Government of Sri Lanka and UNICEF host the South Asia Regional Symposium on Sustainable Peace and Education

27 May 2016

27 May 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka - UNICEF in partnership with Ministry of Education hosts the first ever South Asia Symposium on Sustainable Peace and Education in Sri Lanka. The symposium aims to build greater awareness on the role of education in building sustainable peace.

Conflict and violence affects children, displacing them from communities and their right to education. According to the UNICEF-UNESCO report ‘Educate all Girls and Boys in South Asia’ 2015, 36 million children and adolescents are out of school as a result of conflict and political instability.

Sustainable Development can happen only in peaceful societies and education is essential for peace. We need to prevent violence against children in all its forms. We must all strive not only to get all children to school but also support an education system that promotes peace, social cohesion and resilience” said Philippe Cori, Deputy Regional Director, UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia. He added that “Investment in education for peace is necessary for sustained development and growth of societies.”

Many countries in South Asia have witnessed a number of conflicts and civil strife. Social and economic factors such as inequities, poverty, discrimination and poor governance which are prevalent in South Asia are drivers of conflict.

Quality education can be an entry point to promote peace, social cohesion and resilience. Speaking about the symposium the Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said “The Government of Sri Lanka welcomes this initiative as part of our vision to promote peace and social cohesion through education for peace and sustainable development”.

“Seven years since the three decades of conflict ended, Sri Lanka is at the forefront in recognizing and harnessing the power of education for peace and reconciliation” says UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative, Una McCauley.

Evidence suggests that violence, conflict and trauma affects the brain development of young children, which if not corrected early, have a life-long and inter-generational impact.

About the South Asia Regional Symposium on Sustainable Peace and Education: The Symposium brings together high-level government officials, NGO and eminent scholars including Dr. Lynn Davies. the University of Birmingham; Dr. Mario Novelli,University of Sussex; Dr. Alan Smith, University of Ulster; Ms. Shameena Imtiaz, Executive Director, Peace Education And Development Foundation Pakistan; Prof. Pratibha Singhi from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India; and Dr. Farida Khan from Department of Educational Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia.

Key themes include;

  • Linkage between peace and education through the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) with a focus on SDG’s 4 and 16.
  • Peace, conflict and social cohesion and the impact and role of education in building peace.
  • Country experiences using the life cycle approach to education from early childhood to adolescents.


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UNICEF Bangladesh
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