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Session III
Promoting the Culture of Peace through Education
(Central African Republic)


HE Terje Rød-Larsen, President of the International Peace Institute, New York


HE Michael Frendo, Speaker Emeritus of the Parliament of Malta and former Minister of Foreign Affairs

HE Hamed Al-Azemi, Minister of Education of the State of Kuwait

HE Madame Sylvie Baipo Temon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic

HE Tokia Saïfi, Member of the European Parliament

HE Moukadas Noure, Minister of Education of the Central African Republic

Mr. Mounir Bouchenaki, Advisor to UNESCO for Cultural Heritage


HE Terje Rød-Larsen

President of the International Peace Institute (IPI), New York

Thank you very much and good after noon everyone,

          I hope you enjoyed the lunch and not feel sleepy, sure we should be ready to follow these exciting speeches, but before we start, I want to admit that it is my habit to collect secrets quickly and keep them in a deep well, but today I decided to infringe the rule and I have two surprises that I want to share with you.

          The first is that today is the birthday of Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, the organizer and the sponsor of this event. So happy birthday to you and I hope that every year you are fine” I think we will hold a party after the session…

          The second is the birthday of our colleague Sylvie so “a sweet year for her and for everyone” .

          We need to respect time and I will try to shorten as much as possible.          The theme of the session, is how to develop culture of peace through education with special focus on the Central African Republic



Speech of HE Michael Frendo

Speaker Emeritus of the Parliament of Malta and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.

          You seem to be the repository of a lot of secrets but there is a third secret you don’t know…and that it’s not my birthday today, but it’s my political birthday because on the 13th of June 1987, I was elected 32 years ago for the first time to parliament .So now you don’t talk about anniversaries….and what happened then was that I was very young and idealistic member of parliament and I have to confess that this idealism and positive way has not left me although I grew older.

          I would like to be seen as the person who still has a passion for idealism…passion for what we do…and I think what we’ve been asked to do by Abdulaziz Albabtain, who has devoted so much of his time with passion for peace. So, we’re also passionate about what we’re doing here because it’s a very important aspect for all mankind.

          Of course the experience of the Central Republic of Africa has shown that, of course, you can come to an agreement, that talks can lead to an agreement, that conflict can be overcome but, clearly, it needs also to be an agreement which is implemented but also invigorated by a shared culture of peace and a renewed sense of community away from clan sectarian and tribal allegiances; for we’re all called to make our contribution.

          In the words of Edmond Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”…and I think we all must keep that in mind. We must bear in mind the UNESCO’s constitutional statement that says: “Wars begin in the minds of men. It is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” …and how better can we construct these defenses than by teaching and forming peace in education throughout the whole spectrum of educational formation in all countries particularly in countries where there is an urgent need to address intolerance, tribal and religious division and hatred and the lack of understanding and a unified sense of community. So, we need to work in the light of some events which have shown that peace can be kept…and perhaps one of the biggest examples we have is our much-maligned European union.

          We are at the Hague, the city where historically, in his quest for a continuing peace, Winston Churchill, on the 7th of May 1948 delivered his famous speech to the European congress, propagating the idea of a united Europe; pre-Brexit of course, as a guarantee for peace, security and prosperity for the free peoples of this continent….and this union has managed in fact to keep a vibrant peace for over 70 years by undertaking a unique political, economic and legal construction on the blooded soil of the very continent that was the cause and the main theatre of two world wars in one century.

          At the heart of the European project is the formation of that peace and prosperity is a spirit that takes international collaboration to a new level and to the as yet unique sharing of sovereignty and the creation of supra national institutions to run and govern the union. This spirit needs to be protected even in Europe where individual nationalism is gaining ground and also it needs to be disseminated from Europe throughout the globe. The seed of education for peace, therefore, needs to be sown and nourished widely and consistently to create a global culture of peace which imbues both citizens and governing elites alike.

