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On the sidelines of the 37th AU Summit, the African Union Commission, in collaboration with United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UN-OHCHR), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the World Bank Group and the Institute of Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), hosted an Event: ‘Ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education to break and prevent cycles of violence in Africa’ on Tuesday, 13 February 2024, at Ramada Hotel, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

The primary objective was to raise awareness about the pivotal role of the right to education and in building resilience, mitigate and prevent recurring and new violent conflict dynamics.  The event focused on exploring opportunities to strengthen the preventive impact of the right to education employing a human rights based approach.

The meeting brought together representatives from AU Political Affairs, Peace and Security (AU PAPS), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), African Youth Ambassadors for Peace, United Nations (UN) Agencies (UNOAU, UNESCO, OHCHR), the World Bank Group, ICRC, Think Tanks, AU Member States and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) along with stakeholders in the pertinent policy and practice arena. The Diplomatic corps included representation from the United Kingdom, Japan, Finland and Norway.

In her welcoming remarks, Director Patience Zanelie Chiradza of the Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate (AU GCP), emphasized the linkages between the right to education and the repeating cycles of violence in Africa. She highlighted the significance of the event at a critical juncture, aligning with the AU Theme of the Year 2024. Ms. Chiradza stressed, “Education is a fundamental human right and a powerful tool for fostering development, peace and progress.”

Commissioner Bankole Adeoye of the AU PAPS, in his keynote speech, underscored the critical importance of prioritizing and investing in peace education. He asserted that education is key to breaking the silence of violence in Africa, stating, “Education will change the face of the continent, offering unlimited opportunities, especially for the girl child." The Commissioner emphasized that access to quality education equips individuals to contribute meaningfully to their communities, engage in constructive dialogue, and seek non-violent solutions to conflicts.

Esteemed speakers, including Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (ESTI), Prof. Mohamed Belhocine and Marcel Clement Akpovo, OHCHR-EARO Representative, addressed the need for comprehensive education and advancing peace education. Mr. Dan Owen, Lead Social Development Specialist, the World Bank Group, highlighted the important role that Early Warning mechanisms, and inclusive data  sets (gender and marginalized groups) have with respect to helping design prevention and mitigation responses to violent conflict at regional and national levels.

The event included presentations and plenary discussions focusing on the right to education, international and regional instruments on the right to education; Silencing the Guns forum, mainstreaming child protection in the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) program, and the importance of integrating a prevention focus into Disarmament, demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) in peace education, among others.

The event concluded with the identification of a series of recommendations targeting the AU and its partners to help achieve the Africa we want, and break the repeated cycles of violence and unlock the development and peace potential of African citizens. These included the need to invest more in agribusiness development, poverty alleviation, and the development of traditional educational systems.  The importance of sharing success stories about peace education; strengthening early warning systems; strengthening partnership with regional, national and local actors to address the root causes of violent conflict; and promoting inter- community dialogue, and reviewing polices in line with peace education in Africa were emphasized.

The session concluded with a presentation by IPSS, sharing experiences on peace education and recommending a comprehensive review of existing African Union policies in alignment with peace education in Africa.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Issaka Garaba Abdou, Head, Governance and Human Rights Division | Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate | Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security | African Union Commission |  Email: GarbaAbdouI@africa-union.org

For media inquiries, please contact:

Ms. Lulit Kebede, Communication Officer | Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security| African Union Commission | Emaillulitk@africa-union.org

Information and Communication Directorate, African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org Web: www.au.int & peaceau.org  | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Follow Us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Posted by Lulit Kebede

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