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Day Two: February 21, 2024

Session 3: 10:00 - 11:30

Peace and Social Development

Session Moderator:

          - Dr. Rashid Al-Hamad - Kuwait

Main Discussant:

          - Dr. Mona Al-Hadidi - the Arab Republic of Egypt


A-  Ensuring Integration and Participation (Women / Youth / Minorities)

          1- Dr. Gilda Hoxha - Albania

          2- Dr. Nevine Mossaad - the Arab Republic of Egypt

B- Directing Development Programmes (Health / Education / Urban Development)

          3- Dr. Gordon Sammut - Malta

          4- Dr. Anasse Bouhlal - Finland



A- Ensuring Integration and Participation (Women / Youth / Minorities)

1- Dr. Gilda Hoxha - Albania


Integration and participation of women, youth and minorities withing academic debate and social activism has as progressively been adopted in public policies, in the past years. All three of these social groups in academic discourse are articulated with intersectionality. Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term ‘intersectionality’ three decades ago, the concept has traveled across disciplines and geographical contexts (Barbera, 2023). In practice ‘intersectionality’ is linked to the judicial praxis and grassroots activism has been crucial within societies but especially in the US context. The numerous recommendations of international Human Rights bodies to address intersectional inequalities through law and policies show the urgency to tackle the imbalance between the theoretical and practical dimensions of intersectionality in Europe.

Intersectionality reveals how the interaction of multiple factors of discrimination generates interconnected forms of vulnerability. It helps to recognize how a ‘matrix of domination’ (Hill, 1990) constituted not only by sexism, but also by racism, xenophobia, coloniality, nationalism, homophobia, and ableism makes the experience of discrimination different depending on individual and collective social positions. 

Intersectionality reflects a longstanding criticism against the focus on women as the archetypal subject of antidiscrimination efforts. It calls attention to how the ‘women approach’ – aiming at integrating women into the social and political institutions that historically excluded them – does not take into account the multiplicity of interconnected social structures women is embedded in (Kantola & Lombardo, 2017). Intersectionality aligns with the ‘gender approach’ in the diagnosis of the historically and geographically situated position of women within gendered social relations, and in calling for transforming the forces that generate structural gender inequalities, which –if unaddressed– are perpetuated by law and policies (Kantola & Lombardo, 2017).

The introduction of intersectionality in international recommendations on the elimination of gender, race, and disability discrimination has also prompted the scrutiny of its relation to diversity approaches (Hankvisky & Cormier, 2011). Diversity has become a buzzword to describe social heterogeneity without making explicit the unequal distribution of power that originates exclusion or discrimination (Jacobs, 2022).     

Although addressed by an increasing number of studies, the role of gender in youth participation along with the specificities of young women’s political engagement remain underexplored in both, policy and academic literature. In order to fill this gap and bring our knowledge of young women’s participation forward, this research presents an overview of the concepts and processes useful to understand the factors at the basis of gender inequality in youth political participation, as well as an illustration of the key topics addressed in this area, such as safe spaces, digital technologies and online gender-based violence, autonomy of young women, intersectionality and patterns of participation of young women from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Council of Europe reports (Anna Lavizzari; Laden Yurttagüler, 2023) argues that studies providing relevant background information about young people’s participation have looked at the intertwined issues of autonomy and access to rights. Moreover, young people are, generally, more strongly affected by the effects of the economic crisis and associated austerity measure (Hamilton, Antonucci, & Roberts, 2014) ranging from promoting flexible labour market schemes cuts in state support for students in higher education.

Young people have been also strongly affected by the economic turbulence during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Although economic crisis, austerity measures, or the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have a negative impact on young people’s autonomy, certain groups, such as young women, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. According to the European Parliament’s report on women’s poverty,

“…the pandemic has disproportionately affected women in the socio-economic sphere, has deepened existing discrimination and resulted in even more inequalities between women and men in the labour market …” (European Parliament, 2022) 

The tendency of law and public policies to associate intersectionality to diversity and multiple discrimination in political practice is paradoxical because intersectionality aims at challenging the equality policies that focus on identities rather than on parameters of social justice.



The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that every action taken by the EU is founded on treaties that have been approved voluntarily and democratically by all Member States. Treaties are legally binding agreements between Member States that set out EU objectives, rules for EU institutions, how decisions are made and the relationship between the EU and its Member States. Equality between women and men is recognised by the EU as a fundamental principle, a core value of the EU and a necessary condition for the achievement of the EU objectives of growth, employment and social cohesion.Since 1996, the Commission has committed itself to a ‘dual approach’ towards realising gender equality. This approach involves mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies, while also implementing specific measures to eliminate, prevent or remedy gender inequalities. Both approaches go hand in hand, and one cannot replace the other. Gender mainstreaming is not a policy goal in itself, but a means to achieve gender equality. Gender equality is a fundamental value of the EU enshrined in overarching EU legal and policy documents.

  • Articles 2 and 3 of the founding Treaty on European Union (TEU), Articles 21 and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) call for equality between women and men. Article 8 of the TFEU, for example, explicitly requires the Union to ‘eliminate inequalities and promote equality between women and men through all its activities’ (gender mainstreaming).

  • The Treaty of Lisbon includes a commitment to gender equality through Declaration 19, annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference that adopted the treaty.

The 2020–2025 gender equality strategy sets out policy objectives and actions towards a gender-equal Europe where ‘women and men, girls and boys in all their diversity, are free to pursue their chosen path of life, have equal opportunities to thrive and equally participate in and lead our European society’. Based on this commitment, action at Member State level and EU level will be taken in the following fields: ending gender-based violence, challenging gender stereotypes, closing gender gaps in the labour market, achieving equal participation across different sectors of the economy, addressing the gender pay and pension gap, closing the gender care gap, and achieving gender balance in decision-making and politics. Implementation should be based on the dual approach of targeted measures to achieve gender equality, combined with strengthened gender mainstreaming and the intersectionality of gender with other grounds for discrimination. Progress made in the implementation of the strategy is to be monitored and reported to the European Parliament and the Council on an annual basis and serve as an annual political stock-taking of progress made. The strategy highlights that the Commission will measure its expenditure related to gender equality at programme level and use gender mainstreaming in its budget process.

The European Pillar of Social Rights lays down 20 key principles as a framework for convergence towards better living and working conditions across the EU. It is structured around three categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, and social protection and inclusion. The EU has adopted six directives covering equality between women and men in the workplace, in self-employment, in access to goods and services, in social security, in pregnancy and maternity and on family-related leave and flexible working arrangements for parents and carers. Together they have progressively set a legal standard across Europe, ensuring a broad protection from discrimination. The work-life balance directive champions gender equality and focuses on delivering key elements of the European Pillar of Social Rights (key principle 9: work-life balance, through legal and policy measures).

It introduces minimum standards for family leave and flexible working arrangements for workers and promotes the equal sharing of caring responsibilities between parents to make both parents responsible and entitled when it comes to family care. It focuses mainly on a broad approach in order to address the under-representation of women in the labour market and aims at enabling parents (and other people with caring responsibilities) to better balance their work and family lives, while taking into account the gender equality aspect of sharing of such responsibilities between women and men. Furthermore, it is envisaged that good practices be shared with social partners and Member States through seminars under the mutual learning programme

Tackling the gender pay gap is a clear priority for the Commission. This is further supported in the Barcelona objectives which called on the Member States to remove disincentives to women’s labour force participation by taking into account the demand for childcare services, in line with the national patterns of childcare provision, to increase its provision. These efforts have recently been supported by the Council conclusions of 2 December 2020, where the Council called upon the Member States to take steps to facilitate equal access to parental leave for women and men and the equal distribution between women and men of unpaid care work (including domestic work) and improve public infrastructure and the availability of external services to support equal sharing.

Based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and after the Commission communication ‘EUROPE 2020’: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’, the guidelines for employment policies of the Member States 2020/0030 (NLE) integrate elements related to the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, the green and digital transitions and the UN SDGs, and are to guide employment policy implementation in the EU and its Member States. The convergence across the EU is renewed with a coordinated strategy for employment and particularly for promoting a skilled, trained and adaptable workforce and labour markets that are future oriented and responsive to economic change, the objectives of full employment and social progress, balanced growth, a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, as laid down in Article 3 of the TEU.

The 2021–2027 EU cohesion policy contributes to strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU, one of its five objectives being ‘a more social and inclusive Europe’. The policy’s focus during this period remains sustainable economic competitiveness through research and innovation, the digital transition, the European Green Deal objectives and the promotion of the European Pillar of Social Rights  with its 20 principles guiding towards ‘a strong social Europe that is fair, inclusive and full of opportunity’, with three specific targets to be reached by 2030 on employment, access to training and reducing the risk of poverty. In line with the pillar, the CPR sets out common rules for EU shared management funds, including horizontal principles.

This includes gender equality as ‘Member States and the Commission shall ensure that equality between men and women, gender mainstreaming and the integration of a gender perspective are taken into account and promoted throughout the preparation, implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of programmes’ (Regulation (EU) 2021/1060, Article 9(2)). Thus, the implementation should be based on a dual approach for programmes whose main target is to achieve gender equality and/or programmes that are gender mainstreamed. Beyond the EU, the SDGs adopted by all UN Member States in 2015 comprise 17 global goals aimed at ending poverty and other deprivations together with the implementation of strategies to improve health and education, reduce inequality and support economic growth. Climate change and the preservation of oceans and forests are also defined as important issues. Gender equality is a cross-cutting element of all 17 global goals and a stand-alone goal in its own right. SDG 5 – ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ aims specifically at objectives linked to the proposed tracking system at hand (indicated in bold letters). It highlights the need to:

  • end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere;

  • eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation;

  • eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation;

  • recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate;

  • ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life;

  • ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the programme of action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences;

  • undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, along with access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws;

  • enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women;

  • adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

Due to their commitment to the SDGs, countries must follow-up and review the progress made towards the goals and targets over the next 15 years. In order to provide such information, progress will have to be monitored via quality, accessible and timely data collection and review. With particular relevance for this report, the SDG indicator 5.c.1 seeks to measure government efforts to track budget allocations for gender equality throughout the public finance management cycle and to make these publicly available. Indicator 5.c.1 aims to encourage governments to develop appropriate budget tracking and monitoring systems, and to commit to making information about allocations for gender equality readily available to the public.



The 2030 UN Youth Strategy is based on the global vision of a world in which the human rights of every young person are realized; every young person is empowered to reach their full potential; and which recognizes the capacity, resilience and positive contribution of youth as agents of change. Equipped with the necessary skills and opportunities to reach their potential, youth can be a driving force supporting development and contributing to peace and security. Based on the developments of this strategy, youth-led organizations are expected to be encouraged and empowered to participate in adopting and transferring the goals of the 2030 Agenda into local, national, and regional policies.

Through political engagement and suitable resources, youth have the potential to transform the world most effectively into a better place for everyone. From the SDGs perspective, it is particularly important that no child or young person is left behind and without development. The SDGs directly impacting youth and their development in this strategy are as follows:  SDG 3 - Good health and wellbeing - ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being of youth, particularly under the circumstances of living through a pandemic such as COVID-19, remains a key global objective to be achieved.  SDG 4 - Quality education is closely linked to better opportunities for employment and career progression to escape poverty. The pandemic situation has also impacted this goal by directly reducing the number of children attending school, thus threatening the up-to-date education achievements across the world. SDG 5 - Gender equality - current developments regarding gender equality in Albania indicate that equality is a foundational requirement to ensure sustainable and peaceful development. This strategy seeks to address this goal in every aspect, by trying to urge the implementation of measures on female youth employment and protection against domestic violence. At the same time, the strategy also tackles issues related to supporting youth expression in terms of their gender identities and LGBTI rights.  SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth – this objective has challenged every government across the globe due to the pandemic crisis and the impact it has had on the economic life of youth.

