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STEM clinics to boost girls’ participation in STEM education in Ghana

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 12:00

A positive start for the first Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) clinic in Ghana marks the beginning of a new chapter for girls’ participation in STEM education.

11 February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science – and a reminder that today, many women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science education and careers.

Ghana is no exception. Girls’ participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects in secondary schools is still lower than that of boys. There are many factors that influence girls’ participation in science, including a false belief among girls that science-related subjects are more suited for boys.

To increase girls’ participation in STEM-related courses in secondary schools and higher levels of education, the UNESCO Accra Office and partners are organising STEM clinics in selected districts in Ghana. These run on a quarterly basis to sensitise girls to various STEM-related careers that girls can pursue (e.g. teaching, medicine, laboratory work, or telecommunications engineering).

STEM clinics have a strong potential for increasing girls’ interest in science. Girls have a unique opportunity to interact with young female scientists and learn from the wide range of opportunities offered by the study of STEM subjects. Interactions with role models boost girls’ confidence about participating in STEM-related courses and helps to challenge the negative perceptions they may have about pursuing a career in STEM.

In December 2016, UNESCO Accra in collaboration with the Girls’ Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service organised their first STEM clinic in the Jasikan District of the Volta Region, which is among the lowest performing districts for girls’ participation in STEM. “Currently, there are only 29 girls reading pure science (physics, chemistry, biology) out of 855 girls in the three Senior High Schools in the Jasikan District. This is not good enough. Through the STEM clinics, we will improve these statistics in the coming years”, said Ruth Matogah, Girls’ Education Officer in Jasikan District.

Over 200 primary and secondary school girls participated in the one-day event in Jasikan District. At the start of the STEM clinic, very few participants raised their hands when asked if they would like to choose science at Senior High School; however, about 80% of participants raised their hands when asked the same question at the end of the day. It is still early to measure the impact of this intervention, yet it is encouraging to see the girls’ inspiring smiles as they left the venue of the STEM clinic.

This activity is part of a broader project in Ghana under the UNESCO-HNA Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education to improve the quality and relevance of girls’ learning. The UNESCO Accra Office will support the organisation of additional STEM clinics in the same district as well as in four other districts throughout 2017. The UNESCO-HNA Project Steering Committee in Ghana will plan follow up visits to evaluate preliminary results of the STEM clinics.

Categories: News

UNESCO and Ministry of Education Science and Technology to develop Learning Materials for Life skills and Peacebuilding Education

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 05/03/2017 - 19:46
south_sudan_moest_web.jpg © UNESCO

UNESCO and UNFPA supported a 10-day workshop early September, training curriculum developers, educators and teachers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology on lifeskills and peacebuilding.

Lifeskills and peacebuilding education aims to provide knowledge and positive behaviours that enable individuals to make safe and effective decisions in the every-day demands and challenges in life. It is backed by a number of internationally approved frameworks including the recently launched South Sudan Curriculum framework.

“Developing materials for support is not an easy task and demands hard work,” said the Deputy Director in the education ministry, Mr. Scopas Lubang. “I would like to appreciate the support from the partners and Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports who spared their time and resources in developing the materials.”

The event brought together 26 selected curriculum developers, teacher educators, teachers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology. Critical stakeholders who supported the process included UNICEF, Sports for Hope and Basic Education for Development Network (BEDN), Humanitarian Aid for Change and Transformation (HACT) among others.

The materials will guide educators and book writers from all fields to deliver education on topics such as personal development, social and citizenship, peace building education, healthy living, environment and entrepreneurship.

Six teams ensured content were finalised for pre-primary, upper and lower levels for both primary and secondary levels as well as for out of school youth. Cross cutting issues such as human rights, conflict sensitivity, gender and culture, HIV and AIDS, comprehensive sexuality education, and issues of disability were integrated into the materials.

This being the second phase of the exercise, the experts intended to finalise the activity which was started in May through UNICEF’s support.

Material development usually goes through several phases including creating content, teaching and then evaluating. 

