Beirut, 14 October 2019 (UN Information Centre in Beirut) – Under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut), in collaboration with UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, World Youth Alliance-Middle East (WYAME) non-governmental organization, and Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU) organized a ceremony to distribute UN Certificates to public and private schools that took part in an outreach activity, entitled “UN Aware – Phase III” on the work and priorities of the United Nations.
The ceremony, which was held at the UNESCO Regional office in Bir Hassan, was attended by Minister of Education and Higher Education Mr. Akram Chehayeb, Director General of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Mr. Fadi Yarak, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in the Arab States, Hamed Al Hammami, UNIC Beirut Director Margo El-Helou, President of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, Henri Awit and World Youth Alliance Middle East Regional Director Mary- Joe Alavalas, in addition to professors and students from participating schools.
In his statement, Minister Chehayeb considered that such activities aim at reinforcing the principles enshrined in the UN Charter of Human Rights in the daily lives of young people and helping them be on the right track in the labor market, in addition to encouraging compliance with laws, constitutions and regulations. Chehayeb added that the Ministry of Education, in partnership with UNESCO and United Nations organizations, seeks to “reconcile what our children learn in schools and universities, and what they face in real life and in the labor market.” In the same context, the minister reiterated the ministry’s commitment to enforce human rights and implement Sustainable Development Goals, expressing hope to widen the scope of such activities to include more schools and public and private educational institutions for the sake of further spreading UN principles that help raise the level of humanity, and incite more collective action for the good of the homeland and citizens”.
For his part, Hammami praised the ongoing cooperation between UNESCO Regional office, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut and the World Youth Alliance-Middle East in implementing this awareness project, noting in particular the pioneering role played by UNIC Beirut in developing this initiative, implementing it and making it a success. Hammami also highlighted the importance of this initiative in educating the youth about the core values of the United Nations and incorporating them into their daily lives, their schools and families, and among the wider community. He also noted the remarkable response received by the participating schools, and their keenness to adhere to the terms of this initiative and to earn the certificates.
According to Awit, President of the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO, what attracts attention to this initiative is that it is based on the principle of cooperation, which is the principle that the Commission believes in and seeks to adhere to it in its programs and projects. “Our Commission has been contributing with UNIC Beirut, UNESCO Regional Office and World Youth Alliance-Middle East to the implementation of this initiative, with the support and encouragement of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. The remarkable response shown by participating public and private schools represent an inspiring and successful model,” Awit said.
Alavalas, for her part, introduced the World Youth Alliance-Middle East’s goals and missions, which are based on human rights and human dignity. She gave a presentation on the initiative summarizing the stages of its implementation and the activities carried out by the students.
At the end of the ceremony, “UN Aware” Certificates were distributed to 17 public and private schools from UNESCO ASPnet and from outside the network, as follows in Beirut Al Kawthar Secondary School – Beirut; Hariri High School III – Beirut ; Hassan Saab Mixed Public High School – Beirut; Zahia Kaddoura Public High School for girls – Beirut; Zahrat El-Ihsan School – Beirut; in Mount Lebanon Al Manar Modern School – Ras El Matn; Amchit Public High School; Collège des Sœurs des Saints Cœurs Bauchrieh; Collège Notre Dame des Soeurs Antonines – Hazmieh/Jamhour; Collège Saint Sauveur – Jeita; Hussein Massoud Public High School -Bchamoun; and in the North Lebanon Collège Saint-Georges – Achache; Fadel Al Moukaddem public High School for girls – Tripoli; as well as in the South Lebanon Al Afaq Institute for Development – Imam Sadr Foundation Lebanon – Tyre; Nabatieh Public High School for girls; Our Lady of Annunciation School – Rmeich.
It is worth mentioning, that this initiative, which aims at educating high-school students on the work and priorities of the UN, was implemented in its first phase during the academic year 2016-2017.
It includes lectures, field activities about 3 UN days and designing and implementing activities for a non-governmental association linked to a cause, or one of the Sustainable Development Goals.