The session was facilitated by Diane Whitehead, Executive Director of ACEI, and Yvette Murphy, Director of the Center for Education Diplomacy. Whitehead began the session by introducing the concept of Education Diplomacy: “Education Diplomacy is building on soft skills to build bridges and fill the gaps for a better living together, creating partnerships and developing cooperative ways of working together to move education and peaceful societies forward.” Through education diplomacy, education leaders can create environments for peaceful dialogues and shaping of global security.
Katharina Höne, Project Manager and Researcher at the DiploFoundation, talked about education as a human right and discussed how the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Goals represent a need for creating new pathways for diplomacy through various partnerships, dialogue, and advocacy skills. Höne emphasized that education, as a human right, should be directed to the development of skills that support peace founded on intellectual solidarity. The 2030 Agenda introduces this shift to a focus on social and development issues, integrating a larger spectrum of topics and actors—including civil society organizations and non-state actors. These actors are necessary assets in education diplomacy and in developing inclusive partnerships to advocate for and cultivate the trust necessary to bridge the gaps between local communities and the global arena.
Mohit Mukherjee, Founding Director of UPEACE’s Center for Executive Education, joined the session virtually via a pre-recorded video. Mukherjee talked about the importance of education diplomacy and how social innovation can prepare people to move from awareness of education realities to becoming actors bringing education changes. He emphasized the need for a practical approach based on core values of social justice and a sustainable environment to foster innovative skills and mindsets for action. Social innovators then can apply this practical approach and consider multi-layered perspectives as they seek solutions to problems.
Marina Anselme-Lopez, Chief Programme Development & Evaluation Officer at RET International (Refugee Education Trust), shared her experiences bringing education into difficult contexts through RET. Through education, RET tackles gender-based violence and exploitation and promotes conflict prevention and peace-building skills. Too often, learners in conflict zones are seeing their right to education denied or diminished. Education diplomacy and human rights education can provide the right advocacy tools for equipping refugees, stakeholders, and partners to promote quality education. It also can raise awareness about the consequences when the right to education is being violated and mobilize resources to support education and reinforce resilience and peace.
For more information about Education Diplomacy, visit ACEI’s Center for Education Diplomacy.
To continue the dialogue on Education Diplomacy, register for the 2017 Institute of the Center for Education Diplomacy in Washington, DC, from 20-22 April 2017.