The UN International Day of Education 2021
Building a Sustainable Future
with Love and Conscience-driven Education
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Jan. 24, 2021
It is with great delight that we celebrate the third International Day of Education together. There is a Chinese saying, “It takes ten years to grow a tree but a hundred to nourish a person,” which highlights the importance of lifelong education. In 2018, during its 73rd session, the UN General Assembly established January 24 as the International Day of Education, to emphasize the critical role of education in building a sustainable future and a healthy and inclusive society. Every individual is unique. Education helps every one of us to fully realize our potential, enabling us not only to take responsibility for our own lives, but also to cooperate with others to contribute to society. Education empowers individuals to shape the future of our society. As such, the United Nations recognizes education as an inalienable human right. Every world citizen, regardless of background, must be given equal access to education.
Since birth, we have been using our six sense bases to perceive the world. Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and thought are important channels through which we receive and interpret the messages of the world. That is why educators influence learners by their examples, words, and speechless teaching. A school is not the only venue where education takes place. Other factors, such as family, society, enterprises, government institutions, environment, culture, etc., can make even more direct and far-reaching impacts on learners, and all citizens can be influential educators. That is why the United Nations announced in 2015 that the fourth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is "Quality education:" to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
The most important thing in the process and purpose of education is morality. Everyone should be taught to develop a good attitude toward dealing with others, have a kind heart, think good thoughts, foster critical thinking, make right choices, and have healthy values to make positive contributions and changes for themselves and for society. Although education can provide more opportunities and improve people's lives, it is easy to forget to balance development in the moral, intellectual, physical, social, and aesthetic domains or even to achieve a whole-person education with balanced physical, mental, and spiritual development. 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.
Everyone is endowed with conscience. Conscience is above the perceptions of the six senses. It is a sense of inner awareness. It is also a choice. It is a moral compass, which guides us in our daily decision making. Guided by conscience, we will move on the path to brightness in life.
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. Since we all face the temptations of greed and power, which are harmful to character development, educators need to emphasize the importance of conscience in the learning process of their students. Global citizens are encouraged to pay attention to the Movement of An Era of Conscience and the International Day of Conscience and widely promote them. We need to encourage people to reflect on their actions and reclaim their conscience, allowing them to truly tell good from bad, true from false, and right from wrong in their daily lives. Everyone is a leader of conscience. Regardless of race, belief, ethnicity, or nationality, we shall work together for a world of love, peace, and harmony.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, commented that “Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities.” We cannot give up on high-quality education as it underpins the operation of our society. The threat of the novel coronavirus should not prevent us from reflecting on our conscience or deter us from building a tight chain of solidarity and mutual support among families, friends, and world citizens. We can all be educators for others, and we should use love and conscience to guide others to think positively to get through the difficult times and cope with the challenging era.
Through today's celebration, we sincerely thank educators for their hard work and dedication in incorporating conscience into their teaching to help students make the right choices in life, allowing for the sound development of themselves and society. To build a harmonious and sustainable world, we need to awaken our conscience, work together with others with acceptance and gratitude, as well as create a virtuous cycle of kind energy. With conscience, comes a peaceful world; with happiness, comes a joyful family. Let us work together for this vision of a world at peace!
May you all be blessed with peace, safety, and happiness.
Thank you all!
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of UN International Day of Education