Against the backdrop of wars and their accompanying human suffering, the Director-General of UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova has called on individuals and nations to “invest” in creating lasting peace.
She has expressed this desire as member countries of the United Nations celebrate International Day of Peace on Sunday, September 21.
“We must be as bold … and invest more in levers to build lasting peace, namely, respect for human rights, human dignity and democratic values,” declared the UNESCO Director-General in her media statement.
The day would be celebrated under the 2014 theme, “Right of Peoples to Peace,” which was selected to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace by the United Nations.
In bringing global perspective and focus to the day, Ms. Bokova said it is necessary to understand the nature of today’s wars and how they impact human life. She indicated that the “seeds of hatred” were being planted by assaults on human dignity, cultural and religious values, and by creating a crisis in education throughout zones of conflict around the world.
In defense against such challenging issues, Bokova believes nations could provide greater access to education. “To counter discourses of hatred that seek to set cultures against each other, we must guarantee universal access to quality education to enable one to withstand calls to violence. To counter the destruction of cultural diversity and the persecution of minorities, we must protect heritage as a force for mutual understanding,” she opined.
In our own communities in St. Kitts and Nevis, citizens are being encouraged to learn more about the day, and how it could bring focus to our own need for tolerance and more peaceful interaction, said Secretary-General Antonio Maynard of the St. Kitts-Nevis National Commission for UNESCO.
According to Mr. Maynard, several civic organizations, the Church, Police, various Ministries of Government, including those of Social Development and Youth, have been invited to engage in symbolic activities on the day.
In her media statement, Bokova indicated that fighting ignorance and censorship must be preserved by greater protection of journalists and support for freedom of expression, while combatting racism, discrimination and extremism.