Taking measures to ensure ongoing employment of youth domestically by increasing youth mobility and employment outside of urban centers is a priority of the Minister of State for Youth and Children in collaboration with the line ministries that are responsible for employment.  SDG 10 - Reducing inequalities remains a fundamental priority of this strategy in regard to the developmental philosophy of not leaving any youth behind and by making them an integral part in the achievement of sustainable development goals through ensuring their engagement in every process.  SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities can only be regarded as such when youth can build their lives there without viewing migration within and outside the country as an option of individual development. Through the increase of opportunities for employment, recreation, and social engagement at municipal level with dedicated youth spaces, greater sustainability and urban and rural development across the country will be achieved.  SDG 13 - Climate action in a global situation where every year marks increasingly higher records of global warming and where the quality of air and water is deteriorating, requires the involvement of youth and youth organizations to bring about changes to the global approach to this phenomenon. The war in Ukraine and the pandemic further exacerbates the challenge and difficulties for development in this area, but this strategy considers the involvement in green deals on employment and economic development as measures that would also have an impact on this process. The engagement of youth in climate actions remains a priority.  SDG 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions constitute the core of the development regarding the work with youth, by ensuring that the institutions responsible provide not only quality services to youth, but also youth-friendly and youth-adapted services. The institutional strengthening of organizations and young people, by enhancing their role in the development of an effective justice system, is viewed as a priority under these strategy measures.  SDG 17 - Partnerships for the goals ensure complete levels of cooperation with the UN and its network of organizations present in Albania, as well as partnerships at regional level by founding them on youth collaboration based on the experience acquired through the cooperation established in the framework of RYCO. The youth in all consultation meetings with government representatives have strongly emphasized the need for more employment opportunities, career counselling and professional development within the country, in line with SDG 8. They aim and view their development as linked to innovation and quality education, as well as to the protection and development of the country and environment by relating these requests to SDGs 4 and 13. Young people are not satisfied with just their requests for good physical and mental health, but also require increased inclusion in the society and not to be excluded from development. This request is linked to SDGs 3, 10, 11 and 16. Meanwhile, their requests for youth collaboration and mobility are based on SDG 17.

Youth is at the center of the 2021-2025 governance program, as it considers youth development and its role in the country’s development as integrated into the main areas of the program, under the National Youth Strategy 2021-2025 as follows;

 In terms of economic development, the government program emphasizes the trust that the government has in youth as a force that will accelerate progress towards the next generation in Albania. Thus, a commitment has been made not only to provide better education opportunities in priority areas, such as sciences, technology and engineering, but also opportunities for them to become future entrepreneurs in the fields of technology and innovation in order to efficiently compete in the global market.

In the process of developing a strong economy based on modernization, productivity and competitiveness, Albania is viewed as a regional hub for new ventures in digital economy, providing dignified work for youth in order to achieve a qualitative cornerstone in youth employment.  In terms of developing the knowledge society, the government program aims at rebuilding the education system to make it more accessible and to provide modern infrastructure by driving youth toward the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The government vision for Albania 2030 does not only consider youth in terms of developing service infrastructure for their care and growth. Special attention is paid to developing new policies for better health, higher quality education, and alternative spaces that promote youth training and talents. Regarding education, as also provided in the 2021-26 National Education Strategy, the development of new school infrastructure resulting also from the damages of the earthquakes in 2019 is followed by a plan for developing the education system to provide young people with competitive knowledge and information. This will be achieved through: investments in technology and laboratory infrastructure, as well as enhancing the value of diplomas in the labour market and strengthening local higher education institutions. Quality growth is expected in education as a result of English becoming compulsory from the first grade, provision of coding courses and development of school sports programs.


Women socio-political position.

Albania has made remarkable progress in promoting women’s political participation. According to the 2023 “Women in Politics” global map developed by UN Women and Inter Parliamentary Union, the country ranks 1st for share of women cabinet ministers, and 42nd for percentage of women in Parliament, representing an improvement of 12 positions from 2021 when Albania was ranked 54th globally. However, at the local level, women’s representation is still lower compared to men’s: 44% of local councils' seats were won by women during the 2019 local election and in only 8 of the 61 municipalities (13%) women were elected as mayors, which is even lower than EU average.

Ahead of the start of the campaign, the United Nations in Albania reached out to political party leaders, advocating for women’s full and meaningful participation in local elections, and presenting a set of recommendations in three key areas. First, continue to promote women’s representation at local level: the UN called for political parties to rigorously uphold the 50% gender quotas for the candidates lists for councilors as set forth by the Electoral Code, as well as the active participation of all women and girls in elections both as voters and as candidates, including women and girls with disabilities, Roma and Egyptian women, young women and rural women and girls. The UN specifically called for increasing the number of women candidates for mayoral positions. However, only 15 of 144 mayoral candidates (10.4%) are women which is even lower compared to the proportion of women candidates in the 2019 local elections.

National plans, policies and budgets are strategic opportunities for governments to turn their commitments into practical steps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women by 2030, a central commitment within the Sustainable Development Goals. Fulfillment of commitments to gender equality requires innovative public policy tools like gender-responsive budgeting (GRB), which comprehensively assesses gender gaps and identifies actions to close them.

GRB has been identified as key tool for advancing gender equality through government action. In this regard, Albania has taken important steps towards officially embracing gender responsive budgeting at the central and local level. However, gaps remain to ensure systematic application of GRB across all sectors of government planning and budgeting. Gender statistics and analysis needs to be improved and with more effective application of budget performance monitoring systems. Albania has been championing gender responsive plannign budgeting over the years and has adapted its legislation and policy instruments accordingly. Existing mechanisms continue to require support to coordinate government action at central and local levels. The absorbtion of the EU gender equality acquis (i.e. the body of EU laws, rules, resolutions, declarations, regulations, directives and treaties), particularly within Local Government Units (LGUs), will also benefit from continued investments in this area.

Second, address gender bias and harassment against women candidates: political parties participating in the electoral contest should actively collaborate with media outlets and the Audiovisual Media Authority, to ensure adequate coverage of women candidates, and to refrain from the use of derogatory language, gender stereotypes and other types of gender-based violence. A media monitoring report carried out by UN Women  during the 2021 national elections in Albania, showed that traditional and social media consistently undermined women candidates. In addition, a study conducted by UNDP  confirmed that women politicians, compared to men, are more likely to experience violence. Political parties should take measures to effectively prevent and counter harassment and violence against women in elections, including by amending legislation to address violence against women candidates, voters and elected officials. Women and girls’ free votes should also be safeguarded, through countering family voting, coercion and intimidation of women voters.

Third, consolidate gender equality results at the local level: the 14 May elections provide a unique opportunity to put equal opportunities and participation at the centre of the local political agenda for sustainable development. This includes investing in girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment, as well as strengthening financial and social services such as early childhood development and access to kindergartens. Services should become available to all women and girls, including those most marginalized. Elected leaders should also continue to prioritize the effective functioning and resourcing of local referral mechanisms for coordinated response to domestic violence, as a key instrument to sustain protection and reintegration of women and girls survivors and at risk of violence. Promoting women’s participation will help Albania make further progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Women and men alike must not accept the role of women as passive spectators. They should work together to create an environment of equal opportunities. By including women in decision-making, we are actively contributing to create a more equal society for all.




Albania is working to place gender equality at the center of planning and budgeting for national development and EU integration. Advocaty for transparent and adequate public financing for gender equality, including gender-responsive budgets that channel adequate resources to both women and men.

Albania puts gender equality and youth as one of the principles of its planning and budgeting process, which over the years resulted in an increase of budget allocations for gender equality results. UN Women has a long history in mainstreaming gender responsive budgeting in Albania that contributed to a number of laws that regulate the application of GRB in medium-term and annual budget planning. Gender equality is now a core principle in the Law on Organic Budget (since 2016). In addition, the approval of law "On Local Government Finances” paved the way for GRB effective inclusion in budget programming, monitoring, reporting and evaluation.

International organization such as UN Women has provided support to national and local institutions over the past years in mainstreaming gender in policy planning and budgeting. On the one hand, we implemented initiatives to enhance their capacities in analyzing, designing and executing gender-responsive plans and budgets, while on the other we provided the right tools and capacities to monitor and track budget allocations and expenditure from a gender respective. For the first time in Albania, gender expenditures can be tracked and its impact measured thanks to the improved and engendered Albanian Finance Management Information System.

Equitable education systems are built on the foundations of high and equal levels of education access, participation, and achievement. A system cannot be equitable if its benefits are available only to a minority or if it is not open to all regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, or social status. Three main indicators of equitable systems include the level of access to education, rates of participation, and the level of academic achievement for all educational levels, including preschool, primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Education access, participation, and achievement have been traditionally used as the main indicators of gender equality in education and will be the focus of this chapter. However, the next chapter will examine additional important indicators of gender equality in the schools that also impact gender equity in society.

 During the transition period, however, this equality has weakened, and there is evidence from some countries of emerging gender gaps at all levels of the system,

particularly in the non-compulsory levels. Further, for some groups for whom access to education is already difficult such as Roma or the very poor there is sometimes even lower attendance among children of one gender. Girls are almost always the most negatively affected, although boys have also experienced disadvantage in some countries.





2- Dr. Nevine Mossaad - the Arab Republic of Egypt


This research, with which I was honored to be entrusted by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation, addresses a fundamental issue within the axis of Peace and Social Development, as part of the Third World Forum for the Culture of Just Peace. This issue is of paramount importance and is of central concern to most countries worldwide due to its organic connection to numerous fundamental issues, such as social pluralism and citizenship, both of which constitute components of good governance and sustainable development, especially as governance and development are unattainable in the presence of discriminatory and exclusionary policies. Furthermore, this issue has implications for the state of political stability, which is influenced by the extent to which citizens feel a sense of belonging to their countries. When we examine internal conflicts in our Arab homeland, we find that they originated from the absence of democracy, distributive justice, and respect for the cultural specificities of different groups. Subsequently, these conflicts became more complex due to external interventions by regional and international powers, but the internal dynamics were the root cause. Hence, we find a prevalence of the principle of "No one is left behind," which entails ensuring that everyone has access to all services and enjoys equal opportunities regardless of differences in religion, ethnicity, age, health, etc., and which also means that the international organizations, as well as states and civil society organizations, embrace this principle in their documents and in their future development plans for 2030 and beyond. In this context, the research will be divided into two main sections. The first section provides a theoretical framework for the inclusion of women, youth, and cultural groups, addressing the concepts and terminology associated with this topic and the analytical challenges it raises. The second section reviews the most important practical approaches proposed to achieve this inclusion.

Before discussing these two sections, it is worth mentioning some modifications made to the title of the research as stated in the assignment. Originally, the title was "Ensuring Integration and Participation for Women, Youth, and Minorities," but it has been revised to "Towards Inclusion and Participation for Women, Youth, and Cultural Groups." This change replaces the word "ensuring" with "towards," indicating a continuous process and conveying the idea of an ongoing process aimed at achieving full citizenship for all, as will become clearer later. This is a goal that has not been fully achieved even in the most robust and longstanding democratic systems in terms of their democratic practice. On the other hand, the research prefers to use the term "inclusion" instead of the term "integration," which is sometimes translated as "amalgamation" and was used in the original assignment. This choice is made because while "integration" has been used in several international documents as a synonym for participation, it is often associated with forcibly assimilating the identities of different groups, as seen, for example, in policies of Arabization and Islamization in Sudan, which ultimately led to the separation of the South from the North. In contrast, "inclusion" is a clearer term in its meaning because it emphasizes voluntary containment achieved by extending the umbrella of citizenship over all citizens. Furthermore, the research replaces the term "minorities" in the original assignment with the term "cultural groups" for two main reasons. The first reason is that the concept of minorities has become sensitive, whether due to various historical residues that has led to the perception that those labeled as minorities are in a lesser position than other citizens, or because the concept is linguistically tied to numerical considerations, implying a numerical minority facing a numerical majority - which assumes the existence of population statistics that take into account population differences in language, religion, sect, ethnicity, and lineage, a condition that is not met in many countries, including our Arab countries. The second reason is that the concept of minorities encompasses cultural groups as well as women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, residents of remote areas, and all marginalized individuals who do not receive equal treatment compared to others due to their differences. Therefore, using the concept of cultural groups instead of minorities makes it more specific, especially with the inclusion of women and youth as two distinct groups in the title.


Section One: Theoretical Framework

Talking about the need to include everyone in the political process and benefit from economic/social development plans, as well as empowering them to express their cultural identities, requires discussing two fundamental concepts: diversity on one hand and citizenship on the other. That is because the problem of exclusion or marginalization of certain components of society is linked to various forms of differences among the components of the same society, which are often used as pretexts for discriminatory policies, deprivation, and unequal treatment.