          I was reading recently the fictional novel of Amine Maalouf, the first century after Beatrice and he chose the unforeseen and tragic consequences of a dramatic unnatural imbalance agenda which resulted from the dissemination of a potion that satisfied the old misguided cultural age for families to have made offspring. What seemed to be a small change, soon resulted in wide spanning consequences…and we must look at that experience and replicate it but for good. We must indeed unleash a culture for peace through education making what may seem to be a small change to achieve a rolling deep metamorphosis; killing misguided notions of aggression as a mark of gender, debunking militarism and unbridled nationalism and instead fostering international cooperation and interdependence, with pacta sunt servanda as is the rule and where might is not right.

          When conflict develops, of course it gains a sole…. momentum and it is therefore for us to create a momentum for peace founded on sustained educational formation because it is in this process that we are able to sustain peace over a number of generations.

          In the words of the great champion of peace and non-violence, the Mahatma Ghandi, and I quote: “If we are to teach real peace in this world and we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” The same fundamental grassroots approach is also reflected in the UNESCO constitution where the premise is that a peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world.

          Peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind. Of course, peace is not an empty vessel. There is no peace without justice. There is no peace without reconciliation. There is no peace without tolerance and mutual respect. Security lies in a global culture of peace. Peace requires also a strong social security net which addresses extreme poverty. There is no peace without development. There is no peace without respect for identity…and therefore as was discussed in an earlier session, peace and cultural heritage are intrinsically tied together.

          To achieve this, we must work on dialogue and understanding as the tools of peace. We must work on interreligious dialogue. We must work on peace education including peace education for the protection of cultural heritage because this is the main tool which we have. In this context therefore, educational institutions at all levels of education, primary, secondary, tertiary and post-tertiary have a fundamental role in the formulation and dissemination of a culture of peace. Teaching children due mutual respect and understanding, tolerance, compassion leads to new leaders who have the wisdom to appreciate the value of peace for their nations and the international community as a whole. I think as prince Turki told us, culture will not stop a bullet but the education for peace can stop that bullet being shot and I think this is a very important consideration we have to keep in mind.

          So, the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation Project for a Culture of Peace for the Security of Future Generations based on a curriculum of the culture of peace, which permeates education globally from kindergarten, to elementary schools, to high schools to universities is a project which requires, not only the support of the United Nations, but also the support of individual governments, of states and of us all because this is creating a new language of peace which needs to become also the language of youth.


          I think that it is important that we keep on renewing our commitment to remain at the service of humanity by putting together our collective energies and cultural diversity to foster the culture of peace, to support the promotion of the culture of peace through education not only in our own individual countries but indeed on a global scale.

Thank you.


Speech of HE Hamed Al-Azemi

Minister of Education of Kuwait

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

I salute you with Islam greeting; Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you all.

          One of the most famous and simple definitions of education is that it is a process of semi-permanent change in the behavior of the individual learner. It is a directed change achieved by the experiences and knowledge acquired by the learner in the education stages.

          It is not surprising, therefore, that the field of education is the best way to draw inspiration from the high human values ​​that are represented by young people and grow with them gradually until education and indoctrination become the primary objective of education.

          The lofty values ​​of peace that are the message of this noble forum are the greatest values ​​the world urgently needs at this difficult time, which has been overshadowed by devastating conflicts and the voices of the war machine.

Dear attendees,

          We are discussing the role of education in spreading a culture of peace and rejecting hatred and hostility. Our mission is very huge, it requires us to exert efforts and to increase energies as to make peace an active behavior for the youth.

          It is well known that achieving this requires a different educational mechanism that is efficient and effective to achieve its intended purpose.

          The desired purpose cannot be achieved only by the flowery talk about the virtues of peace and giving resonant speeches or assigning students to write prose articles.

          In fact, we must strive to inculcate these values ​​to move from indoctrination into behavioral practice in abstract theories of true coexistence.