“The work is not complete,” commented, Castarina Lado, UNESCO programme officer during the closure of the workshop. “Both national and international experts will be consulted to ensure that the content is age appropriate, culturally sound in order develop the expected learning competencies and contribute to positive behavioural change among learners.”

In line with the context of South Sudan, the developed materials and curriculum intend to address the challenges faced by children and young people. Unlike previous curricula, teachers will employ child centred approaches to facilitate the development of psychosocial skills greatly needed to meet the demands and challenges of everyday life.

 

For more information or to coordinate an interview, please contact:  

Castarina Lado, National Programme Officer

UNESCO Juba

Office: +211 920002697

c.lado(at)unesco.org

 

 

 

Categories: News

UNESCO calls on international community to help revive Iraq’s cultural heritage in the wake of massive destruction

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 19:46
ashur_2017_688px.jpg Ashur, Iraq, February 2017© UNESCO 24 February 2017

A two-day International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq ended at UNESCO’s Headquarters on Friday, laying the ground for an emergency, medium and long term action plan to preserve the country’s rich, diverse millennial archaeological sites, its museums, religious heritage, and historic cities.

The Iraqi government officials and some 80 heritage experts from all over the world at the meeting agreed to appoint a joint UNESCO-Iraqi Steering Committee to coordinate and advocate the many national and international initiatives to rehabilitate the cultural heritage of Iraq.

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, said that damage was even greater than had been feared and she described today’s meeting as the start of a long heritage rehabilitation process which is likely to require decades of work. “This is a turning point for the Iraqi people and for the world’s understanding of the role of heritage for societies in conflict situations.” Less than three months after sending emergency missions to Nineveh and Nimrud, and, more recently, a damage assessment mission to the World Heritage site of Ashur, Ms Bokova said that “UNESCO is already mobilizing on the ground to support Iraq in protecting heritage and objects most at risk, and to fence off and guard sites.”

According to Qais Rasheed, Iraq’s Vice-Minister of Culture for Antiquities and Tourism Affairs, violent extremists have wreaked severe damage to archaeological sites of world importance, destroying up to 70% of Nineveh and 80% of Nimrud. They systematically dug tunnels in Mosul and other heritage sites in search for antiquities to sell on the Internet and black market. Mohammad Iqbal Omar, Iraq’s Minister of Education, stressed that “we must stop the trade in Iraqi antiquities, adhere to UN Security Council Resolution 2199 [banning all cultural trade from Iraq and Syria], and dry up Daesh’s money flow.”

“As we reclaim our country,” said Fryad Rawandouzi, Minister of Culture, “We need help from UNESCO, the UN and others to rehabilitate museums, cities and sites, and return stolen objects. We need a plan with a timeline, as well as technical and financial support.”

The meeting also included an information session for representatives of UNESCO’s 195 Member States, crucial to raise funds for strategic safeguarding priorities identified during the meeting: archaeological sites; museums and museum collections; World Heritage sites and those on the “Tentative List” [slated to apply for World Heritage status in the future]; historical manuscripts; historical buildings and urban heritage; as well as religious heritage.

Many of the actions identified, were qualified as urgent, notably the need to conduct thorough damage assessment and protection measures such as the fencing off of exposed sites.

“Daesh tried, but will never erase our culture, identity, diversity, history and the pillars of civilization. I call on the world to help us,” declared Mohammad Iqbal Omar, the Education of Iraq.

The meeting was organized by UNESCO and the Iraqi Ministry for Culture, with financial support by the Government of Japan in the framework of the project Preventive Conservation of Iraq’s Museum Collections and Cultural Heritage at Imminent Risk, carried out by the UNESCO Iraq Office in Baghdad.

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Images for TV (B-Roll):  Cultural Heritage in Iraq 

Photo gallery

Media Contact: George Papagiannis, +33 1 45 68 17 06; g.papagiannis@unesco.org

Categories: News

Launch of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 16:06

The launch meeting of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance brought together worldwide multi-stakeholder initiatives around a common action framework to implement the Paris Agreement to address climate change.

The launch of the Alliance took place at UNESCO Headquarters under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Ocean and Climate Platform, and the French Government. The goal is to build further on the strong community of intergovernmental, state, scientific and civil society actors that arose around the ocean and climate mobilization at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Paris.