1.    Diversity: Definition and Theoretical Problematics

A.   Diversity is a characteristic inherent in all human societies without exception. There is no society on Earth devoid of some degree of diversity among its various components. Indeed, the criteria for this diversity are increasing day by day with the awareness of the importance of taking into account more of the existing differences among humans. This extensive diversity prompted Charles Taylor, one of its foremost advocates, to speak of "deep diversity," while Gaber Asfour, from the same school of thought as Taylor, emphasized the value of difference, which is the essence and foundation of diversity. This is not only in recognition and respect for the other’s uniqueness but also, as he states, because certainty only exists after differences have been acknowledged. In line with this broadening scope of diversity, McKinsey & Company's definition extends to anything that makes one person different from another, surpassing merely observable characteristics such as color, gender, age, religion (if associated with specific symbols, signs, or attire), and physical disability, to include variations in psychological makeup, upbringing, socio-economic status, and life experiences. This definition has also been adopted by several academics, including Amer Fayyad.

So, when we talk about diversity, we refer to a very wide range of differences among humans. However, among all dimensions of this diversity, the cultural aspect receives special international attention. Abdul Hussein Shaaban explains this by stating that according to United Nations statistics, three-quarters of major conflicts in the world are rooted in cultural reasons. This interpretation is closely related to the attempts of globalization to blur the cultural identities of Third World peoples and dissolve their specificities in what Gaber Asfour calls American-European centrality, ensuring the existence of a single cultural center and placing it in a dominant position over other cultural centers.Top of Form While a group of Third World countries resorted to confronting this danger by working on the concept of cultural diversity and issuing a comprehensive report through UNESCO on creative human diversity in 1990, and Asfour took the initiative to translate it into Arabic, this did not prevent the world from waking up on the morning of September 11, 2001, to the bombing of the World Trade Center towers in New York. This significant development prompted the United Nations to pay greater attention to the phenomenon of cultural diversity. In 2001, it issued the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, affirming that culture has taken center stage in contemporary discussions about identity, social cohesion, and knowledge-based economic development. It called for respect for cultural diversity, tolerance, dialogue, and understanding as essential guarantees for achieving international peace and security. This means that the Declaration not only emphasized the importance of preserving diversity from the perspective of each nation's national interest but also linked the preservation of diversity to international peace and security. As a subsequent step after the issuance of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the United Nations designated May 21st as World Day for Cultural Diversity, starting from the year 2002.

In an attempt to measure the degree of cultural diversity among different countries, political and social analysts have taken various approaches. One of the most prominent and well-known attempts in this regard was carried out by Erkan Gören, who designed a scale for cultural diversity and assigned countries scores ranging from zero to one based on the number of languages and dialects within each country. His logic behind this is that if a country shares a common language, this typically results in tis country sharing other cultural elements and components. Consequently, according to this criterion, Gören found that a country like Chad, with over 100 local languages and dialects, exhibits more diversity than a country like Canada, which is often considered one of the most diverse countries in many literary works. Criticism of this criterion can naturally arise from various perspectives. One such criticism is that many countries have linguistic groups in common, yet this does not automatically lead them to share in other cultural components. For example, the Arabic language is a common factor shared between the majority of Shia and Sunni populations in Iraq. However, this has not eliminated the diversity and differences between these two groups in terms of religious practices, customs, and traditions. Top of Form Moreover, the issue of diversity is inherently complex. Part of this complexity lies in the fact that the sense of difference from others has psychological and moral aspects and is linked to how diversity is managed and its level of flexibility. This means that not every linguistic difference creates a barrier between other differences. For instance, Armenians in Egypt speak Arabic, although they may use Armenian within their own circles. Additionally, the Coptic language exists in Egypt but is not widely used and is only employed for prayer within churches. In general, there are many broad and extensive areas of common ground among the components of Egyptian society, making it impossible to claim that Egypt's cultural and civilizational heritage is the result of a single component.

B.  One of the main theoretical issues associated with the concept of diversity includes:

·       The relationship between the concept of diversity and the concept of pluralism: Often, these concepts are erroneously used interchangeably, which is inaccurate. To clarify the distinction between them, diversity pertains to answering questions about the demographic composition of a society, including age, gender, religion, etc. Pluralism, on the other hand, addresses how equal opportunities, resources, and benefits can be provided to all components of this diverse map without discrimination. In other In other words, diversity acknowledges the existence of differences among humans, while pluralism involves promoting a culture of citizenship, shaping policies, and providing tools that enable the inclusion of everyone and the activation of this culture. What has been discussed leads us to address another concept closely related to pluralism, namely the concept of inclusion, or containment. Inclusion entails not neglecting or marginalizing anyone because they are different. Just as diversity is not pluralism, diversity is also not inclusion. McKinsey & Company provides an example of diversity existing in the absence of inclusion by looking at some organizations that seek to demonstrate their diversity by hiring a single person of color and a single female employee amid an otherwise all-white male team. However, this practice often results in negative psychological effects on both employees as it makes them feel alienated and diminishes their sense of belonging at the workplace. Moreover, it dangerously gives them the impression that they are present in the organization merely to represent the group of people of color or women they belong to, a burden neither is necessarily prepared nor tasked to bear.

·       There is a dilemma posed by the phenomenon of migration for countries characterized by cultural diversity, particularly the European Union and Canada, due to two main factors. Firstly, the increasing rates of migration to these countries, primarily driven by the proliferation of armed conflicts, especially in the Middle East region. Secondly, concerns about the impact of demographic changes on the Western value system. The cultural anxiety is further fueled by the rise of extreme right-wing movements in a significant number of countries worldwide. In fact, even in countries known for their openness to diversity like Canada, there has been a recent increase in violent acts targeting non-native citizens. Similarly, a country like India, once considered a model for effectively managing cultural diversity, has seen a rise in hostile sentiments towards citizens of different religions.

In discussing this dilemma, Francis Jarron highlighted the polarization experienced by culturally diverse countries, which continues due to debates surrounding the demands of immigrants and the extent of their legitimacy, as well as the reactions of both the elites and society itself in confronting them. In other words, there is a debate between a particular narrative and its counter-narrative. In this regard, Jarron refers to the commissions established to discuss and assess the phenomenon of cultural diversity, which were formed in three countries: France, Britain, and Canada. Their core tasks include generating ideas about balancing the activation of diversity as an aspect of democratic governance on one hand, and preserving the cultural specificity of Western societies on the other hand. They also work towards achieving political consensus on the solutions reached. These commissions include La Commission de Stassi, which was formed between July and December 2003, and examined how to deal with the growing religious symbols and signs of Muslims in France (especially the hijab) and their impact on secularism and the values of the French Republic. Another commission is the Commission of Multi Ethnic Britain, which operated from 1998 to 2000, focusing on studying the reality of ethnic diversity in Britain and balancing Anglo-Saxon democracy with British culture and traditions. Lastly, the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, which operated from 2007 to 2008, played its role during the peak of division within the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec and the growing trends advocating for the values and way of life of Quebec. Sixteen years after the conclusion of the last of these commission, namely the Canadian Commission, it is evident that the issue of immigration remains challenging to address. This is evidenced by the increasing incidents of religious violence in France, in particular, indicating the need for further efforts in this direction. It is noteworthy that a study conducted in 2016 by Richard Wike and others on public opinion trends in ten European Union countries towards immigrants revealed that 63% of Greeks and 53% of Italians believe that increasing diversity makes their countries worse places to live. In contrast, 36% of Swedes, 33% of Britons, and 31% of Spaniards view the increase in diversity positively.


1.    Citizenship: Definition and Theoretical Problematics

A.   William Sliman Qalladah, one of the leading figures in the school of citizenship, defines the concept of citizenship as encompassing a sense of belonging to the land, participation, and equality. Following this, individuals' efforts within the political community to practice citizenship, defend it, and enshrine it in a constitutional document come into play. When this is achieved and we reach the stage of establishing a constitution that represents everyone, the land becomes a homeland and the individual becomes a citizen. As we can see, this definition is based on the availability of three essential pillars of citizenship. While these pillars are prerequisites for citizenship, they require a continuous and ongoing struggle to transform them into a set of constitutional rights binding on the ruler. Samir Markis, one of the foremost disciples of Qalladah, has redefined or, more precisely, reorganized the pillars of citizenship in his discourse. He speaks of a material pillar encompassing justice, equality, and freedom, and a spiritual pillar involving a sense of connection to the land, identity, and belonging. Markis propels the movement for citizenship attainment and the assertion of its rights further by making the relationship between the movement and citizenship both dialectical and conditional simultaneously. In his words, "Without movement, citizenship is not achieved, and there is no citizenship without movement." This movement, process, or what he terms "citizenship," necessitates taking into consideration the social context, class structure, mode of production, political evolution, and ideological framework of each country. Additionally, it requires consideration of external regional and international variables.

In this context, Ali Khalifa Al-Kuwari sees the history of citizenship as synonymous with humanity's continuous pursuit of justice and fairness. He argues that if citizenship rights were once limited in certain historical periods to males, the able-bodied, or the free, they have expanded over time to encompass everyone, thereby abolishing the phenomenon of slavery. Furthermore, as the scope of citizenship and those included within it varied, so did its essence and content. Here, Adela Cortina points out that citizenship is a concept with a long history in Western heritage, which took on legal dimensions, signifying equality before the law in its Latin application, and political dimensions, meaning representative governance in its Greek application, until economic rights have become the essence of social citizenship, indicating that the general economic dimension cannot be ignored when discussing citizenship.Top of Form

B.  One of the theoretical challenges associated with dealing with the issue of citizenship revolves around:

·       Indeed, the relationship between the concepts of citizenship and human rights is inherently close, as long as it is widely agreed upon that the essence of citizenship comprises a package of human rights that have evolved and deepened throughout history. However, there are different interpretations on this matter. For example, Haytham Mannaa argues that the concept of citizenship, which stems from nationality and organizes equal rights for partners in that nation, represents a step backward from the concept of human rights, which entails all humans enjoying the same rights regardless of their national affiliations. It can be said that this proposition presented by Manna' can draw attention to the situation of certain groups that do not enjoy citizenship status for various reasons. Among these groups are stateless individuals who do not hold the nationality of the countries in which they were born and reside. This particular issue is characterized by a degree of sensitivity and complexity simultaneously. However, it is witnessing efforts aimed at addressing it by granting citizenship to select numbers of stateless individuals after reviewing their status in the countries where they reside. Furthermore, Manna's proposition can also draw attention to the situations of groups that represent remnants of the slavery phenomenon despite its significant decline. However, new forms, to be more precise, indirectly, have emerged from this phenomenon. The most prominent of these is the unfair treatment of descendants of freed slaves in the workplace and their enduring struggle with societal discrimination. This underscores the need for further awareness, education, and citizenship cultivation.

·       The relationship between the concepts of citizenship and identity is also intertwined, as the geographic belonging, which constitutes one of the material aspects of citizenship, also contributes to forming a sense of shared identity among a group of individuals. However, this element is not the sole contributor to shaping this sense. Other factors such as religious or ideological unity, language, or history are equally important in fostering a sense of rapprochement among those who share them and thus distinguishing them from others. Hence, citizenship is described as a multi-dimensional rights-based concept, while identity is described as primarily having a cultural content. Given that no society is mono-identity, as we have seen when discussing the concept of diversity, the existence of multiple sub-identities within a single society should not justify discrimination between them, because the multiplicity of identities never contradicts their enjoyment of all citizenship rights, as long as the discussion revolves around democratic societies rather than inclusive or authoritarian ones. Democracy is inherently linked to citizenship, as clearly articulated in the intellectual project of Ali Khalifa Al-Kuwari. Moreover, identity, like citizenship, is characterized by its dynamic and evolving nature, influenced by both internal and external contexts.