Dear attendees,

          One of the values ​​that education and teachers should take in order to spread culture is freedom of expression. In societies where mouths are muzzled and the other is not allowed to express a viewpoint, peace cannot be enjoyed. Freedom is a community safety valve. With free expression every oppressed can claim his rights. Believing in the freedom of others to express what they believe in and defend their right to do so is the basic building block in building a fraternal human society, characterized by a climate of friendliness and overwhelmed by a spirit of serenity. Once the culture of respect for the other opinion prevails, the society can absorb the energies of all its members and dedicate them in all that achieves its wishes, success and prosperity.  Dear attendance

          The teaching of human rights, which is the second point for young people , is one of the factors that help spread the culture and peace, when the individual realizes that others have rights and they should enjoy and are not deprived of, it will promote the values ​​of peaceful coexistence between individuals. The preservation of rights becomes a protective barrier against internal infiltration and an effective remedy that uproots any seed of conflict that arises because a group feels injustice and deprivation.

          In the field of education, it is a practical field that allows to achieve this goal by combating the phenomena of student violence, mass brawl, violence and dealing with the cases of bullying that some students face so that society can get rid of its future pains and eliminate the culture of violence in its infancy.

Dear attendees,

          It is one of the duties that should be undertaken by the different educational institutions in order to spread the culture of peace, to direct the outputs of education to meet the needs of the actual labor markets and to master the creation of innovative disciplines. And find graduate students job opportunities so that the efforts of these learners would not be in vain  without  benefit from them after many years of effort and perseverance.

          The specter of unemployment is in grave danger to societal peace. When the proportion of the unemployed increases, the society crowds with graduates who do not find decent jobs  that match with their degrees  and their specialties, this  undoubtedly creates a stifling sense of despair and will have bad consequences for the individual and society.

          Achieving that great goal, which is discussed above, requires the future educational institutions to work hard and efficiently to prepare the necessary cadres for the advancement of teachers, specialists, trainers and assisting cadres qualified to instill these values ​​in the souls of youth and teach them real and good  ideals.  It requires as well preparing  curricula that include those noble ends. It works through the educational process to turn them into recommendations, directives and concrete reality so we can  pick its  fruit in a reasonable period.

          There is no doubt that this requires the rehabilitation of the entire education sector and the appropriate preparation of those responsible through workshops and other tools.  

          In this regard, we should not lose sight of the duties of the international organizations of the United Nations and the voluntary humanitarian organizations, which have a valuable asset from which they are able to supervise the development of educational institutions in countries that have been affected by civil strife and internal wars.

 In conclusion, May  God reconcile you.

Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you all.


Speech of HE Madame Sylvie Baipo Temon

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic

Thank you very much,

Thank you very much for revealing my secret.


Presidents and Heads of State,

Excellency, Mr. President of the Kuwaiti Parliament.

Your Excellencies Mrs. and Mr. Ministers and Presidents of organizations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          It is with great pleasure that I take part to this conference today under the theme ‘the culture of peace through education’, on behalf of the Central African Republic. I am also pleased that this panel is chaired by Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen, the President of the International Peace Institute.

          Before sharing my comments with you, I would also like to express my deepest thanks to the President of the Cultural Foundation Mr. Abdulaziz Saud al Babtain. Thank you for the welcome that the Central African delegation has received. Please allow me also to congratulate you and your teams for the quality of the organization of this conference.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Heads of State,

          As said in the preamble, it is a real pleasure to speak on the theme of “the culture of peace through education”, a theme that is dear to all of us, in general, but in particular, to the Central African Republic, my country, for which the concept of culture of peace is fundamental. It is difficult to note that in 2019, the concept of culture of peace is still the order of the day, because of the existence of conflict and war around the world. Referring to the Constitutional Act of the UNESCO, which my predecessor mentioned, and already enunciated in 1945, I quote: “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

          Is it therefore useful to remind everyone of the emergency to multiply and especially to gather our efforts for a better efficiency in the processes and the dynamics that we all undertake, in the name of the concept of a culture of peace?

          Thirty-seven years after the entry into force of the UNESCO Constitution act, this culture of peace through education remains a challenge for all of us, and still in many countries, if not in all countries, because conflicts and wars are multiplying around the world, undermining all our efforts to build a long lasting peace at both national and international levels.