The opening session of the day-long launch meeting saw keynote interventions by the three key partners behind the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance: Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s IOC; Gilles Boeuf, Scientific Advisor to the French Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea; and two representatives of the Ocean and Climate Platform, Eric Banel, President of the Steering Committee and Françoise Gaill, Coordinator of the Scientific Committee. Patricia Ricard, also of the Ocean and Climate Platform, gave introductory remarks and moderated the keynote session.

The Ocean and Climate Platform, cradle and co-founder of the new Initiatives Alliance, was itself created at UNESCO Headquarters during the 2014 edition of World Oceans Day. Since then, ocean and climate mobilization around and beyond the UNFCCC policy frameworks have resulted in important achievements, notably the inclusion of oceans in the Paris Agreement (2015) and the launch of a Special Report on the ocean and the cryosphere by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Special Report will complement the IPCC regular reporting cycle with an ocean and climate focus.

Welcoming Alliance members, meeting participants and the media to UNESCO, IOC Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin reiterated that “having achieved our first objective, which was to get the political support and agreement that ocean can and should be addressed within the UNCCC framework… it is now time to move into much more operational and solution-oriented mode, moving forward of the cutting edge of science and ensuring that advantages are available to all.”

The new Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) hopes to accelerate the implementation of mitigation and adaptation to climate change measures by uniting parallel ongoing initiatives under a joint action framework. OCIA initiatives cover thirteen thematic areas: ocean acidification, marine protected areas, marine ecosystems resilience – including coral reefs and blue carbon, sustainable fisheries, low carbon maritime activities, climate-led migration, and coastal populations’ resilience to climate change, among others.

IOC took the opportunity to introduce the main ocean and climate initiatives in which it has been actively engaged, including the joint Blue Carbon Initiative; the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), and the Strategic Action Roadmap on Oceans and Climate: 2016 to 2021.

The launch meeting aimed to gather and initiative collaborations between all ocean and climate initiatives, associating different organizations and state actors, in particular the 22 states signatory parties to the “Because the Ocean” Declaration (2015). Representatives of the different initiatives joining the Alliance have committed to working together for the development and promotion of concrete actions in the context of the major ocean and climate events planned for 2017, such as the UN Ocean Conference (New York, 5-9 June), the Our Ocean Conference (Malta, 4-6 October), and the 23rd UNFCCC Conference of Parties (Bonn, 6-17 November).

For more information, please contact:

Rejane Hervé (r.herve@unesco.org)

Categories: News

Ministers, experts urge inclusive access and quality education through open educational resources

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 15:58
news_240217_oer.jpg L to R: Indrajit Banerjee, the Ministers Maja Makovec Brencic of Slovenia and Evarist Bartolo of Malta© UNESCO 24 February 2017On 23 February, ministers, policy makers and experts from 26 countries took part in the opening of the European Regional Consultation on Open Educational Resources (OER), held in Malta from 23 to 24 February.

In her keynote address, H.E. Dr Maja Makovec Brencic, Minister for Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia, highlighted that “OER have a central role to play in the Education 2030 Agenda and particularly in the framework of SDG4 (Inclusive and Quality Education). Slovenia recognizes that governments have a key fundamental responsibility for successfully implementing the 2030 Agenda.” She noted that “the Education 2030 Agenda reaffirms a political commitment to establish legal and policy frameworks. It entrusts UNESCO to lead and coordinate the 2030 Education Agenda by undertaking advocacy to sustain political commitment, facilitating policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and standard setting.”

For his part, H.E. Mr Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment of Malta, urged new pedagogies that meet the individual needs of each student, leveraging ICT and Open Educational Resources for achieving quality education outcomes.

The meeting is the second of six regional consultations organized in the lead up to the 2nd World OER Congress, to be hosted in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 18 to 20 September. The World OER Congress will mark 15 years since the term “Open Educational Resources” was first coined at UNESCO and five years since the inaugural World OER Congress took place at UNESCO Headquarters, resulting in the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.