Therefore, the most prominent writings that have addressed the concept of identity, whether Western such as the writings of Alex Mucchielli or Arabic such as the abundant writings of Abdul Hussain Shaaban, have always emphasized the dynamic nature of the concept of identity and its evolving character. This dynamism is evident in the rearrangement of the components of identity from time to time. On the one hand, the impact of military defeats cannot be overlooked in magnifying the role of religion among the components of identity, as observed in the Islamic transformations of many Arab and Egyptian citizens, especially in the aftermath of the June 1967 defeat. Similarly, the role of discriminatory policies in mobilizing counter-nationalist identities cannot be ignored, serving as a defensive mechanism, as seen in the literature of the Kurdistan Workers' Party. On the other hand, globalization is a phenomenon that has both created something and its opposite. It has created shared cultural spaces and a system of values transcending borders to the extent that numerous writings, such as those by Al-Sayed Yassin, discuss the concept of the global citizen—one who belongs to the planet rather than to a specific nation. However, globalization has also revitalized feelings of difference among people. Here arises the following question: If it is understood that successive historical developments (as seen in the examples of military defeat and discriminatory policies) play a role in rearranging the components of identity, how can we envision the situation in light of a specific historical evolution (such as globalization) that has a dual effect, weakening cultural particularities like religion, nationalism, language, etc., while simultaneously revitalizing them? Among these variables, we can highlight the degree of susceptibility of identity components to penetration. Unfortunately, the Arabic language, regrettably, has ceased to be a producer of knowledge for decades, despite Arabs being the ones who taught the world sciences like mathematics, natural sciences, astronomy, philosophy, etc. This places Arabic in a state of perpetual decline, particularly in comparison to English. This decline will only be halted by changes in the circumstances that led to it and by the restoration of Arabic's ability to renew itself and produce science. Furthermore, the global or universal identity necessitates global openness to migration and human mobility across borders. This contradicts with the aforementioned growth of sentiments of hatred towards immigrants.

·       The circumstances that give rise to citizenship: if there is a general agreement among scholars that citizenship is a dynamic and evolving concept, there is disagreement about the historical moment when the sense of citizenship necessity emerges. Fahd Al-Shuqiran, for instance, argues that citizenship arises as a response to specific challenges. An example often cited to illustrate that citizenship is a product of crisis or turmoil experienced by a state is Rwanda. After the high cost paid due to the genocide in the Hutu-Tutsi conflict, Rwanda turned its focus towards the importance of deepening citizenship as a nurturing environment for all components of Rwandan society, not just the two ethnic groups involved in the conflict. As a result, there was an increase in the representation of women, one of the most affected components of the genocide, to between 60% and 70% of all positions after the cessation of conflict, compared to a representation of no more than 19% before, as noted by Wafaa Ibrahim. It is also noted that Switzerland did not adopt consociational democracy, which involves the allocation of all positions in the form of quotas to the two main ethnic groups, French and German, until Swiss mercenaries suffered defeat in the Battle of Marignano in 1515.

Agreement with this analysis is possible to some extent because political maturity presupposes that the state addresses the reasons that led to conflict or defeat. This analysis can be supported and corroborated by a model from Egyptian reality, where historians, including Emad Abu Ghazi and Mohamed Afifi, agree that the 1919 revolution laid the foundation for Egyptian citizenship, with the participation of all components of the Egyptian people - religiously, qualitatively, age-wise, and regionally - in its events. It paved the way for the issuance of the 1923 constitution as the first democratic constitution in Egyptian history. It is worth noting that this revolution represented a response to the challenge of British colonization and was the fruit of the Egyptian people's struggle over a century. However, it's challenging at the same time to generalize the model from Egyptian history to a country like Lebanon, which endured a long civil war for about fifteen years, despite practicing consociational democracy before the war. This consociational democracy preceded the war and was not followed by it. Additionally, Lebanon, despite the war, still experiences deeply entrenched sectarian relations, where allegiance to sub-identities often supersedes allegiance to the state. This clear flaw in policies deepens the sense of citizenship. This example highlights the necessity of introducing intermediary variables in the analysis, just as in the case of globalization. Among these variables are regional and international interventions.


Section Two: Inclusion and its Approaches

Among the recurring themes in literature concerned with promoting diversity and deepening citizenship is the point regarding the benefits of inclusion, and the point regarding the mechanisms or approaches of inclusion. While this part of the research will briefly touch on the first point, it will delve into detail on the second point.

1.    Beginning with the positives: Inclusion helps capitalize on the experiences, skills, and differences that distinguish individuals from each other and one community from another. This benefit goes beyond direct economic gains resulting from dedication to work due to a sense of belonging and fair utilization of the returns of achievement. It extends to political gains, such as reinforcing the foundations of democracy, achieving political stability, and strengthening legitimacy. Furthermore, it transcends both to cultural and civilizational gains stemming from constructive interaction among individuals with diverse historical experiences in literature, architecture, music, sculpture, cuisine, and so forth. In connection with this, the International Organization for Migration suggests that cultural diversity, in particular, is the engine of modern life. It also suggested that just as we shape cultural diversity with the policies we adopt regarding it, this diversity, in turn, shapes us through its outcomes. For example, the United States was built by immigrants, the textile industry in Britain was introduced by the Dutch, and the famous Swatch watch brand was developed by a Lebanese immigrant to Switzerland, Nicolas Hayek.

Conversely, exclusion, as defined by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in its third report on social development, and refered to as depriving some individuals of full participation in economic, social, and cultural fields, has a negative impact on the extent and level of achievements in all these areas. In delineating the factors contributing to the process of exclusion, the report refers to the framework developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2018 titled "What does it mean to leave no one behind?" These factors include discrimination, geography (i.e., place of residence), weak governance systems, social and economic deterioration, as well as wars and conflicts. Naturally, these factors are neither exhaustive nor preventive; for example, cultural customs and traditions may also play a facilitating role in marginalization. Nonetheless, the mentioned report selected three cases to exemplify the phenomenon of exclusion resulting from some of these factors. These cases include the population living in cemeteries in Egypt and the inhabitants of the central-western region in Tunisia as illustrations of the geographical factor's impact on marginalization, as well as the case of Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood in Tripoli, Lebanon, as an illustration of the impact of wars and conflicts. A comment on this report, we could argue that the cases of Egypt and Tunisia, in particular, are marginalized due to geography, and conversely claim that it is marginalization that has led to residing in these geographical areas lacking in services.

2.    We now move on to the various approaches through which inclusion can be achieved, and here we find that literature related to diversity and pluralism identifies three principles that represent good practices in this regard: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). While the concepts of diversity and inclusion have been elaborated in detail, the concept of equity refers to taking measures that make individuals with unfavorable circumstances equal to others with normal circumstances. Hence, according to McKinsey & Company, providing unpaid training represents an opportunity for those with disposable income to afford self-improvement. However, it is not an option for those unable to support themselves and reliant on a stable monthly income. Consequently, all approaches to be discussed subsequently—cultural, legislative/executive, and training—will be guided by these three principles. It is worth noting that the distinction or separation between these approaches is a theoretical one aimed at facilitating analysis, while in practice, citizenship education is an executive decision linked to practical measures, including training on the acceptance of the difference and the inclusion of the different. On the other hand, just as achieving full citizenship is a process characterized by flux and movement, inclusion is also cumulative in nature, and therefore dynamic rather than static.


A.   The Cultural Approach

The research chooses to begin with this approach based on the conviction that real and sustainable change starts with challenging stereotypical beliefs and preconceived notions about women, youth, cultural groups, and all different individuals in general, and that attempts at change from the top-down, unless accompanied by a welcoming and receptive environment, are prone to being overturned at the first historical juncture. As a representation of stereotypical beliefs, it is often assumed that young people necessarily lack experience compared to older individuals, or that politics is a male-dominated field where women have no place, or that cultural groups are not trustworthy and are unfit for leadership positions. Some practical examples completely debunk these mental models and stereotypes. In fact, some of the greatest innovators in information technology began to shine at a young age. Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple, for instance, was born to a Syrian father and an American mother and showed his brilliance at the age of nine. Similarly, the same pattern repeated with individuals like Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook/Meta, and Bill Gates, one of the founders of Microsoft, both of whom started their ventures at the age of nineteen. We also find empowered women such as Indira Gandhi in India, Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and Angela Merkel in Germany, who brought about profound political changes within their countries and in their foreign policies. Additionally, individuals like Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan, a Nobel Prize laureate, bravely confronted the darkness of the Taliban movement and advocated for every girl's right to education. We also find Muslims of Pakistani origin such as Hamza Yusuf, the First Minister of Scotland, or Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, as well as Audrey Azoulay, a Moroccan Jew who serves as the Director-General of UNESCO. When assuming their positions, they acted as responsible leaders rather than representatives of their primordial groups. Thus, these examples illustrate the fallacy of stereotypical perceptions and preconceived notions about youth, women, and cultural groups. However, the typical response from opponents of diversity is often to dismiss these examples as mere exceptions. Top of Form


·       In reviewing some examples of cultural factors hindering the fairness and inclusion of women and girls in society, researchers Isabel Lambrecht and Kristi Mahret illustrate how various factors, including beliefs and inherited traditions, have contributed to perpetuating prevalent stereotypes about women in the Khalton region of Tajikistan, one of the Central Asian republics that emerged after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. If anything, this indicates that over seventy years of communist rule in the country have failed to change the traditional patriarchal culture of Tajik society. Regarding women, for example, it was noted that women who represent a considerable proportion of the workforce in the agricultural sector do not play a significant role in decision-making related to this activity. Although men have a better chance in this regard, under the distinctive hierarchy of traditional cultures, including Tajik culture, we can imagine the suffering of young people from marginalization. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for their migration abroad, as long as the environment in which they were born and raised is a discouraging work environment.

At the African level, a statement by the African Union on April 3, 2023, highlights the suffering of African women and youth from poverty due to factors related to lack of ownership of production tools and difficulty marketing their products. While this is true, it is also due to factors related to prevailing cultural patterns, particularly affecting girls amid gender inequality and a lack of sufficient legal protection from violence. Even at the European level, Daniel Blanch provides us with an example of the marginalization of youth in the autonomous region of Galicia, located in the far northwest of Spain. Here, these young people are financially dependent on their families due to unemployment conditions, while also feeling estranged from the values and beliefs prevalent in their families, differing from the postmodern world they belong to, characterized by a dominant sense of uncertainty.

·       Arab countries are not separate from this context; rather, cultural problematics are considered among the most significant obstacles facing these countries in transitioning from the significant demographic diversity that characterizes them to empowering pluralism, which is at the core of the concept of citizenship. If we were to review some of the Arab efforts in the field of citizenship education, considering that this education, especially in the early stages of life, is the fundamental and initial basis for creating cultural change and its sustainability, we find that the significant social transformation witnessed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in recent years, and ongoing, has been accompanied by efforts to change the educational environment that produces preconceived ideas and stereotypes about women, youth, non-Muslims, and the world at large. This necessitated a comprehensive review, essentially akin to rewriting the curricula for various educational levels in the Kingdom, including the process of reviewing them. On this meaning, Fahad Al-Otaibi mentioned in an article in May 2022 that around two hundred thousand comprehensive amendments were introduced to all curricula, describing this process as the largest curriculum correction operation in the history of the Kingdom. However, this significant leap actually requires considerable time and perseverance due to the conservative nature of Saudi society, the central position of the Kingdom in the Islamic world, all to ensure a solid foundation for the desired change.

Although the process of curriculum development is a primary condition for cultural change in most Arab countries, there are two noteworthy experiences in this regard: the Moroccan experience and the Tunisian experience. Behind these two experiences are numerous legal references accumulated over time, focusing on developing the elements and content of the educational system. In Morocco, documents issued by the Ministry of National Education include the White Paper, which adopts an approach to education based on values of tolerance and respect for diversity. Additionally, there are other documents resulting from collaboration between the government and civil society with international entities, as seen in the National Action Plan for Democracy and Human Rights, which aims to instill and deepen a culture of citizenship, equality, and democracy. In Tunisia, there is a significant heritage represented by the Arab Institute for Human Rights, which has placed the issue of education on human rights and citizenship at the top of its priorities since its establishment in 1989. Through numerous studies conducted in collaboration with partners both domestically and internationally, the institute has analyzed educational curricula from the perspective of democracy and human rights, aiming to purge them of all forms and manifestations of bias. Both the Moroccan and Tunisian experiences are characterized by the development of the concept of educational clubs, which are essentially school frameworks that bring together students from different academic years, females, males, Arabs, Amazigh, Muslims and non-Muslims (albeit representing a minority in both countries) to learn positive interaction, acceptance of diversity, teamwork, volunteering, and engagement in public affairs.

