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NO.394 05.09.2018

Education Brings Peace

How do international issues in the global society affect us?

On Monday afternoon, on April 2, Irina Bokova, Miwon Chair Professor and Honorary Rector of Humanitas College (former UNESCO Director General), and Joon Oh, Professor at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies (former Ambassador to the UN), met with members of Kyung Hee at the Main Conference Room of the University Administration Building to exchange their views on major global issues.

In February, Professor Bokova embarked on the ‘Future of Kyung Hee’ journey, when she received her honorary doctoral degree in Peace from Kyung Hee University. She kicked off her first event on March 27 with the ‘1st Bokova Special Lecture Series.’ The most recent discussion entitled, “Everything about the UN and UNESCO,’ was especially well-received, attended by over 100 students with aspirations of joining international organizations. The event mainly consisted of conversations between Professors Bokova and Oh, followed by a Q&A session.


Stressing the importance of global citizenship education that supports universal values and diversity
In the conversation, Professor Bokova emphasized the role of education. “Peace is a sustainable goal; thus, humankind must come together as one in order to build a sustainable future. The power that enables peace resides in education.” Since her time as Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova has consistently emphasized ‘Education for All’ on a global scale.

Professor Oh also commented on education saying, “Sometimes globalization acts as a catalyst to inciting global issues. Despite the myriad issues we face, we must encourage exchange. The entire world must partake in global citizenship education in order to solve the problems that confront the international society.”


Global citizenship education is an international program in which UNESCO plays a prominent role. With the goal of cultivating the capability to address international issues by putting human rights, sustainable development, multicultural understanding, and peace at front and center, Professor Bokova calls this effort ‘Reeducating the world into global citizens.’ Professor Oh stressed the need for global citizenship education that supports ‘universal values, such as human rights, freedom, and diversity.’



Cultural diversity cannot justify human rights violations
Professor Oh praised Irina Bokova for her pioneering role in promoting women’s rights. As the first female Director General of UNESCO, Professor Bokova has been relentless in her fight to expand women’s rights, often confronted by the need to advance universal human rights in the face of respecting cultural diversity.

Professor Bokova named ‘female circumcision’ as an example of inhuman practices that had previously remained tolerated under the name of cultural diversity. She emphasized, “Human rights cannot be violated under the pretense of respect for cultural diversity.” Professor Bokova also reiterated the need to educate girls and women; education affords women diverse opportunities, and the scientific and medical knowledge help them to raise their children in more hygienic and healthier ways.

In the Q&A session that followed, a student asked for advice to the students who desire to work for international organizations. In her reply, Professor Bokova stated, “Those who work in international organizations are international civil servants; hence, it is important that they do away with bureaucracy and work with a sense of mission.” She also reminded the audience that “they may be assigned to regions in conflict, and may witness war. However, with a clear awareness that their actions are contributing to world peace, they will be rewarded with a sense of achievement.”

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