“OER” refer to any educational materials made available by authors and institutions under an open-license to freely use and adapt for teaching, learning and research purposes. In all regions of the world, the growth of OER initiatives and policies supports the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 by providing quality, affordable educational materials adaptable to the broadest range of teaching and learning needs.

To date, OER Surveys have been received from 55 Member States, including 22 African countries, according to Asha Kanwar, president and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, the organizer of the regional consultations. Preliminary findings suggest that 26 report that OER-related policies exist at national level, while slightly more than half reported that national OER strategies were under development.

Representing UNESCO, Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, said that the next World OER Congress must be a step forward toward improving capacity, language and cultural relevance, and assuring inclusive and equitable access to quality OER. He stressed the need to develop supportive policy environments, and catalytic “ecosystems” that place OER at their centre. He underscored that the “larger challenge is to open up education itself.”

The 2nd World OER Congress in Ljubljana will address three central objectives in support of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:

  • Examine solutions to meeting the challenges of mainstreaming OER practices in education systems worldwide;
  • Showcase the world´s best practices in OER policies, initiatives and experts;
  • Provide recommendations for the mainstreaming of OER with links to best practices.

The Congress will build on the outcomes of six OER regional consultations hosted in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Valletta (Malta), Doha (Qatar), Port Louis (Mauritius), Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Auckland (New Zealand), organized by the Commonwealth of Learning.

Categories: News

UNESCO and UN Volunteers sign strategic partnership to promote volunteerism

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 15:34

On 24 February, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) Executive Coordinator, Olivier Adam, signed a strategic partnership to advance the causes of peace and sustainable development through volunteerism.

This Memorandum of Understanding recognizes the impactful and transformative role that volunteerism plays in building peace and in contributing to the implementation and attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

“UNESCO and UNV are part of the same family.” Said the Director-General. “We believe together in the power of youth as agents of change to take forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. We believe in the power of dialogue to foster new forms of global citizenship. We believe in the importance of volunteering to strengthen the foundations of peace and sustainable development.” She added.

“UN Volunteers are highly-specialized professionals who work at grassroots level to empower communities to pursue learning and education to overcome development challenges, including extreme poverty,” says UNV Executive Coordinator Olivier Adam. “Leaving no one behind is at the heart of what makes UN Volunteers special, and we are looking forward to engaging engage more with UNESCO.”

Irina Bokova acknowledged the importance of this newly formalized collaboration with UNV and the mutual benefits that would ensue for both Programmes following the signing. She noted that, “volunteering is more than working for a good cause. […] It is about forging bonds of trust to reinforce a sense of shared destiny.”

As at the end of 2016, some 13 United Nations Volunteers are deployed with UNESCO, 69% of which serve in Sub-Saharan African countries such as Tanzania, South Sudan, Mali, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire and Mozambique. The UNV programme offers a diverse, talented and highly skilled pool of talent which will complement that which already exists within the Secretariat.  

The signing ceremony, which took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, also provided for an interactive exchange between the Executive Coordinator of the UNV Programme and the UNESCO Senior Management Team.

United Nations Volunteers website

Categories: News

Radio Televisión Española joins UNESCO’s campaign Unite4Heritage

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 13:35
spanishtv_unite4heritage_688px.jpg From left to right: Teresa Lizaranzu, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO, Jose Antonio Sánchez, president of RTVE,
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, and Kitín Muñoz, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador© UNESCO/C.ALIX 24 February 2017

The public corporation Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Kitín Muñoz, today joined #Unite4Heritage, the awareness raising campaign powered by UNESCO.

The president of the Spanish communications group, José Antonio Sánchez, and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, signed at UNESCO headquarters in Paris a collaboration agreement for the production of short TV programmes, to sensitize the general public to cultural diversity and the importance of safeguarding natural and cultural heritage.

The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Kitín Muñoz, renowned navigator and scientific explorer, will host the short-format TV series that will take viewers on a journey through diverse cultures, traditions and sites.