          Beyond this ascertainment, we also observe, in a comforting and optimistic manner, that significant efforts are being made in some countries, albeit with difficulty, but with the conviction of political leaders. This is the case in the Central African Republic where the firm will of his Excellency Professor Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Republic and Head of State, is retain only a peaceful solution to the crisis in Central Africa.

          A will, which is in total coherence and in accordance with the principles even established by international institutions, such as for example UNESCO, which has identified as an area of ​​action for Africa in the framework of its draft medium-term strategy  terms from 2014 to 2021: “building peace through building inclusive, peaceful and resilient societies.” Another example is the United Nations Resolution, which also defines: a culture of peace as a set of attitude values, behavior and lifestyle that reject violence and prevents conflict by attacking their roots through dialogue and negotiation between individuals, groups and states.

Ladies and gentlemen,

          Peace is first and foremost   a question of conviction, and of morality. We must believe firmly in cultivating and educating it. For this reason, the African Central Authorities, have been multiplying its efforts in order to meet peace conditions. As for example through the consideration of the demands of armed groups, the expression of opinions, the hand is extended for participation of all the nation ‘components in public life and the reconstruction of the republic, dialogue being the only solution for conflict resolution and other approvals.

          I therefore urge all countries and organizations here present, such as Kuwait, Tunisia or organizations like the International Peace Institute, the organization of Islamic cooperation, the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, to recognize and support the efforts of the Central African authorities in the framework of bilateral and multilateral relations, in the name of the values ​​we share.

          The culture of peace in the Central African Republic must be supported so that my country “the Central African Republic benefits more of its quest for economic and social development, the only way to fight against inequalities, poverty, exclusion, ignorance and prejudices.

          The culture of peace in the Central African Republic must be supported so that my country, the “Central African Republic,” benefits more from its quest for economic and social development, the only way to fight against inequalities, poverty, exclusion, ignorance and prejudices.

          So many elements of exploitation by the actors of the hierarchy, values ​​which maintain the inequalities between men according to the gender, the color, the community membership and so on.

Ladies and gentlemen,

          History is there to remind us that the exploitation of ignorance was the cause of the Second World War and the origin of the constitution of the institution of the United Nations which is the UNESCO. The exploitation of ignorance is still the cause of many conflicts and wars. It is therefore more than urgent that we share the same desire to cultivate peace in our behavior, our attitudes, our minds and our morals.

          Since education is the only instrument available to all to preach, popularize, inculcate and instruct a culture of peace, and no longer that of war individually and collectively, its promotion is to be valued without discrimination.

Your Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Heads of State,

Ladies, and Gentlemen,

          Peace being an abstract notion, an absolved ideal, it cannot be imposed in fact.

          I will end my speech by recalling that the constitutive act of UNESCO states: “War is born in the minds of men, it is to say to you that a man who is not at peace with himself, cannot be at peace with other men. We have been able to create wars and we are therefore able to create peace.’’

Long live the international solidarity,

 Thank you for your kind attention.


Speech of HE Tokia Saïfi

Member of the European Parliament

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

          First and foremost, I would like to thank, Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, President of the Foundation, whom I am very happy to meet today.

          We had held a session a few years ago, you spoke about the dialogue of religions it that morning in the European Parliament. It had been extremely positive, and I wanted to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to speak to you today in this place so symbolic for peace, to be able to reflect on the need to promote, to share and to anchor the culture of peace in our societies.

          I would rather present the vision of the European institutions and the European Parliament, in the case of a very concrete example. As a member of the European Parliament, I must say that the European construction is the perfect example. In the aftermath of the second world war, and in order to overcome the antagonisms between the European states, to push back the nationalist aspirations and to counter the spirits of revenge, the European integration has disseminated the culture of peace.

          Indeed, the economic integration was the first driver but quickly, education and culture were imposed, so we often lend to Jean Monet, one of the founding fathers of the European Union this quote ‘if it were to do again, I would start with culture ‘.

