world of unprecedented complexity and growing interdependence requires a fundamental shift in our ways of envisioning and engaging with our reality. UNESCO MGIEP’s Distinguished Lecture Series invites speakers of global eminence to spark discussions on contemporary global issues and dissect the role of education in this new paradigm.

Related articles:


Contact Information:

—Ms Anamika Gupta, a.gupta@unesco.org, Programme Officer

––Mr Simon KUANY, s.kuany@unesco.org, Programme Officer

-–Ms Radhika BHATNAGAR r.bhatnagar@unesco.org, Communications Officer



The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), a category 1 UNESCO institute focusing on peace and sustainability education, and Penguin Random House India, the largest English-language trade publisher in the subcontinent, have come together for a new strategic content partnership.

The partnership will combine UNESCO MGIEP’s expertise on education for peace and sustainable development to foster global citizenship, with the level of proficiency that is synonymous with Penguin Random House India‘s work.

Together MGIEP and Penguin Random House India are aiming at encouraging a new generation of leaders by sharing content that will not only enhance their understanding of critical issues facing the world, but will also be easily accessible.

One of the first collaborations of the partnership will be at UNESCO MGIEP’s ‘Talking Across Generation on Education’ (TAGe) New Delhi, where 50 youth delegates from around the world will engage in a no-holds-barred discussion with experts and policy makers from across the globe on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education.

Talking about the partnership, Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO MGIEP said, “UNESCO MGIEP is delighted to partner with Penguin Random House India for our flagship Talking Across Generations through Education (TAGe) series. Books have always had the power to provide perspective and insights into some of the most challenging issues faced and we are positive that through this partnership we will be able to carry forward the global dialogue on critical matters in an open and transparent manner. We look forward to a fruitful association through our joint efforts.”

Adding about the partnership, Penguin Random House India’s Sr. VP Marketing & Children’s, Hemali Sodhi, said, ”We’re thrilled to be partnering with UNESCO MGEIP for their flagship town-hall series ‘Talking Across Generations through Education (TAGe)’. Our authors are the thought leaders of today and tomorrow and through their work, we aim to provide a platform that can engage the audience in a free-flowing dialogue on critical issues that affect the world. We hope that our endeavor is a success and that a global discussion will be generated from the digital display of the works of our authors.”

UNESCO MGIEP and Penguin Random House India aim to work closely together to ensure co-operation and co-innovation to equip future generations with the content to lead change for a more peaceful and sustainable world.


UNESCO MGIEP – Radhika Bhatnagar, Associate National Officer (Communications and Social Media)


Phone: 011 2338 6603


Penguin Random House India – Rukun Kaul, Digital Head at Penguin Random House India


Phone: 0124 478 5600