Director-General Irina Bokova launched the campaign nearly three years ago at the University of Bagdad to turn the attention of experts, politicians and the general public toward the destruction of cultural heritage and the need to preserve it as an engine for peace and social cohesion. “Radio Televisión Española is an ideal partner to convey these messages of respect, values and human dignity that the campaign carries”, Ms. Bokova said.

“Radio Televisión Española, a public institution, is honoured to collaborate with UNESCO, an organization dedicated to the development, to the progress, and to the happiness of humanity. Our international channels are available for broadcasting of this initiative”, said José Antonio Sánchez, who also highlighted “the tenacity and enthusiasm” of Kitín Muñoz to set this initiative in motion and to collaborate selflessly on it.

The Unite4Heritage campaign is a “magnificent opportunity to emphasize once more the marvellous idea of protecting humanity’s heritage, be it cultural, natural or intangible heritage, that was born here, at UNESCO”, declared Kitín Muñoz.

Launched in response to unprecedented attacks on cultural heritage in Iraq, Syria and Mali, the campaign #Unite4Heritage has grown into an international movement that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world.

Also attending the signing ceremony were Teresa Lizaranzu, Ambassador of the Permanent delegation of Spain to UNESCO, HRH Kalina de Sajonia-Coburgo-Gotha y Gómez-Acebo, wife of Kitín Muñoz, Javier Lamana, General Secretary of  RTVE Corporation and Eladio Jareño, Director of Televisión Española.

Categories: News

#FreePress for a #NewGambia: UNESCO and EU bring tools of the trade to media in The Gambia

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 02/24/2017 - 11:02
infocus_dakar_launch.jpg © UNESCO

Media professionals in the Gambia are now better equipped to provide information their communities need to build an informed society looking to the future. With a 691,583 euro grant from the European Union, UNESCO is building media capacity in the Gambia through providing equipment and developing journalism education and an enabling environment for freedom of expression and access to information.

“For peace to be lasting and development to be sustainable, human rights must be respected. Everyone must be free to seek, receive and impart knowledge and information on all platforms, online and offline. Quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society and their contribution to development.  But in order to do so, tools – both intellectual and material - are necessary” underlined Gwang-Chol Chang, Director a.i. of the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) in Dakar speaking on February 22nd at the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO, where a ceremony was held to deliver media equipment to beneficiary newspapers, the Gambia Press Union, and the University of the Gambia in the framework of this ongoing initiative. 

In the Gambia, as in many countries around the world, media professionals often lack the necessary resources and capacities to exercise their activities.  Difficulty accessing information and lack of equipment and training are among the daily challenges faced by media professionals.  This project is addressing some of these issues, namely professional development and training and the economic viability of media houses.  The overall objective of this project, which will continue through June 2017, is to contribute to better democratic governance through improving freedom of the press and the quality of information available to the Gambian population.

 “A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of democracy” Ambassador Attila Lajos of the EU Delegation to the Gambia underlined.  Fatou Kinneh-Jobe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, underlined that the Gambia must take advantage of President Adama Barrow’s statement that the media, both public and private, must enjoy freedom to disseminate divergent views and dissenting opinions.  Many journalists who, under the previous regime, had left the country in exile are now returning to the Gambia with great expectations of an enabling environment for freedom of expression and the growth of independent media in the country.  

“As the New Gambia consolidates the new democracy, the onus is on you, the journalists, to ensure that the news you provide is credible and that it promotes peace, cohesion and development. I cannot overstate your responsibilities as peace and development agents.  Let your pen and voice be your weapons of victory” emphasized Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Gambia, during the ceremony.

The delivery of equipment comes days after President Adama Barrow’s inauguration in Banjul on February 18th. This project promotes excellence in journalism in recognition that journalism education is an important part of developing a free and independent media. The project also reinforces gender equality in the media and the development of training curricula and materials. It also directly contributes to enhancing human rights in the country related to freedom of expression and access to information.

Primary beneficiaries of this project include media houses, newspapers, community radios, the Gambia Press Union, and the University of the Gambia.  Through June 2017, capacity building initiatives will occur, as well as training of Gambian security forces on the safety of journalists and freedom of expression to support the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.  Furthermore, and in light of recent changes in Government, a formal platform for dialogue between media and the Government will be established in order to support the revision of existing regulatory frameworks concerning freedom of expression and access to information in order to align them with international human rights standards.