In the Arab Levant, a different experience unfolds. The Lebanese educational curriculum, established in 1994, four years after the end of the civil war, has been criticized for its failure and inadequacy - as Father Youssef Nassar, the Secretary-General of Catholic Schools noted - to educate Lebanese citizens on citizenship, which prompted some Christian religious institutions to introduce their own educational projects aimed at establishing a unified framework for concepts and mechanisms of citizenship education. The driving force behind this was to achieve a unified educational model applicable across Lebanon. Thus, the distinctive feature of the Lebanese model lies in the initiative taken by some non-governmental institutions to address the shortcomings of governmental establishments in the educational sphere. While the role of civil society is fundamental in citizenship education worldwide, given its presumed liberation from bureaucratic constraints and its ability to forge partnerships abroad, in Lebanon, we are discussing non-governmental solutions replacing governmental institutions rather than integration between the two types of establishments.

Before moving on to the legislative/executive approach, which is the second approach among the approaches to inclusion, it is worth noting a number of challenges facing education in our Arab world in its endeavor to promote the values of citizenship and human rights. The first challenge arises from the inundation of media content through social media channels - heavily used and highly influential among young people - which may pose a confusing role to both schools and universities. For example, cyberbullying against women, which is prevalent across social media platforms, is not consistent with the efforts to develop the portrayal of women in educational curricula. The second challenge relates to the weak integration between the roles of different upbringing institutions. Such lacking integration can only be achieved through the collaboration of all these institutions, both official and unofficial, in developing a strategy for cultural change and collectively implementing it. This includes institutions involved in education, culture, media, religion, political parties, sports, arts, and transitioning from isolated island policies to a unified island policy that everyone stands on. An example of this integration is evident in the implementation of the National Tolerance Program in the United Arab Emirates, drawing inspiration from the principles outlined in the Document on Human Fraternity.

The third challenge stems from internal conflicts that have cast shadows on the educational process from two perspectives: first, the lack of access to education, which results in widespread illiteracy that fosters myths and misconceptions. Second, the promotion of sectarianism and religious differences, which undermine citizenship. The fourth challenge is associated with the increasing privatization of education, leading to the dependency of certain segments of citizens on the educational services provided by individuals with specific religious and social ideologies. This is without mentioning the impact of the qualitative difference between government and non-government education on transforming society into a collection of isolated cultural islands. The fifth challenge lies in balancing the need to open up to global developments and keep pace with the tremendous digital advancements worldwide, while also preserving the cultural identity and value system of the region's countries.Top of Form

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B.  The Legislative/Executive Approach

The cultural approach requires legislative support, as well as some executive decisions that create the appropriate environment for its activation and the inclusion of all marginalized groups within the framework of citizenship. If the research initially addressed the cultural approach by shedding light on some cases of marginalization of women and youth in Asia and Africa from an economic perspective, this aspect can be further developed by addressing the political dimensions of marginalization and/or injustice towards these two groups.

·       In this regard, data from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) as of January 1, 2023, indicate that despite the increase in parliamentary and governmental representation of women in general, the percentage of female heads of state (excluding monarchs) reached 11.3% out of a total of 151 countries. Additionally, the percentage of female heads of government reached 9.8% out of a total of 193 countries. This is compared to rates of 5.3% and 7.3% respectively for these positions a decade earlier. It's worth noting that both Europe and the Americas boast the highest governmental representation of women. For instance, the percentage of female ministers in 13 European countries, led by Albania, Finland, and Spain, exceeds 50%.    The significance of the percentage of women participating in government is matched by the quality of ministerial portfolios assigned to them. According to data from the UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2023, the highest proportions of female ministers worldwide were associated with portfolios related to women and gender (84%), family and child affairs (68%), and social integration and development (49%). This reflects a longstanding tradition of linking women to family and child-related issues in the public sphere. In contrast, the percentage of women holding responsibilities in ministries such as education, foreign affairs, health, economy, industry, trade, and defense amounted to 30%, 25%, 24%, 20%, 14%, and 12%, respectively. What stands out in the aforementioned data is that women in charge of ministries responsible for indigenous peoples and minorities reached 44%, which is a relatively high proportion with 7 women out of a total of 16 ministers worldwide who held this portfolio. It is understood that this portfolio is weighty, dealing with complex and intersecting issues alongside other ministerial portfolios. As for women's parliamentary representation, it increased according to the UN Women from 25.5% in 2021 to 26.5% in 2023.

Regarding youth representation at the parliamentary level, data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union for the year 2023 indicates that no parliament in the world achieved the percentage hoped for by the Union for representing youth aged 30 and under, which is 15%. However, 9.3% of parliamentary chambers worldwide achieved the required 35% representation for youth aged 40 and under. Additionally, 21.6% of parliamentary chambers worldwide achieved the required 45% representation for youth aged 45 and under. The reason behind this is the inverse relationship between age and political representation; as age decreases, so does political representation, and as age increases, so does political representation, with acknowledging that there has been improvement in the representation rates of youth in these three age categories, and with acknowledging that the best parliamentary representation for youth aged 30 and under is achieved in the unicameral parliament of Norway, with 13.6% of the total members, followed closely by the parliament of Armenia at 13.1%, then the parliament of San Marino at 11.7%.Top of Form

The data referred to, despite showing relative improvement compared to previous years, reflects the limited practical outcomes of broad international interest in the inclusion of women and youth in the political sphere. This interest is evident in strategies, programs, decisions, and mechanisms specifically targeting these two groups, not only for increased involvement in national development plans but also for their participation in efforts to maintain international peace and security. An important example is Security Council Resolution 2250, adopted in 2015, which is dedicated to engaging youth (of both genders, of course) in enhancing peace efforts and countering extremism. Although issues of peace, security, human rights, and inequality in all its dimensions ranked 1st, 3rd, and 6th on the list of concerns for a sample of young people aged 18 to 35 from 30 countries worldwide, according to the Global Youth Index in 2022, and despite the inherently political nature of these issues, which necessitates youth engagement in executive and legislative frameworks in their countries, there remains an unbridged gap related to the political inclusion for youth (both male and female). This gap is the result of both a condescending view towards youth on one hand, and the youth's reluctance to engage in traditional political structures and frameworks on the other hand.

·       At the level of the Arab world, there is a relative increase in interest in the political inclusion of women, youth, and cultural groups. This is the result of both official and unofficial efforts to address citizenship issues, even if the qualitative, age-related, and cultural gaps are wider than those observed at the international level due to the influence of traditional factors and the slow pace of political reform.

 According to data from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2023, Tunisia ranked first in women's governmental representation at 33.3%. It's worth noting that Tunisia is the first Arab country where a woman has reached the position of Prime Minister, held by Najla Bouden from October 11, 2021, until the end of July 2023, for less than two years. Bahrain followed Tunisia with 21.7%, then Morocco with 21.1%, and both Egypt and Qatar with 18.8%. Additionally, some Arab female ministers have taken non-traditional portfolios by early 2023, such as Foreign Affairs in Libya, Communications in Iraq, Justice, Industry, Trade, and Export Development in Tunisia, Economic Development and Planning in Egypt, Digitalization and Statistics in Algeria, and Government Development and Future in the United Arab Emirates, marking a positive development.

As for the efforts of political inclusion by Arab states, they can be categorized under two main headings. The first title is direct political inclusion, which was achieved through a set of constitutional and legal texts aimed at achieving equity for one or more of the three groups under discussion. For example, Egypt, according to its 2014 constitution and subsequent amendments in 2019, implemented a quota system (or affirmative discrimination) in favor of women, with 25% of parliamentary seats reserved for them, as previously done by the Iraqi constitution in 2005 after the fall of the Baathist regime. Egypt also adopted an unspecified quota for youth, Christians, persons with disabilities, and Egyptians abroad, representing a direct step towards equity. The amended constitutions of both Morocco and Tunisia in 2011 and 2012, respectively, emphasized the state's pursuit of gender parity between men and women, which is an ambitious goal. Morocco's constitution also stipulated the expansion and generalization of youth participation in the social, cultural, economic, and political development of the state. In Algeria, a new electoral law was issued in 2021, which requires that the proportion of youth under the age of thirty-five on the electoral list not be less than one-third of the names listed, and that each electoral list ensures gender parity among candidates, although the application of the open list system, which allows the voter to choose from the names listed on the list, did not guarantee the achievement of these proportions.

The second title is indirect political inclusion, which involves creating conducive conditions in the workplace, within families, and in society at large to expand political participation opportunities. Concerning the work environment, Jordan's Civil Service Law No. 9 of 2020 stipulates that the civil service is based on principles of rule of law, transparency, justice, equality, and equal opportunities, both within the institution and in announcing training programs. The General Organic Law on Public Service in Algeria for the year 2006, numbered (03-06), prohibits discrimination among employees based on their opinions, gender, personal, or social circumstances. Similarly, Law No. 81 of 2016 on Civil Service in Egypt stipulates the impermissibility of discrimination among citizens based on religion. In line with this, many Arab countries have expanded the establishment of equal opportunity units within various institutions to ensure the absence of discrimination.

In furtherance of the right to freedom of religious practices as an intrinsic right within citizenship rights outlined in most Arab constitutions, Law No. 80 of 2016 was issued in Egypt to regulate the construction and restoration of churches and regularize their status. This contributed to lifting some historical bureaucratic restrictions on the establishment of Christian places of worship. Regarding personal security on one hand, and fair family relations on the other, laws have been enacted to enhance punishment for violence, whether domestic violence encompassing women and all family members, as seen in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Lebanon, or violence against women specifically, both within and outside the family (at work, in public places, transportation, etc.), as observed in Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria. This legislative development was accompanied by the establishment of units to monitor violence against women within public institutions, and the launch of online campaigns to encourage women to report perpetrators of violence, as seen in Egypt. Secondly, some Arab legislations have moved towards developing the personal status system, witnessed in both Syria and the UAE, with acknowledging that the UAE enacted a law for personal status for non-Muslims, ensuring full equality between men and women. However, the draft law on personal status in Egypt and the family code in Morocco have not yet been issued, although the Moroccan family code is notably more radical than the Egyptian draft law in several sensitive issues, notably in restricting polygamy and ensuring equality in inheritance.

Before moving on to the third and final approach to inclusion, which is the training approach, it is worth mentioning two challenges facing the political inclusion of the three aforementioned groups. The first and most important challenge lies in the gap between constitutional texts and reality. There are excellent provisions within some Arab constitutions, but they often fail to be fully implemented despite the obligations they entail. An example on that, the Moroccan constitution, amended in 2011, which embraces cultural diversity in its Arab-Islamic, Amazigh, Sahrawi-Hassani, Afro-Andalusian, Hebrew, and Mediterranean dimensions. It also advocates for gender equality and for broadening and generalizing youth participation in development in all its dimensions. Furthermore, the constitution goes further by mandating the state to establish a National Council for Moroccan Languages and Culture, a body for equality and combating all forms of discrimination, and a consultative council for civil society work. Despite the issuance of laws governing these three institutions, they have not yet been operational despite the passage of 13 years since the mentioned amendments. Egypt's constitution in 2014 prohibited all forms of discrimination and referred to the law to establish an independent commission for this purpose, to function as an ombudsman, as is the case in many Arab countries, including Morocco itself. Despite ten years passing since this constitutional provision and the existence of several draft laws concerning the commission, and even with a proposal coming out of the national dialogue in 2023, which involved all segments of society, urging the activation of the provision and a directive from the president to respond to this proposal, the commission has not seen the light. This gap between the text and reality suggests as if the implementation of the constitution is subject to selectivity, where some provisions are executed while others are frozen.Top of Form

Another challenge relates to the opposition of broad sectors of individuals and institutions to the principle of affirmative discrimination in favor of any group in society, on the basis that the principle disrupts equality among citizens. Therefore, we find that few Arab countries are committed to specifying certain quotas for the representation of one or more groups of citizens, resulting in the absence of some segments of society from parliament. Consequently, authorities resort to intervention and the use of appointment methods. An example of this occurred in the latest legislative elections in the Sultanate of Oman in October 2023, where no woman won a seat in the Shura Council. As a result, the head of state appointed 18 women to the State Council, with one of them becoming the Deputy Chairperson of the Council. Together, these two councils form the Omani parliament (the Council of Oman), with one council being elected and the other appointed. In other countries, there is no appointment to parliament. Consequently, women were absent from the Kuwaiti National Assembly in the 2020 elections, with only one woman winning in the latest elections in 2023. Therefore, it is important to raise public awareness that affirmative discrimination mechanisms are temporary measures that help represent those who are unable to access parliament through the ballot box.


