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null Education: a path for dignity and social responsibility, for everyone, everywhere

On 24 January 2023 the world celebrated the fifth edition of the International Day of Education, this year under the theme “To invest in people, prioritize education”. One day before, the Board of Foundation of approved the organisation's new strategy for the coming five years (2023-2027) under the title of: “Ethical leadership through higher education and global engagement”.

This coincidence in timing, in addition to the resonance between the two titles, reflects the strong belief at that education is the way to build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable world, and that we need more ethical leaders to achieve it.

However, education is currently facing two major challenges:

Access to education

According to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, it is estimated that 244 million children and youth between the ages of 6 and 18 worldwide were out of school in 2021. The situation is even worse when it comes to the higher education level. Being denied access to education, which is a universal human right (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26), is an exclusionary reality that should be challenged everywhere.

I can’t help, in this context, but think of the girls and women in Afghanistan who have been cruelly denied their right to learn and study. I wish they could hear our solidarity with them, and our admiration for their engagement despite all risks to face this injustice.

Purpose of education

Even for those who have the chance to access education including higher education studies, a question has become inevitable: what is the purpose of their studies?

Schools and universities seem just to compete with each other based on the level of job and related income their students might have, while a growing global awareness insists on the need for less individualistic education, including the development of more socially responsible competencies, for peaceful, inclusive and sustainable living.

The 2030 SDG agenda strongly confirms this requirement, under Goal 4 (target 4.7), by calling to ensure that “all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.” 

We, at, through our international programmes and network, are more committed than ever to face these challenges by equipping individuals and institutions for ethical thinking, decision-making and action through higher education and policy engagement from cross-cultural and global perspectives. With you, we want to make education a path for dignity and social responsibility, for everyone, everywhere.

Fadi Daou Executive Director