With longstanding experience in promoting excellence and training in journalism, UNESCO has been identified for the implementation of this project as the UN agency with the mandate to support the fields of communication, media, and journalism.  “To further buttress the importance of Press Freedom, the New Gambia has stressed its unwavering desire to respect the fundamental principles of press freedom and respect to journalists who strive to uphold the ethics of their profession.  UNESCO will maintain a strong partnership worldwide to uphold this ideal for a better and informed world” the UN Resident Coordinator in the Gambia confirmed. The project directly contributes to the achievement of 2030 Development Agenda’s goal (SDG 16) to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Categories: News

Join UNESCO’s photo and video contest “If I were…” !

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 18:16

if you were someone else ... what would your life be like? Have you ever imagined stepping into someone else’s shoes? What if that person was living next door? How would you feel? UNESCO’s photo and video contest for youth “If I were…” invites you to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes through a powerful video clip or photo. The idea is to illustrate your feelings if you were this person, change your perspectives and express yourself differently. Develop your ability to empathize and leave behind your prejudices!

You may choose somebody you know or somebody you have fictionalized. It can be anyone from your prime minister to the baker next door. Once you have identified or invented your character, we invite you to conduct some research to understand his or her background and situation. Use your creativity, empathy and flexibility, to illustrate how you would feel in his or her situation through a powerful photo or video (maximum 1 minute). The narrative, if any, should be in English, French, Spanish or Arabic.

If you are between 21 and 30 years old, then you are eligible to participate. To do so, please check the terms and conditions and fill in this form.

Deadline for submission: 12 March 2017.

Contest winners

Ten winners will be selected. They will receive a mini iPad and be invited to present their photo or video at a prize-giving ceremony during the “Second International Conference on Youth Volunteering and Dialogue: preventing violent extremism and strengthening social inclusion”, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, from 12 to 14 April 2017. Travel and accommodation will be covered by the organizers.

Why is UNESCO launching this contest?

UNESCO aspires to equip young people with abilities that are indispensable in today’s diverse and dynamic world. These “intercultural competencies” are fundamental acquisitions for living together regardless of our social, economic or cultural differences. The “If I were…” contest intends to encourage young people to imagine new realities and new perspectives, and to leave behind stereotypes and prejudices.

The contest is organized in cooperation with the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue through the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue. This Programme is being implemented in the context of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), adopted by the UN General Assembly, and led by UNESCO across the world through development projects, training, partnerships, gatherings and events. Through this International Decade, UNESCO seeks to promote the wealth of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and related competencies.

Important

Don’t forget that your photo or video must comply with the international copyrights and authors’ regulations that UNESCO promotes. If you are selected, you will be asked to complete and sign a permission rights form, allowing UNESCO to use your material. UNESCO will only use your material for non-commercial purposes. The authors will be credited.

UNESCO reserves the right to modify the contest prizes and its rules and regulations as and when necessary, without prior notice.

To participate in the contest, the participant must own the rights of the content he/she is submitting.

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Contact: youth-conference(at)unesco.org

Categories: News

International Mother Language Day celebrates the power of multilingualism

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 14:10

Multilingualism was celebrated as the theme of International Mother Language Day held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on February 21, 2017.

UNESCO joined the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) to mark the yearly celebration under the theme “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”.

This year’s focus was on fostering sustainable development by ensuring learners have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages.

Multilingual education based on mother tongue contributes to achieving all SDGs by linking the local knowledge with the global knowledge, addressing common challenges and acting together to find solutions. 

It is through mastery of the first or mother language that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired.

In addition local languages - especially minority and indigenous languages - transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus playing an important role in promoting sustainable futures.

Confidence and self-esteem

During the opening ceremony, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, said: “Education and information in the mother language is absolutely essential to improving learning and developing confidence and self-esteem, which are among the most powerful engines of development.”