          Bringing education systems closer to Europe and opening up to the culture of the other, have therefore been one of the priorities of the constitution of the European Union, with, of course, the establishment of the common market.

          I would like in this background of culture, education, culture of peace, to take a very concrete example,

          I think I can say here that the Erasmus program is in this sense one of the greatest European successes. Launched in 1987, this program has enabled 9 million young Europeans to get to know each other, to open up to each other and to build a real sense of belonging.

          They had the opportunity to study in another European country, it was not only an added value in their educational path, but a way of building a beyond national borders community.

          Discovering another culture, understanding the institutional functioning and experiencing the daily life of its European neighbors, has strengthened more than ever peace in Europe. Thus, we often speak of an Erasmus generation, which today believes in Europe, has made of Europe an asset of peace, an asset and a fundamental value.

          Today we continue the fight to amplify this program and expand it to everyone. The European Parliament is currently struggling to triple the budget of the Erasmus+ program, that 2% of the European Union’s budget is devoted to it, a loan of 40 billion euros over 7 years.

          Education has therefore been and is still the instrument of construction and the perpetuation of peace on the European continent. As well as at a global level, the states must be at the height of this issue, by ensuring access for all and especially for young girls, ensuring access to quality education at all levels and investing heavily in the development, improvement and strengthening of the education system, we cannot do without these investments to build peace, not only today but especially for the future generations.

Thank you.


Speech of HE Moukadas Noure

Minister of Education of the Central African Republic

Thank you, Mr. president, for giving me the chance to express myself.

Your Excellency, Mr. Speaker of the Kuwaiti Parliament,

Your Excellency the former Maltese President,

Your Excellency, the former President of Turkey,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen Presidents of the Organizations and Chief of delegations invited to this forum,

          I would first like to express my deepest thanks to the chairman of the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, for the invitation and especially the welcome, which was reserved for the central African delegation .

          My presentation, or if you like my speech, will be focused on the program of education for citizenship and social cohesion in schools and communities in my country, i.e., the Central African Republic. Elected president of the Central African Republic  in February 2016, his excellency, Professor Faustin-Archange Touadéra, was confronted with the emergency of a recovery of this country which was deeply bruised; it can even be said in ruins, and especially divided deeply by the intercommunity conflicts.

          In terms of education system, thanks to the support of AFDE, which is a French development agency, in the education sector, we have managed to develop a political education program RESEL. I would say that we are one of the few countries in the sub-region to develop this program, despite the difficulties that the country has experienced. It is a holistic global political program that makes diagnostics of education systems for future interventions.

          We were the only country in the sub-region to do so, despite our financial difficulties. In relation to the world forum for peace, and which is of course related to education in our country. Let me again point out a phenomenon that may seem trivial, and even bizarre for the specialists of education systems, that We in Central African Republic, despite the political military crises,  succeeded in organizing during three consecutive years the exams and assessments in all our academic inspections.

          For your understanding, out of the 16 districts we have, we have 8 academic inspections, and, in these inspections, we managed for 3 consecutive years to organize all exams and assessments.

          And the great lessons that we learned from this experience, which also allowed us to achieve this objective, and despite the divergence and these armed groups, these political military groups, they at least agreed on a fact: It was to let the children go to school, despite war situations, differences, they at least agreed on this point that we must let children go to school, and we, we have taken advantage of this situation to go in their direction.

          And then, in my country, I spoke earlier of RESEL, which is the state report of the education system, in fact it is that, it is an obligation from our partners, who accompany us to have this instrument in order to facilitate the interventions, so there was a complete diagnosis of the education system through the RESEL, which is this report state, and thanks to which we have developed a sectorial  strategy, which knew the arbitration of our partners and all that to reach universal school enrollment in 2020, this is according to the objectives set by UNESCO.

          And one of the major’s axes of the text is to be able to completely reform the education system, with a focus on the education of the ideals of peace, tolerance, solidarity and to contribute to take root of democratic values.

