Under the banner of education for peace, to mark the start of the 100 day countdown to the 2013 International Day of Peace, UNO Baku – Department of Public Information (UNDPI) team scheduled a special return visit to the Refugee Women and Youth Centre (RWYC) to discuss UN policies in promoting the role of education for peace-building.
The Refugee Women and Youth Centre was founded on 6 June 2003 within the UNHCR and HAYAT NGO project. The Centre serves to bring together all refugees from foreign countries in Azerbaijan, providing them with moral support and a second home to congregate and hold shared events and activities. With the help of staff members and women activists, the Centre has become very popular especially among refugees from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Russian Republic of Chechnya.
To strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples, and to shed light on the importance of education, UNDPI Associate Ms. Vafa Safarli delivered an informative presentation which was also part of the Global Education First Initiative.
“Education can contribute to long lasting peace by addressing the underlying inequities which fuel conflicts, and will positively contribute to youth employment, to the empowerment of adolescent girls and women, and to building stable and peaceful societies,” said Safarli in her introductory speech.
Educating the refugees takes paramount importance at the Centre, in line with the operations of Centre director Ms. Zamina Safarova. “The importance of education for refugees cannot be underscored… this is very clear when we set their educative potential against the general population. By and large, they have far more limited access to resources. Therefore it must be our responsibility to run this Centre as a place of learning, and the UN has helped inspire and encourage us in this direction,” said the director.
Ms. Safarli’s presentation on the subject of education for peace attracted significant attention among the refugees present, as they asked pertinent questions regarding this UN campaign. “We understand that this is a very sensitive subject for refugees, given that they have gone through the trials of war and conflict, and the peace and recovery process that must come with it. It is our understanding at the United Nations that an educational focus should be a crucial component of post-conflict development. We are interested in building peace around the world through this enhanced focus,” explained Ms. Safarli in her enlightening speech.
“Today we learned that education is not just about having excellent grades or knowing some subject by heart. We learned the importance of mutual respect and harmony for inclusive and peaceful societies,” said Moustafa Farani, an Afghan refugee who thanked DPI for the session.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by resolution 36/67 of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on the third Tuesday of September. The first Peace Day was observed in September 1982. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.