Ms Youma Fall, Director of French Language, Culture and Diversity from OIF stressed the importance of national languages for the promotion of cultural diversity and as the basis for all creativity.

H.E. Mr M. Shahidul Islam, Ambassador of Bangladesh to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO stated that the people of Bangladesh have a special attachment to the International Mother Language Day, because this day is an important milestone in their national history.

He underlined that Bangladesh continues to play an active role in supporting UNESCO’s efforts to promote linguistic and cultural diversity. In 2016, the Government of  Bangladesh  established  the International  Mother  Language  Institute to act  as  a  regional hub  to conduct  research  to  promote  and  protect  all  mother  languages  including those  on  the  verge  of  extinction  or  already  extinct.  

H.E. Mr. Sergio Cáceres García, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Bolivia to UNESCO, shared the experience, richness and challenges from integrating 36 indigenous languages across the country. He said Bolivia was committed to intercultural and multilingual education and the use of mother tongues in learning and in all aspects of life as it contributes to development.

The International Mother Language Day celebration explored the use of quality multilingual education to achieve sustainable futures, facilitating participation and action in society, giving access to new knowledge and cultural expressions, and thus contributing to building global citizenship.

Categories: News

Nouvelle phase de collaboration entre l'UNESCO et la Fondation SONATEL (in French)

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 12:39

Le vendredi 17 février 2017, le Directeur a.i du bureau Régional de l’UNESCO à Dakar recevait l’Administratrice Générale de la Fondation SONATEL, Madame Aminata Fall Sidibé, accompagnée de son conseiller le Professeur Abdou Salam Sall, pour parler du projet « village ».

Cette rencontre fait suite à la participation du Directeur de l’UNESCO à Dakar à l’inauguration du projet « village » à Sob II, situé dans la région de Kaolack, à 200 km de Dakar. La fondation SONATEL essaie, à travers ce projet « village », de contribuer à l’accès aux services sociaux de base, qui constitue un des piliers du PNUAD, en réhabilitant l’école élémentaire avec le concept École verte, en construisant un poste de santé avec tous les équipements nécessaires et enfin en construisant un puits à pompe solaire. Destinée à s’étendre ailleurs au Sénégal, cette initiative contribue au désenclavement des zones reculées et répond aux besoins les plus impérieux des populations. Elle permettra, entre autres, de booster le taux de scolarisation et de baisser le taux de mortalité infantile dans la localité conformément aux recommandations des ODD notamment les objectifs 3 (santé), 4 (éducation), 5 (genre) et 13 (changement climatique).

L’Administratrice Générale a fait la genèse du projet qui est à sa deuxième réalisation, après celle de Thicatt Wolof, et a sollicité l’accompagnement de l’UNESCO dans le processus d’extension à d’autres villages, de modélisation de l’approche et de partage du modèle en vue de mobiliser d’autres partenaires au bénéfice des populations défavorisées.

Le Directeur de l’UNESCO à Dakar a conclu la rencontre en réitérant la disponibilité de l’organisation à établir un partenariat fort avec la fondation SONATEL, tout d’abord en initiant une étude sur les impacts du projet dans l’amélioration des indicateurs d’éducation et de santé et en les impliquant dans l’organisation prochaine, par le bureau, d’un atelier sur la contribution du secteur privé dans l’atteinte de l’ODD 4.

Categories: News

Swedish biosphere reserves as arenas for implementing the 2030 Agenda

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 02:38

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency recently published the report Swedish Biosphere Reserves as Arenas for Implementing the 2030 Agenda: Analysis and Practice, written by Lisen Schultz and Malena Heinrup from the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The report demonstrates how biosphere reserves help to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provides examples of integrated sustainable development practices from Swedish biosphere reserves.

The report identifies five main functions that biosphere reserves perform for sustainable development: providing platforms for collaboration, connecting actors both vertically and horizontally, embodying the goals of the 2030 Agenda, maintaining healthy ecosystems, and promoting learning and awareness raising. All these functions complement the implementation work performed by public authorities, NGOs and other actors.

 

The work of biosphere reserves is based on collaboration, learning, and a holistic view of people and nature. Their extensive experience of implementing sustainable development in practice in a Swedish context makes them suitable as strategic areas for learning, support and investment when implementing the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Sweden.