C.  The Training Approach

Training is a process that has no specific time limit and does not stop at reaching a certain point, nor is it inherently linked to age. It begins from the earliest institutions of upbringing in the home and family, then extends to educational institutions, workplaces, and the broader social environment. On the other hand, continuous training ensures the ability to address emerging challenges that were previously non-existent or were present but not adequately addressed, such as the increasing phenomenon of human migration. If the literature on citizenship has emphasized the necessity of three fundamental principles: diversity, equity, and inclusion, abbreviated as DEI, then activating these principles within the framework of this research is associated with education, legislation, and training as ELT. Thus, the next section will discuss some international training experiences, followed by a review of their Arab counterparts.

·       UNESCO has focused on producing training materials to assist educational institutions in citizenship education. In one such guide titled "Citizenship Education," the guide divides pre-university education into four basic stages and links each stage to the acquisition of specific knowledge to create awareness of the importance of pluralism. The first stage, targeting ages five to nine, aims to distinguish between the concepts of similarity and difference, emphasizing that everyone, regardless of whether they fall under these concepts, has the same rights and responsibilities. The second stage, targeting ages nine to twelve, aims to build a relationship of respect with those who are different within the community and around the world. The third stage, targeting ages twelve to sixteen, aims to introduce the challenges of diversity and difference and the risks arising from their mismanagement. As for the fourth and final stage, extending from sixteen to eighteen years old, it seeks to bring about positive change in the prevailing perception of certain international issues.

In the field of work, the Gallup Organization in Washington identified three requirements for diversity and inclusion training in the workplace, based on their study of 200 institutions and review of academic research on the same subject. These requirements are as follows: firstly, treating employees with respect, which necessitates initially acquainting them with each other as they are and encouraging them through dialogue to express their individual characteristics. The second requirement is to help employees discover their strengths and realize that each person brings to the team. The third requirement is effective leadership performance in managing diversity within their institutions, aiming to build trust between leaders and employees. Gallup concluded that the positive indicators of various organizations' increasing awareness of the importance of inclusion and its positive impact on employee performance have led to inclusion being placed at the top of organizations' priorities, with a 32% increase between 2014 and 2017. Similarly, the National Audit Office (NAO) in London, an independent body performing a role similar to that of the central audit institution in several Arab countries, has developed a diversity and inclusion strategy for a four-year period from 2021 to 2025. It's worth noting that the NAO has devised an action plan for racial equality, which commenced in December 2020, and another action plan focusing on equality for people with disabilities in April 2021. This indicates the provision of operational mechanisms to implement the strategy. According to the NAO, the highest level of inclusion within any institution is achieved through the presence of eight elements, namely: viewing diversity as a source of creativity, ensuring all employees share responsibility for achieving equality within the institution, fostering open discussion on all issues without sensitivity, attending to feedback and evaluating it to adjust policies within the institution, respecting everyone, forming teams that encompass all diversity elements within the institution, creating a positive and supportive work environment, and the National Audit Office presenting a successful model in managing diversity. McKinsey & Company highlights some small details that facilitate the process of inclusion within the workplace environment. These include avoiding biased language, such as using "we" instead of "you" or "we" instead of "they," to break down the glass barriers between members of the same institution. Among the other details is considering cultural sensitivities when scheduling work holidays to accommodate religious and non-religious occasions for different employees, respecting culturally expressive attire, and providing spaces for worship within the institution. While it is necessary to respect cultural sensitivities and not condemn or stigmatize them, it is also important to create common spaces for interaction among all employees. It is understood that all of this should be accompanied by governance and transparency standards in recruitment and promotion processes.

·       In the Arab world, there has been a significant development in the perception of training as a fundamental mechanism for managing diversity and respecting human rights. While this training targets various governmental and non-governmental institutions, the most common recipients of such training typically include educational institutions, especially pre-university ones, media organizations, particularly newspapers and television channels, and law enforcement institutions such as the judiciary and prosecution. This is because that the first two types of institutions are responsible for shaping and developing awareness. As for the third type of institution, it deals with individuals who are restricted in their freedom or are subject to doubts regarding their legal status, providing an additional reason for bias and discrimination. Although no age group can claim to have completed all types of training and dispensed with it, training usually targets young people in particular, and this is understandable because it increases opportunities for capacity and skill development, and because it takes into account the high proportion of youth in the demographic composition of Arab societies.

One notable example of training efforts in the Arab world is Egypt, being the largest Arab country in terms of population, with approximately 60% of its population represented by youth. Therefore, opportunities for training are abundant, and the number of individuals targeted for training increases accordingly. Among the most significant training programs are the Presidential Program for Youth, national and Arab-African youth conferences, the World Youth Forum, the Executive Leadership Program for Women in the Egyptian Government, the National Program for Women's Leadership, and the Future Leading Women program. Some of these programs have evolved into standalone institutions due to their repeated implementation, while others are executed by official and unofficial institutions collaborating with each other and with regional and international entities. Additionally, there is a specialized national academy established in 2017 solely dedicated to training. It is noted that the aforementioned programs generally aim to raise awareness, develop skills, and enhance capabilities to increase the opportunities for trainees in social, economic, and political inclusion. However, there are other programs aimed at raising awareness of the principles of the national strategy for human rights, with a core focus on citizenship. Additionally, there are programs specifically designed to train individuals on accepting diversity, respecting the right to differences, and fostering dialogue between cultures. One of the most important related programs is implemented by the Evangelical Coptic Authority for Social Services, a non-governmental organization that prioritizes fostering citizenship values. Generally, the focus on training process within the framework of national strategies that define the basic directions for countries is a transcendent concern across Arab borders. There is a cumulative effort in this regard, particularly in Gulf countries.

Another two key challenges facing the training domain in the Arab context: the first challenge is the presence of implicit or unconscious bias, which if not addressed and trained to eliminate its causes, training processes will remain incomplete. That is because the danger of implicit bias lies in its difficulty to identify. Consequently, those leading the training may themselves be victims of common and misleading stereotypes. Moreover, it is challenging for individuals lacking awareness to train others in accepting diversity, as one cannot give what they do not possess. This stance necessitates careful selection of trainers, but it also highlights the need for more emphasis on citizenship education from a young age, reminiscent of the experience of school clubs and the necessity to generalize them. The second challenge stems from doubts sometimes surrounding civil society organizations, as they are perceived to have agendas linked to foreign interests. However, these organizations are essential partners in the training process, and competition between them and the state in the training field is not desirable; what is needed is integration. Therefore, there is a need to provide flexible legislative frameworks that balance rejecting external interference with activating the training role of civil society organizations.



The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity states in its first article that "Cultural diversity, as a source of exchange, innovation, and creativity, is essential for humanity, much like biological diversity is for living organisms. In this sense, cultural diversity constitutes the common heritage of humanity, and it should be recognized and emphasized for the benefit of current and future generations."











B- Directing Development Programmes (Health / Education / Urban Development)

3- Dr. Gordon Sammut - Malta

Making sense of Development Programmes: the PASS model and its utility in charting intergroup mis/understandings


Many development projects are genuinely well-meaning initiatives that aspire to achieve positive outcomes for those whom they are meant to benefit. However, in development programmes, the variable of culture also means that what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. This paper argues for significant attention to be devoted to cultural translation issues to avoid the potential of misunderstanding of intentions across the culture divide. The paper reports findings from research undertaken with Maltese and Arab communities in Malta. Whilst both Maltese and Arab respondents typically favoured integration between the two groups, they did so for different reasons. We demonstrate how this precipitates a misunderstanding of the part of the Maltese that stands to overshadow positive intergroup relations. To avoid this, we present our PASS model of intergroup engagement. Our model relies on (a) the study of projects and (b) the ecological arguments that sustain them in applied settings, (c) the scaling of diverse preferences for action and (d) the survey of distributions of opinion in this regard. Juxtaposing data for both groups reveals argumentation convergences and divergences that, we argue, are fundamental to ensure that meanings and intentions translate duly across the intercultural divide.


The social sciences concern themselves with the application of scientific methods to social phenomena towards understanding happenings in the social domain beyond what meets the eye. The scholarly effort is intended to peel off layers of explanation for social events which uncover hidden natural processes that determine observable outcomes. These natural processes are revealed in the process of analytical inquiry and one could cite various insights that the social sciences have proffered over the years as a result of such activity such as market pricing in terms of supply and demand, the role of heuristics and biases in human cognition, and the influence of culture on human behaviour, to name but a few. The social sciences are also concerned with issues of peace and conflict and the causes and consequences of this type of human activity. In this paper, I wish to take stock of some key insights towards formulating a conciliatory aspiration that can guide us when facing international and intercultural cleavages.


The Tragedy of the Commons

A well-known parable in the social sciences is the Tragedy of the Commons (Hardin, 1968), proposed by William Forster Lloyd in 1833. This tells the story of a group of cattle herders who let their cows graze on common land that was large enough to accommodate all of them. A natural balance set in and all was well and good amongst the herders of the village until one day, one of the herders thought it might be a good idea to introduce an extra cow to the herd, or to let his herd graze a little longer than other herders were doing. As a result, the entrepreneurial herder’s cattle grew fatter and commanded higher prices at the market, or he had more cattle to sell than his fellows. In this way, the hypothetical herder increased his profits, which many would argue is a good thing. This meant he could afford better healthcare for his family, better education for his children, and so on and so forth. All good things, from the entrepreneurial herder’s point of view. But the entrepreneurial herder’s point of view is not the only point of view in this situation. The profits made by some came at the expense of losses made by others, whose cattle turned out to be too skinny at market relative to the competition, or whose herd did not have the numbers to afford good healthcare and education for their families. This is precisely why the commons is a tragedy, because it is essentially a zero-sum game. The moment the other herders realised there’s more profits to be made by letting their cattle graze longer or by increasing their own herd too, they did so, up to the point when grazing the commons was no longer sustainable and the herding industry collapsed because nobody’s cattle were getting the grazing they needed – there were now just too many. In other words, the availability of a common resource that was large enough to accommodate multiple herders led inevitably to their downfall given the selfish characteristics of human nature. The tragedy of the commons also reveals that what makes sense to one might not make sense to all.

The most obvious commons we can think of is planet Earth. There might be a time when humanity will regard other galaxies, or perhaps the entire universe, as expendable commons, but we are not there yet. Humans, however, have now scattered across and populated the entire globe. We find human communities in the cold polar regions as well as in temperate and tropical climates. This is not something trivial. If you take a cruise to Alaska, you will need to do something different than what you are wearing today if you wish to enjoy the spectacle from the ship’s deck. Essentially, this constitutes one-way human being adapt. We change attire to shield ourselves from the biting cold as well as the scorching sun. In places, you might not need to shelter your skin from the elements at all. So, one way humans adapt better than other species to the environment they find themselves in is by changing themselves. I wouldn’t worry about getting mauled by a polar bear in Egypt. There’s no chance that a polar bear has strayed all the way to Cairo on some aspirational adventure. Most species, like polar bears, cannot modify their own nature to adapt themselves to different ecological conditions.

For the human species, changing oneself to environmental demands is not the only potential adaptation either. Because humans also adapt the environment to themselves, other than adapting themselves to the environment. We build houses and apartment complexes that provide us with more shelter than the foliage of trees; we build cars and motorways to travel faster than our legs can carry us; we grow crops and farm animals to procure the alimentation we need even if this is not naturally plentiful. And in this way, we survive everywhere we roam. Think of a Zoom call that takes place between an Egyptian, a Maltese and a Norwegian in their native countries. They could all be perfectly comfortable behind their own desk, discussing the finer merits of scientific theory. But the Egyptian might need to cool down his environment by sitting in an airconditioned office to be comfortable enough to sit in a Zoom call. The Norwegian, on the other hand, might need to heat up their office rather than cool it down to be similarly comfortable, whilst the Maltese might get by with opening a window. This is a crucial paradox that I wish to elaborate: everywhere they roam human beings have exactly the same needs but wherever they are their needs will be different from those of others just like them. In other words, both in Egypt as well as in Norway, individuals will need to regulate the temperature of their dwellings to make them habitable enough to be productive, but to do so Egyptians will need to do things differently from Norwegians. It would make no sense at all to install Norwegian central heating systems in Egyptian households or Egyptian cooling units in Norwegian ones.