          And within this optic, the government has accepted and supported financially, despite the cash flow issue that characterizes our finance, public finance of course, the government has accepted and funded a manual for Central African children.

          And a manual that focuses on the culture of peace in elementary and secondary schools.

I might come back to this topic later on.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Heads of State,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

          Despite this crisis, which has characterized, which still characterizes our country, access to education in Central Africa is practically free.

          Later, one  intervention will talk about access to education. In Central Africa, access to education is free and a focus is put on girls and young women, to facilitate their access to education, for example ignoring age criteria for the girls in relation to their access to school.

          So, I will not go through further details, you see that there are issues, we must deal with these issues, and we also have objectives to achieve, and especially regarding the issue of citizenship education, the culture of peace, our education system needs financial support, to carry out these activities. We need financial support.

          First, we have to make our students sit on benches and tables to attend classes, we cannot understand as a forest country, for those who know Central Africa is situated in the very heart of Africa, that students have to sit on the floor to attend classes. It is difficult to explain this phenomenon.

          And then, second, we must help, partners of course, to the financing of the manual related to the culture of peace, and on civic education, because one of the words that undermines our country, which makes that we are always facing this recurrent crisis, it is due to the fact that some of our countrymen do not even know the history of their countries, because of the successive migrations, which makes that there are certain countrymen who think that others are foreigners in their own countries.

          And here, there must be a culture that focuses on the cultural heritage and history, one of the issues of the citizenship problematic, in order to fill what I can call this insufficiency and that creates conflicts.

          It is to mention that our country has experienced successive migrations, waves of migrations of the population.

          And in fact, there is always the recurring problem of the rehabilitation and the construction of the schools, because generally through the military political crises that the country has known, the military political groups have this reflex. As soon as it occupies a locality , a commune, or a village, the first thing is to go settle in schools, they make it  their bases, and with their withdrawals, it is the tables and benches which are destroyed and they are turned into firewood, it is the sheets that go away, and you imagine the damage.

          And in fact, there is always the recurring problem of the rehabilitation and the construction of the schools, because generally through the military political crises that the country has known, the military political groups have the reflex, as soon as they occupies a locality ,a commune, or a village, the first thing is to go settle in schools, and make it their bases, and after their departures, it is the tables and benches which are destroyed and they are turned into firewood, it is the sheets that go away, and you imagine the damage.

          So, there is a real high demand at this level concerning rehabilitation and construction.

          Finally, we are convinced that with the normalization of democratic life, my country through the signature of the peace agreement  initialed in Khartoum and signed in Bongui – and thanks to the support of our Bilateral and multilateral partners, without forgetting the cultural foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain, we will surely succeed in rebuilding the social stratum, our citizens, and we will achieve the results we all want to attain.



Speech of Mr. Mounir Bouchenaki

Advisor to UNESCO for Cultural Heritage

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me with my friend Dr Nejib Friji.

          A few months ago, we heard about this important meeting which is supported very strongly by a very important personality from Kuwait; Mr. Abdulaziz Albabtain, very well-known by UNESCO for his support to education, but in particular to culture today and particularly cultural heritage.

          I’m also willing to say that here I was twenty years ago with Federico Mayor, the then director general of UNESCO to present the second protocol of the 1954 convention which was mentioned this morning as the first UNESCO convention concerning the protection of cultural heritage in case of armed conflict…and we discovered when I was in UNESCO since 1982 that unfortunately, the elements of this convention were not possible to apply in the new conflicts that started after the second world war; because we have seen a number of conflicts internally when the convention was speaking about conflicts between states.

          These new conflicts we were looking at them on the basis of two points: one; it was civil wars, internal conflicts of course damaging the populations, people dying, refugees, but also, and this was the new element of these new conflicts, cultural heritage became a target and in my career at UNESCO and then at ICCROM, I have seen progressively cities, monuments, museums targeted and I am really pleased to see here his Excellency Haris Silajdzic when he was in Bosnia.