 

While the 2030 Agenda highlights the priorities and direction of global development, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is able to guide local, regional and national implementation of the Agenda by sharing the know-how generated. The new global strategy for UNESCO’s MAB Programme (2015-2025) with its associated Lima Action Plan (2016-2025) underlines the programme’s instrumental role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the (SDGs).

 

The coordinators of the five Swedish biosphere reserves and their co-workers, the Swedish MAB Committee and the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, contributed to this report.

Categories: News

Empowering disadvantaged communities through innovative education

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 19:33

Kiron Open Higher Education from Germany and Jaago Foundation from Bangladesh have won the 2016 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Education for their innovative and inspiring projects.

They each received USD 25,000 each and a certificate of recognition at a ceremony that took place at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on 21 February 2017 in the presence of the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa and the Minister of Education H.E. Majid Bin Ali Al-Nuaimi.  

The laureates presented their prize-winning projects on the use of ICTs for disadvantaged groups in a seminar before the ceremony. The theme for the 2016 Prize recognizes the urgent need to tackle challenges that prevent the most vulnerable populations from accessing quality education.

Making the digital revolution an inclusive one

The experience of meeting a refugee during university is what motivated Markus Kressler, founder of Kiron (link to interview), to start his project in Germany. Kiron is an innovative blended-learning education platform that provides free, fast and easy access to higher education for refugees worldwide regardless of their asylum status. It is tailored to overcome the key challenges -- legal, linguistic, financial and skills -- that hold back displaced persons from education. “Kiron is a connecting organization,” said Mr. Kressler. His project’s mission is to help create a world where everyone has an equal chance to opportunities.

Korvi Rakshand, founder of Jaago (link to interview) (which means “wake up” in Bangladeshi) said that poverty was the biggest obstacle to accessing learning and opportunities in his country. The Dhaka-based foundation is a movement initiated by youth to break the cycle of poverty through quality education and reach those in the most remote locations. The Online School project connects underprivileged children in rural areas of Bangladesh with high-quality courses through interactive video-conferencing delivered by teachers based in the capital. Mr Rakshand demonstrated his programme by connecting live with a classroom full of students in Bangladesh.

Speaking at the prize ceremony Ms Bokova said; “Education stands at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda, as a human right, as a transformational force for sustainability, for poverty, eradication, for peace.”   

“We encourage other institutions to follow the winners’ example to invest in modern technologies in education to empower underprivileged people across the globe,” said H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.

About the prize

Established in 2005, the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize recognizes innovations in teaching and learning that leverage technology to improve educational outcomes. Two prizewinners are selected by the Director-General of UNESCO after recommendations made by an international jury of five independent and recognized experts in the area of ICT in education from each region.  

Categories: News

Nominations for UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize now open

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:05

The UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers is open for nominations of candidates. Created in 2008, it supports the improvement of teaching and learning quality in achieving the Education for All goals, one of UNESCO’s priorities.

The Prize is supported by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates and is awarded every two years. It amounts to USD $300,000 equally divided between three winners whose projects aim at improving the performance and effectiveness of teachers.  

The nomination of candidates is open to individuals representing institutions or organizations; international or national governmental or NGOs; and educational or research institutions and communities at all levels.

Nominations must be submitted by member state governments, in consultation with their National Commissions for UNESCO, and by NGOs maintaining official partnerships with UNESCO.

Applications are examined by a Jury of international professionals specialized in teacher-related issues from all of UNESCO’s geographical regions.  

The winners are selected by an International Jury composed of five prominent professionals chosen for their high-level of knowledge and experience in teacher-related issues.

Currently in its fifth edition, the prize has been awarded to eleven laureates from different regions of the world. In 2016, the University of Malaya’s Environmental Citizenship Education programme in Malaysia and the See Beyond Borders programme in Cambodia were the winners.

The Prize ceremony will take place during World Teachers’ Day celebrations at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 5 October 2018.

The deadline for submitting nominations is 31 October 2017.

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