The issue of Culture

Humanity might be a single species, but human beings themselves come in different shapes and sizes. We differ from each other naturally in many ways. Some of us are male, some of us are female, some are old, some are young, some overweight, some underweight, and so on. Not only, some can jump higher than others, run faster than others, sing better than others, and so on. In psychology, we call these individual differences. And it goes without saying that some do better than others in life due to the fact that they are better endowed in these or other terms. Not everyone can play football as well as Mo Salah. Most players who can play football as well as Mo Salah will likely end up playing for major clubs in major leagues, making major money. The rest will just have to make do in some other way. But this is not where all our differences lie. We also differ from each other in cultural terms. Some of us will eat our dinner this evening using nothing other than our bare hands. Others will use cutlery to manage our bites. And others yet will use chopsticks to dive into their meals. Not only. Some of us will feel like they haven’t eaten properly if their meal did not include a portion of rice. Others might feel like there was something missing if their meal did not include a side of bread. And others might complain that regardless of what they were served, the flavour was simply too spicy, or too bland. Cultural practices and habits, which we learn by virtue of which community we are born into, distinguish us from each other in ways beyond natural dispositions. So, whilst we are all capable of learning any language when we are born, some of us grow up speaking Mandarin, some of us English, others Farsi, Maltese, or any other language that humans still speak somewhere today. The cultures we inhabit serve to channel our natural abilities. Without some form of communion with fellow human beings, individuals will not learn language at all. Born into a community, they will acquire its language without needing formal instruction to do so. This is the potential that inheres in the human mind. By the time they reach school age, children will typically have mastered basic abilities such as speaking, eating and playing without having been formally taught to do so. Imagine then how these variable characteristics play out across the species once learning through instruction kicks in. Norwegian children grow up in this way to speak Norwegian as well as to understand the merits of central heating systems and triple glazed fixtures. Egyptian children, by contrast, grow up to speak Arabic and to install and repair air-conditioning units.  

The cultures we inhabit sow as well as nourish our human aspirations. At face value, we all seem to aspire to the same things. We all aspire to grow up and have respectable and well-paying jobs, we all want to live in happy families, see our parents live long and our children thrive in whatever they choose to do, we all want good quality healthcare for ourselves and our families, we want the best education for our children, we want to live in peace, we want friends to share our special moments with, and when we die we want our loved ones to remember us and to be grateful for the good we did to them. But each and every aspiration listed is infused by the cultures we inhabit. I do not mean here that what is good education for one culture might be indoctrination for another, or what constitutes a family in one culture is not acceptable in another, although these are human issues too. But even if we agree on certain basic premises, such as the eradication of poverty, or armed conflict, or AIDS, there are still critical cultural concerns to contend with along the lines of the variable environments we inhabit and what it takes to satisfy our aspirations in one place as opposed to another.

Let us consider a slight example to illustrate this point. Every tomato grower the world over who has ever taken tomato seeds and planted them in a small pot until they germinated wished to see the tomato growing process to completion until the plant bears fruit. The question is, what does it take for some plant to bear fruit in one country as opposed to another? In some countries, tomatoes may grow in the wild. In other countries, you might be able to plant seeds in a pot for transplantation outdoors later. In some other countries you might have to build a greenhouse and water the plants throughout their entire lifecycle yourself. What it takes for a plant to bear fruit, essentially, is contingent on variable ecological conditions. I would like to argue that the same goes for human aspirations. What it takes for parents to rear a family in Norway is very different from what it takes to do the same in Egypt, as it is from any other place we wish to consider. In essence, we can start by agreeing on a desirable outcome, but what it will take to achieve that outcome depends on various other contingencies that emanate from the environment we are dealing with, including its cultural features. It will not do to transpose, lock, stock and barrel, the tomato growing methods of the Nile to Norway anymore than it will do to transpose Norwegian pine growing methods to Egypt. In both cases there are ecological constraints, very different from each other, that need to be addressed for plants of whatever kind to flower. The same goes for educating children, reducing carbon emissions, alleviating traffic congestion, or any other social state we aspire to achieve for ourselves and our children. The only lesson we learn from transposing agricultural methods invariably across diverse ecological domains is that it does not work. I would like to argue that we need to derive a similar lesson with regard to how we direct health, education and urban development programmes. 


The problem of the Other

The fact that social interventions need to cater to local conditions is perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in the efficacy of HIV/AIDS public health campaigns. Studies like Joffe’s (1995) in the United Kingdom and Skovdal et al.’s (2022) in Zimbabwe demonstrate that no matter where public health campaigns are undertaken, they need to consider the nature of local cultural beliefs and practices if they are to have any success in prevention or treatment. Any time they do not and presume that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, they stand to fail due to inadvertent circumstances. Joffe’s study, for instance, demonstrated how gay men in the UK misunderstood the nature of HIV and its transmission resulting in unnecessarily unsafe and detrimental sexual practices. Skovdal et al. (2022) similarly show how gender norms and moral values in Zimbabwe are an impediment to the success of prevention programmes amongst teenage girls. To reiterate, you cannot convince Zimbabwean teenage girls to engage in safe sexual practices on the basis of knowledge about the sex lives of teenagers in the United Kingdom anymore than you can do the inverse. Instead of exporting development programmes to developing countries modelled on services designed in developed ones, we need a clear and obvious effort to understand local cultural conditions so that we can tailor development programmes accordingly.

This might be easier said than done. Again, what stands in the way of this strategy is human nature. Scholars in the social sciences have long documented a set of cognitive biases that lead to differential appraisal across intergroup divides. For instance, Ross & Ward (1996) claim that human beings are subject to a naïve realism bias. This means that they consider their own views to be right and correct and others’ discrepant views to be necessarily biased and faulty, rather than otherwise informed. Individuals reason that their own views are correct given their own experiences and that if others had the same experiences, they would essentially reason like them and agree with them that their perspective is right. To the extent that they do not, this means that their thinking is somehow faulty and leads to the wrong conclusions. Similarly, Sammut & Sartawi (2012) report that individuals attribute ignorance to other points of view that disagree with the ones they hold. In this way, they do not have to entertain the possibility of error in their own convictions. There is a clear adaptive benefit in our faulty reasoning about other people’s discrepant views, that is, it serves to consolidate intragroup cohesion around the group’s cause by dismissing or ostracising opposition. This enables the group’s project to withstand criticism and survive opposition from without.  It also means that when we try to fit square pegs in round holes, we do not even realise we are doing so. And this is dangerous as far as intergroup relations are concerned because it sets us on a collision course between right and wrong, rather than a collaborative course that provides tailored solutions to local problems. In extreme cases, this cognitive bias leads to victimisation where privileged positions blame underprivileged ones for their own ills, such as Satoshi Kanazawa’s (2006) claims that economic inequality in Africa is undergirded by low IQ amongst Africa’s populace.


Engaging the Other

The studies reviewed above are critical in understanding the cultural asymmetry problem and pivotal in identifying a workable solution. If misunderstandings arise due to premature dismissal of differences, understandings should arise through increased engagement. At this point, I would like to introduce the PASS model for cultural engagement. The model was developed in the process of addressing intercultural discrepancies in integration aspirations amongst different socio-ethnic groups in Malta. We believe that such empirical engagement with local communities should be a prerequisite to any development initiative that aspires to ameliorate conditions on the ground.

The problem we sought to address stemmed from discrepant attitudes towards integration amongst different socio-ethnic groups in Malta (Sammut & Lauri, 2017; Sammut, Buhagiar, Mifsud, DeGiovanni & Brockdorff, 2022). During the course of our inquiry, we found that negative attitudes were directed in particular at the Arab community. In a subsequent study, we sought to understand the specific concerns harboured by the Maltese relative to this community (Sammut et al., 2018). Not only, we also wanted to understand what the local Arab community thought of the prospect of integration (Buhagiar & Sammut, 2023a). We reasoned that this would yield insight into why integration might be failing due to incommensurable differences. Our initial hypothesis was that the Maltese were after a different form of integration than the Arab community (Sammut, 2022).

Our studies yielded different results (Buhagiar, Mifsud, Brockdorff & Sammut, 2020). It might be rather unsurprising, in hindsight, that the qualitative studies we undertook with both communities revealed a variety of justifications both for and anti-integration on either side. This means to say that we identified both good reasons for Arab integration amongst both Maltese and Arab groups. However, we also found opposing arguments to integration amongst both groups. Crucially, even when the two groups advanced similar claims, their justificatory support was different and particular to their own group. For example, the claim that ‘Maltese and Arabs can definitely get along whilst fully keeping their cultural and religious differences’ was advanced by members of both groups. However, Maltese respondents justified this claim by stating that ‘We never had problems with Arabs; they integrate and we get along’ and ‘Arabs are OK and pleasant to deal with’. Respondents further supported their arguments by noting how ‘Some [Arabs] are very polite’ and that ‘unlike abroad, there are no problems [between the two] here’. Arab respondents, however, justified the pro-integration claim differently. They argued that ‘the Maltese are kind-hearted and welcoming’ and that ‘integration is the only option’ that enables ‘amicable co-existence’ and ‘dialogue and respect’. We can see that the participants from the two groups agreed, but for different reasons. In similar fashion, anti-integrationist claims were also justified differentially across the group divide. For example, the claim that ‘religious and cultural differences between Arabs and Maltese can be problematic’ was justified by Maltese respondents in terms of claims that ‘Arab culture contrasts with Maltese culture more strongly then other cultures do’, and by Arab respondents in terms of ‘we have different views on gender’.

Following this extensive qualitative exercise, which involved extended interviews with members of both communities, we proceeded to identify a list of twelve claims that recurred across both groups but that were differentially justified. We subjected this list to an expert ranking exercise that provided us with a scale ranging from pro-integrationist to anti-integrationist claims (Table 1).





Maltese and Arabs can get along whilst keeping their cultural and religious differences


It would be better if Maltese and Arabs engaged each other instead of isolating


Having Christian and Muslim places of worship side by side makes for a strong and inclusive society


The similarities between Arab and Maltese culture, heritage, language and mentality help us get along


As a minimum there should be no discrimination between Maltese and Arabs


Cultural contact between Arabs and Maltese can be good in some respects


Religious and cultural differences between Arabs and Maltese can be problematic


Migrants would do well to keep certain cultural practices private


Arabic Islamic culture and Maltese Christian culture are too contrasting for us to get along


At the end of the day, both Arabs and Maltese will want to impose their own ways on others


It would definitely be better if Maltese and Arabs avoid dealing with each other


Racism between Maltese and Arabs makes sense, we simply should not mix

Table 1: Views concerning integration that transpired amongst Maltese and Arab communities.


We proceeded to administer this scale to both Maltese and Arab communities for quantitative analysis in an effort to understand how many of each community leaned one way or the other. Once again, in hindsight, the study revealed the obvious finding that both pro- and anti-integrationist views received some endorsement from both sides. Whilst in everyday matters we are inclined to divide populations by demographic criteria based on essentialised differences (Buhagiar, Sammut, Rochira & Salvatore, 2018), arguing that the Maltese are like this, the Arabs are like that, the Jews are like this, the Palestinians are like that, and so on, empirical research reveals that national and ethnic categories are diverse and include within them different perspectives. It goes without saying that there are peacemakers and warmongers on both sides. The encouraging finding in our study was that the statements in favour of the project of integration received resounding support in both groups. That is, our study revealed that the overwhelming majority of Maltese and Arab respondents in our study favoured integration, whilst anti-integration statements received significantly less support.

