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The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (“The Geneva Centre”) will convene, in cooperation with the UNESCO Liaison Office in Geneva, the International Bureau of Education (IBE) – UNESCO and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations Office in Geneva, a panel discussion aimed at reviewing the role of education in enhancing equality of citizenship rights and diversity within communities affected by inter-communal civil strife.

The panel discussion, entitled “Human rights: Enhancing equal citizenship rights in education”will take place on Friday 12 May 2017, from 12:00 to 14:00, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva (Room XII).

It will be organized at the sidelines of the 27th session of the Universal Periodic Review under the Human Rights Council, scheduled to take place from 1 to 12 May 2017.

The Chairman of the Geneva Centre’s Board of Management, H. E. Dr. Hanif Al Qassim, the Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office, Mr. Abdulaziz Almuazaini, and the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations Office in Geneva, H. E. Ambassador Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, will deliver inaugural addresses.

The panel will consist of experts with extensive knowledge in the field of education, particularly in post-conflict situations and reconciliation in community settings. The following panel members will participate at the panel session:

  • Ms. Nujood Aldoseri, Director of Intermediate Education and of the project “Enhanced Citizenship and Human Rights Schools” at the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Bahrain;
  • Dr. Ana Maria Velasquez, Associate Professor at Universidad de los Andes (Colombia);
  • Prof. Sunethra Karunaratne, Former Professor at University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka);
  • Mr. Renato Opertti, Senior Programme Specialist at IBE-UNESCO;
  • Ms. Kristina Kaihari, Counsellor of Education – History and Citizenship Education at the National Agency of Education (Finland);
  • Mrs. Samar Kildani, the National Director of the El Hassan Youth Award in Jordan, will be the discussant of the meeting.

The focus of the panel discussion will be on three case studies – Bahrain, Colombia, and Sri Lanka – to assess their respective attempts to promote equal citizenship rights as part of human rights education in their national curricula.

The discussion will draw on the pilot expertise of Finland as a model of successful integration of human rights and citizenship values within national curricula.

The purpose of the panel debate will be to analyse the impact of training to promote equal citizenship as part of human rights training in school curricula and teaching methodologies with the broader aim of promoting a culture of peace and developing healthy, inclusive and fair societies. It aims at broadening the discussion on human rights and global citizenship education to encompass the promotion of equal and inclusive citizenship rights through education within national societies. Enhancing equal and inclusive citizenship rights fits against the backdrop of education on human rights and global citizenship, echoing at the domestic level the same ideals of a more tolerant, cohesive, and peace-driven world.

The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre Ambassador Idriss Jazairy stated that the “panel debate is a timely opportunity to discuss the role of education in promoting and in enhancing at the domestic level equal and inclusive citizenship rights. Education has the potential of playing an important role in strengthening inter-ethnic and inter-religious cooperation in societies permeated by conflict and violence. We need to further explore the transformative power of education in building societies based on the principles of peace, tolerance and social harmony.”

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