          One of the main subjects that we were you know hurt when the crisis of the former Yugoslavia started is to see that a site which was on the world heritage list, a city, Dubrovnik was targeted and then followed a series of degradations and attacks against cultural heritage. The city of Vukovar, and I was there, the city of Mostar, Sarajevo, Banialuka and then the crisis in Lebanon. It’s a tragedy I have followed unfortunately, and this was our task, I’m speaking also on behalf of my colleague Lazare Eloundou who is the director of the IUCN dealing actually with the follow up of the crisis and he was confronted with the destruction of the mausoleums in Tombouctou, in Mali and we have seen all these crises developing.

          In Afghanistan, I had a long week of discussion with the Islamic Cooperation Institution, with ALECSO, with ISESCO but we couldn’t stop the Taliban destroying the Budha of Bamiyan and this was a big shock all over the world, saying: You see Islam is against other religions and they are destroying the Buddhist very important statues. Then the continuation of the war in Cambodia with the Red Khmers, monuments were attacked, objects were stolen. So always, if you follow all these crises, you see that cultural heritage was a target. What we did in UNESCO, we prepared in-relations with countries as soon as security was accessible, we prepared a plan of rehabilitation, reconstruction like we are doing.

          One month ago, I went with Lazare Eloundou in Iraq. We went to Mosul, we saw the two communities which are still having some establishment that they want to see them reconstructed: the Christian community with the Church of the Clock, and we saw the president of the Christian community in Mosul, and the Muslim community and we have seen how they want to have Masjed Ennouri to be reconstructed. It was the same when I remember, Mr. Siladjzic, Mostar was divided into two: Mostar East, Mostar West but the Bridge of Mostar was considered as one element that should be reconstructed to give back some confidence to the population and to bring back, if possible, the communities.

          It was the same in Lebanon: The National Museum was on the demarcation line between the belligerents. I saw the Prime Minister at that time after the peace agreement, after the Taief agreement and it was decided that UNESCO will work on the rehabilitation of the National Museum of Beirut. All this is to tell you that actually, one of the best examples of rehabilitation, reconstruction and return to a peaceful situation is Cambodia. I’m just back; I travelled the day before yesterday from Angkor to the Hague and we have seen now after 25 years of the creation of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Site of Angkor that now the situation is back and we had the minister of education, a minister of Tourism, all the responsible people and we had also a training session for the Buddhist monks to explain the value of cultural heritage.

          This is the core of the culture of peace. If we want to come to a situation where people can live together, they have to learn about the value of cultural heritage and this morning, his highness, the prince Turki said: tangible and intangible. We had also in the UNESCO, and I was privileged to work on the 2003 convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and then of the last convention of UNESCO on the preservation and promotion of the expressions of cultural diversity. These are the key words that should enter into the programs of education. We work with ALECSO, we work with ISESCO. The ministers of Education have now a huge responsibility to introduce the teaching of history, of geography, of arts and I was, when I was young, a teacher of geography. So, I know what I am speaking about. At that time, history and geography were subject to an exam. Today, they are not. Today, you study, you listen to history, to geography but it’s not like mathematics, like physics and chemistry. It’s not sanctioned by an exam. So, it’s not an important subject, let’s say. We have to come back, to give to history, to geography an important place in education.

          I want to conclude in saying that at the end of the nineties, Norway assisted UNESCO to launch a program which is called: Cultural Heritage in the hands of young people. This program then was financed by a French company which was celebrating its one hundred-fiftieth anniversary, the Rhone Poulenc Foundation, and they came to UNESCO, and they said: “We want to give 150000 Dollars to UNESCO for education,” and I added: “Education to Heritage”. I think this an important tool which is now translated into 30 languages in the world, and I attended missions in Latin America, in Asia, in Africa.

          Now this is, I think, one concrete element for introducing in the minds of the young people the value of respecting the other. I am always shocked when I see in the news that a young man or a young woman is going to blow up her body and kill herself in order to kill others. What is in her mind? What is in his mind? I think we have to put these questions in the center of what the culture of peace could be.

Thank you for your attention.


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