This was not the only notable finding in our study. We also asked our respondents to indicate what they thought members of the other group would think about the statements they were rating. That is, we asked the Maltese what the Arabs would think, and the Arabs what the Maltese would think, about each of the statements in Table 1. When contrasting these beliefs with actual levels of support by each group, we made a startling finding. That is, we found that whilst the Arab group attributed a similar level of endorsement with the various items to that actually provided by the Maltese, the same was not true of Maltese attributions to Arabs. That is, Maltese respondents significantly underestimated the level of endorsement Arabs gave to pro-integration items and significantly overestimated the level of endorsement Arab respondents accorded anti-integrationist items. This was a critical finding. It revealed that intergroup problems between Maltese and Arabs in Malta do not stem from discrepant ideals and relational aspirations, but from a misunderstanding of Arab intentions on the part of the Maltese. In other words, the Maltese think that Arabs do not wish to integrate when in actual fact they do. This is a critical insight as it points directly to a locus of intervention that stands to ameliorate intergroup relations in Malta. The policymaker is therefore advised to address their attention to the misunderstanding by the Maltese. Efforts at promoting the project of integration with the Maltese and Arab groups respectively are misplaced – both groups are already signed up.



We realise that the PASS model we have elaborated is not specifically designed to guide particular development initiatives. However, we contend that it provides a general blueprint for guiding development interventions in any domain. The model starts by identifying a project [P] of common interest and concern (Buhagiar & Sammut, 2020). In our case this was migrant integration in Malta. It could have been any other mutually valid concern, such as prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, promotion of STEM education programmes, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and so on. Any project investigated is bound to reveal a diversity of views across any socio-demographic category. The second step in our model, therefore, deconstructs the argumentation [A] justifications supporting such views, be they for or against the project under consideration (Buhagiar & Sammut, 2023b). This provides a detailed understanding of both support and resistance for the project. Crucially, it advances an understanding of context-based reasoning as it applies to particular groups over attributions (or misattributions) by some to others. In other words, no particular point of view is necessarily privileged or prioritised relative to other points of views. In this way, our PASS model levels the playing field.

The third step of our procedure involves scaling [S] the items from those that are most in favour to those that are most against the fulfilment of the project. This enables the final step, that of surveying [S] the distribution of opinions and attribution of opinions to understand (a) the level of support or opposition the project commands amongst particular groups, (b) the level of agreement or contrast in distributions across different groups, and (c) the degree of understanding or misunderstanding particular groups demonstrate relative to other groups. In this way, the PASS model (Project; Argumentation; Scaling; Survey) serves to deepen our understanding of others’ views in their own terms rather than prejudging them on the basis of one’s own. Crucially, it serves to further our understanding of where intergroup misunderstandings lie. This enables collaborative corrective action based on shared aspirations. Moreover, the PASS model enables the policymaker to communicate messages to particular communities that they are known to understand. In our example, the Maltese policymaker is empowered to engage the Maltese population on the basis of reasoning that makes good sense to the Maltese whilst engaging the Arab community on the basis of reasoning that makes good sense to Arabs. This, therefore, avoids privileging particular views as common-sense and discrepant views as nonsense (Sammut & Bauer, 2021). Rather, the PASS model is designed to respect and utilize the varieties of good sense that abound within local communities towards the collaborative achievement of projects of mutual concern. In this way, natural and cultural differences in the human species no longer serve to divide us. Rather, they provide the building blocks for co-constructing inclusive programmes that serve natural human aspirations of a better life.





4- Dr. Anasse Bouhlal - Finland


The concept and its history

"The culture of peace is based on the principles established in the Charter of the United Nations and on respect for human rights, democracy, and tolerance, the promotion of development, education for peace, the free flow of information and the wider participation of women as an integral approach to preventing violence and conflicts, and efforts aimed at the creation of conditions for peace and its consolidation.”

 A culture of peace is linked intrinsically to non-violent struggle. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King called it “active non-violence”, and they showed that although the non-violent walk to freedom is long, it is a sure way to peace. In the struggle for a culture of peace and non-violence, there are no enemies. Everyone must be considered a potential partner. The task is to constantly argue and negotiate with those engaged in the culture of violence, refusing to give up the struggle, until they are convinced to join in working for a culture of peace. Sixty years after the founding of UNESCO, the culture of peace highlights and helps people all over the world to be able to live in accordance with the very principles that inspired the Organization’s creation. UNESCO has a great variety of tasks, but only one mission - to build peace. Article I of the Constitution of UNESCO states: “The purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.”

This is a road on which we already have passed major milestones of progress. Some are at the level of intergovernmental relations: for example, the 1899 Hague Peace Conference; the 1919 League of Nations; the United Nations and UNESCO in 1945; and the Yamoussoukro Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men which first formulated the idea “culture of peace” in 1989.

The Culture of Peace came into being in Yamoussoukro (Ivory Coast) in 1989, was adopted as a Programme of UNESCO in 1995, and is now a world movement. Its goal is to ensure the transition from a culture of war, violence, imposition and discrimination towards a culture of non-violence, dialogue, tolerance and solidarity. Individuals as well as institutions and states are already taking part in this movement. A great number of partners - including women’s groups, youth groups, teachers, mayors, members of parliament, armed forces and the media, journalists, religious figures, representatives of indigenous peoples, artists, and many others - have already undertaken important projects.

In 1997, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the year 2000 the International Year for the Culture of Peace, and in 1998 it declared the period 2001-2010 the “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World”. Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence, which was drafted by winners of the Nobel Prize for Peace, was made public on 4 March, 1999, an event which marked the start of a world-wide public awareness campaign to promote the aims of the International Year for the Culture of Peace.

What follows is an outline of some of the many programs that UNESCO is involved with to promote the culture of peace and the culture of peace decade. This is what UNESCO calls a “cross-cutting theme”, or transdisciplinary program.

Promoting peace through education is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission. As stated in its constitution of 1945, UNESCO advances international peace and the common welfare of humanity through educational, scientific and cultural relations between peoples of the world.

Though the world has changed over the past seventy years and continues to change at an ever-increasing rate, UNESCO’s mission - a commitment to promoting universal values of peace and nonviolence, human rights and social justice, intercultural dialogue, and mutual understanding – persists with growing urgency. UNESCO’s approach to

educating for peace is multidimensional, in that it links education with a range of activities that address the root causes of violence, from human security to sustainable development.

The goal of UNESCO’s education programs and partnerships is the development of comprehensive systems of education that embrace the values of human rights, intercultural understanding, and tolerance. Education for peace

and non-violence promotes the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that reflect and inspire these values.

As the lead agency within the UN system for the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010, UNESCO is responsible for coordinating and directly implementing activities that promote the objectives of the Decade through education, the sciences, culture, communication, and information.

The culture of peace is defined as a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior, and ways of life that reject violence and aim to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes through dialogue and negotiation between individuals, groups, and nations.

UNESCO promotes the culture of peace through an intersectoral platform. This platform involves all five sectors of UNESCO: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. It seeks to mainstream intercultural dialogue in policies and actions to promote mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect, all of which are considered to be creative forces for a sustainable future. The intersectoral platform will also develop tools based on good practices in intercultural dialogue.


What is Peace Education?

Education for non-violence and peace includes training, skills, and information directed towards cultivating a culture of peace based on human rights principles. This education not only provides knowledge about a culture of peace, but also imparts the skills and attitudes necessary to defuse and recognize potential conflicts, and those needed to actively promote and establish a culture of peace and non-violence.

The learning objectives of peace education may include an understanding of the manifestations of violence, the development of capacities to respond constructively to that violence, and specific knowledge of alternatives to violence.

Two fundamental concepts of peace education are respect and skills. Respect refers to the development of respect for self and others; skills refer to specific communication, cooperation, and behavioral skills used in conflict situations.

UNESCO’s activities, projects, and partners in education for peace and non-violence work with a holistic approach to establish and nurture the respect and skills needed to build a culture of peace.


UNESCO’s Work with Member States.

As an intergovernmental organization, UNESCO cooperates – first and foremost – with governments in re-orienting educational policies (including national educational legislation) towards values that lay the foundation for peace and respect for human rights. This entails providing technical assistance, and capacity building in:

-         framing national policies and strategies for the national education system reforms.

-         training educational staff, policy-makers, and teachers to build the capacities of national institutions;

-         improving curricula; and

-         revising and adapting textbooks and learning materials.

UNESCO advances peace education activities by providing support to Member States to integrate a holistic vision of quality education that promotes the values of a culture of peace at all levels of their education systems.

The Organization provides various means of support, such as the co-production of textbooks by two or more countries as a basis for mutual understanding; the development of learning materials that are culturally and linguistically appropriate; providing support for Member States wishing to carry out bilateral or multilateral revisions of curricula and textbooks to remove prejudices or stereotypes, and by promoting teacher training and educational programmes in peace and human rights education.

Monitoring International Normative Instruments

Standard-setting has always played a central role in UNESCO’s activities. An important aspect of UNESCO´s work involves monitoring, evaluating, and supporting Member States in implementing UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments (conventions and recommendations).

Examples of Standard-setting Instruments:

·       The 1974 UNESCO Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an elaboration of Article 26.2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Recommendation sets out guiding principles for UNESCO’s action to promote education on peace and respect for human rights.


·       The 1995 Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy is UNESCO´s major instrument for action in the field of Education for Human Rights and Citizenship. The framework offers a contemporary view of the problems and strategies relating to education for peace, human rights, and democracy.

Networking, Advocacy, and Research.

UNESCO works to mobilize political will and coordinate the efforts of development partners, governments, NGOs, educational institutions, and civil society to promote education for peace and non-violence through partnerships, advocacy, and the advancement of research. For example, among others: UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASP net) and UNESCO Chairs.


UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASP Net)

Established in 1953, the Associated Schools Project network is a global network of some 8,000 educational Institutions in 177 Member States. For the past forty years, ASP Net has been promoting quality education, human rights implementation, world heritage education, peace and human rights education, and fostering innovative good practice.

ASP net schools are encouraged to conduct pilot projects that reflect their commitment to the ideals of human rights, peace, democracy, non-violence, intercultural learning, and protection of the environment. To this end, ASP Net invited its partner schools to carry out original projects for the UNESCO Peace Pillar Award Initiative. UNESCO published a collection of these winning school's projects in “Peace Pillar Award Initiatives – Good Practices in Support for Educating for Peace and Non-Violence”.

The international campaign: “All Equal in Diversity: Mobilizing Schools Against Racism, Discrimination, and Exclusion” was launched in 2005 among ASP net Schools. Schools make a three-year commitment, during which they carry out activities such as analyzing the media, conducting research on the Internet, and organizing conferences and school exchanges on the theme of diversity.

More information about these and other campaigns can be found online at

UNESCO Chairs for Peace Education

The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs programme was launched in 1991 as an international plan of action aimed at strengthening training and research through inter-university cooperation. It has contributed to the creation of powerful and efficient networks that promote academic solidarity across the world. Today there are 632 UNESCO Chairs

and 67 UNITWIN Networks involving over 900 institutions in 125 countries. Sixteen chairs and one network focus their research on education for peace and non-violence.

The UNESCO Chairs in the field of peace education promote integrated research, training, curriculum development, and documentation activities related to education for peace and peaceful resolution of conflicts and contribute to the development of peace education in higher education.

Academia Alliance for Sustainable Peace

Universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions (HEIs) play a critical role in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Agenda (SDG 16) HEIs are mentioned specifically under SDG 4 on quality and inclusive education, but their influence extends across all the goals through teaching and learning, research output, and campus initiatives. HEIs facilitate social, environmental, and economic development. They are one of the most significant incubators of ideas and solutions to global problems, and their central position amongst networks of government, civil society, and industry partners means that they have vast potential to generate positive impact.

 Since the international community of Member States came together to agree upon the 2030 Agenda, some HEIs have established campus greening initiatives to improve their internal sustainability, while others have implemented community outreach programs, student groups, as well as research and innovation hubs. It is highly recommended that HEI will take more initiative on Sustainable Peace.

The main focus will be SDG 16 goal: promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. Throughout this initiative, HEI will be invited to develop knowledge and skills in conflict resolution, mediation, peace, and reconciliation.

In addition, they are encouraged to share the existing initiatives led by universities from the Arab region and outside of the region. Actions may lead to the development of joint courses and/or online modules on conflict resolution, mediation, peace, and reconciliation in three languages: Arabic, French, and English, and developing a joint Digital Peace Platform as a repository for the program’s curriculum, recommended courses and modules, case studies, and reference literature. In addition, it can serve as a platform for constructive debates and the sharing of the best practices, including publications, using modern means of technology.

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