Monday, October 2, 2017 | Room XI, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France
In order to commemorate the International Day of Non-Violence, 2017 on October 2, which coincides with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) and the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of India to UNESCO organised the second Ahinsa Lecture by Ms Tawakkol KARMAN, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. The theme of the lecture was: “Working Towards Peace Building and Sustainable Development.” The lecture was held at Room XI, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France from 6 – 8 pm on Monday, 2nd October, 2017.
The second Ahinsa lecture commenced with introductory remarks by the Director-General, UNESCO, Ms Irina BOKOVA; the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Mr Manish PRABHAT and Dr Anantha DURAIAPPAH, Director, UNESCO MGIEP. Ms Bokova, in her introductory remarks highlighted how “Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of peace and development nowadays has never been so relevant” and how “his wisdom and vision deeply resonate with UNESCO’s mandate and Constitution”.
Further, Dr. Duraiappah’s opening remarks focused upon how UNESCO MGIEP is focusing on developing a curriculum based on the neurosciences approach to develop competencies of critical inquiry, mindfulness, empathy and compassion for the young to foster the development of peaceful and sustainable societies.
Ms. Tawakkol KARMAN commenced her lecture highlighting the various issues that our world is plagued with including armed conflict, terrorism, racism and tyranny. In light of these issues, Ms Karman discussed how “there is no peace without development and there is no development without peace” and that the two are integral to each other.
Ms Karman further highlighted how “post-2015 development agenda and the preceding millennium declaration have been a great achievement of humanity, which would stabilize the whole globe and bring to mankind sustainable peace and a life free of poverty and hunger” and how the responsibility is with societies to focus on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in “a honest and genuine manner”. She stressed upon the importance of the SDGs to be implemented not only through policy-makers but also through societies across the global in order to see a significant positive impact.
In order to achieve a large-scale positive impact in global societies, Ms Karman proposed that the following:
She expressed that in order to achieve peace and sustainable development, strong institutions would be required at the local and international level, supported by the UN.
In concluding, Ms Karman stressed on the importance of inclusion of women and the youth in the conversation of peace and sustainable, without which the development plans would remain “empty and useless”. She stressed that “the youth is a positive force that must be maintained and not allowed to turn into a negative force or a burden on society”
Ms Karman’s lecture was followed by a highly interactive question and answer session, comprising questions related to education for peace building and sustainable development as well as the role of technology in peace building.
The audience at the lecture comprised High Commission Officials, members of delegations to UNESCO, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, academicians, researchers and the youth.
Prior to the lecture, Ms Karman also conducted an hour long discussion with youth from the International Youth Committee (IYC), who had attended the lecture from different countries including Slovenia, Germany and France. The focus of the discussion was around education for peace building and sustainable development and how the youth can play a role in building more peaceful and sustainable societies.
About Ms Tawakkol KARMAN
Ms Tawakkol KARMAN is a mother of three as well as a human rights activist, journalist, politician and President of Women Journalists without Chains. She is the general coordinator of peaceful youth revolution council and a member of the advisory board for the Transparency International Organisation and for several international non-government organisations focused on human rights.
Ms. Karman is bold and outspoken and has been imprisoned on numerous occasions for her pro-democracy and pro-human rights protests. Amongst Yemen’s Youth movement, she is known as “the mother of the revolution”, “iron woman”, and most recently as “the lady of the Arab spring”. Ms. Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in non-violent struggle for the expression rights, safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work in Yemen. Upon being awarded the prize, Ms. Karman became the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She encompasses a great deal of courage which she has shown, on countless occasions, through her perseverance to constantly confront injustice and build peace.
About Ahinsa Lectures
Ahinsa is derived from Sanskrit word hims meaning injury and its opposite (a-hiṃsā meaning without any injury) refers to non-violence. This ethical philosophy was popularised by Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest champion of nonviolence in the world. The Ahinsa Lecture brings forth public speakers of the highest calibre active in the field of peace and non-violence to the forum for the benefit of peace builders, policy makers, youth, UNESCO Member states and international community. The Ahinsa Lecture is organized to mark the International Day of Non-Violence celebrated on 2 October to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
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