The International Day of Education 2021
Building a Sustainable Future with Love and Conscience-driven Education
“Education is the foundation for expanding opportunities, transforming economies, fighting intolerance, protecting our planet and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the third International Day of Education, January 24, 2021, stressing, “As the world continues to battle the pandemic, education – as a fundamental right and a global public good – must be protected to avert a generational catastrophe.”
In light of the importance of education for the development of the world, in the first month of 2021, FOWPAL held an online forum in support of the International Day of Education on January 24 and received warm messages from heads of state and government, ministers of education, and leaders from all walks of life, including the Prime Ministers of Belgium and New Zealand; the Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan; the Governor General of Canada; the President of Colombia; the Minister for Higher Education and Science of Denmark; Henry XIII. Prince Reuss (Heinrich XIII Prinz Reuß) in Germany; the Minister for Education of Ireland; and former Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk. Other visionary leaders also shared their insights on this important day.
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, president of FOWPAL, delivered welcome remarks, stressing, “Education is more than the transmission of knowledge and ideas. A good culture is essential for a quality education, which inspires people’s innate conscience. The heart is the foundation of everything. The physical reality is just the reflection of the heart. Positive thinking will lead to positive development. As such, it is imperative to promote conscience-driven education.” He also emphasized, "Conscience-driven education is a tool to help all human beings achieve true freedom, and the implementation of such education is the most crucial and practical approach to sound education for all."
Mr. Frédéric Vacheron, head-in-charge of UNESCO office in Mexico, shared four key ideas to facilitate recovery from the pandemic crisis and improve the well-being of the COVID Generation: to reverse the effects of inequality, to participate in the transformation of reality, to prepare and recognize the leadership in teachers and school administrators as well as to take advantage of digital technologies to accelerate positive changes.
“I came from a village with nothing, but my education was everything,” said H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius, attesting to the transformative power of education as she became a scientist and then the president of Mauritius in 2015, thanks to her education. She urged people to apply conscience to improve the world, saying, “Let us act to do things with our conscience and build a better world, one that our grandchildren will be proud of. Let us ensure that we deliver on the SDGs with the promise to leave no one behind.”
Dr. Meri Kumbe, Deputy Minister of Culture, Albania, stressed that culture plays a key role in education and talked about a program “Technology for Education Through Culture'' in Albania. “Our ultimate goal is to raise the self-awareness of our cultural values and stimulate a creative spirit embedded at the educational system.”
Dr. Paul Oquist, Private Secretary for National Policies of the President of Nicaragua, pointed out the importance of conscience-driven education, saying, “With conscience-driven education effectively reaching the young minds, meeting and maintaining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals could be easier, given that a good education, especially conscience-driven, strengthens societies, communities, and entire countries.”
“I would like to begin my remarks by thanking FOWPAL Family, especially Hon. Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze,” said Dr. Akkan Suver, president of the Marmara Group Foundation, expressing his appreciation for FOWPAL’s tireless efforts in the betterment of the world: “The FOWPAL Family is constantly on the road map drawn by the United Nations and drawn on the way to serve humanity." Dr. Suver also emphasized the importance of education by saying, “The road of peace passes through education. Our world will be better than today when our future takes shape in the hands of well-educated young people. It is our belief that we should adopt it as the goal of realizing a common educational action at the global level.”
California's San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre said, “We are conscience-driven to educate and illuminate a world full of possibility and hope for every student. Education is the foundation of our society. At San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, we are committed to build on this foundation and to transform lives each and every day.”
Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, a teacher and the president of Youth for Human Rights International in the U.S., said, “As educators, we have to develop new ways of sharing knowledge. Let’s share best-practices through collaboration and international solidarity and learn from each other on how to reach, educate, and empower our students.”
Prof. Rene Wadlow, president of the Association of World Citizens, said his organization “stresses that each person must develop a sense of responsibility toward the Planet and toward others based on the individual’s conscience and moral sense. A sense of responsibility, an ethical concern for social justice, and the dignity of humanity is central to the values of a world citizen.”
Dr. Ramesh Kumar, head and associate professor of the Department of Political Science of S.D. College in India, said, “FOWPAL deserves appreciation and congratulations for creating awareness and advocacy for strengthening the people and safeguarding the planet.” “Let us take a pledge, on this day, to enhance academic excellence and to contribute for the development of the society, state and system.”
Dr. Kuiljeit Uppaal, the world's first image scientist and impact strategist and a recipient of the prestigious Karmaveer Chakra Award, instituted by the UN, said, “Conscience is not only a moral duty; it is also a political and legal requirement and should be exercised by everyone across latitudes and longitudes. We need to recognize the universal human rights and fundamental freedom of others through our conscience.” “Education is the most important way to promote the development of a collective conscience in society,” added Dr. Uppaal.
Many other visionaries also shared their messages in support of the day, including Amina L. Leewo, the representative of the Flame of Peace in Bahrain; Paul H. Sladkus, the president of Milestone Broadcast Corporation; Titta Kote, CEO and founder of the Happy Ambassador Concept in Finland; Peter Jam, a Lebanese-Armenian peacebuilding artist; Rupa Dash, CEO of World Woman Foundation; Elaine Laguerta, director of Women Who Code; Dr. Djuwari SarKawi, associate professor at STIE Perbanas Surabaya in Indonesia; Kelly Anlas, an engineering manager; Aare Adekunle Adeleke Ricardo, founder of Think Positive Africa in Nigeria; Inci Yilmaz, a visual art teacher in Turkey; and Ivan Ricardi in Mexico.
To promote conscience-driven education, FOWPAL introduced the Interactive Conscience Calendar, encouraging everyone to conduct self-reflection on a daily basis by using this calendar. Everyone is encouraged to share the link and invite more people to do good deeds to transform the world together!