The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara marked the International Day of Peace today by stressing the vital role education can play in promoting peace and the urgent need for increased and co-ordinated efforts to peacefully resolve protracted conflicts in the OSCE region.
“The International Day of Peace offers us all an opportunity to reflect on how we can intensify our work to strengthen the ideas of peace both within and among all nations and peoples, and this is especially relevant for the OSCE as the world’s largest regional security organization,” Kozhara said. “Considering that education for peace is the theme of this year’s International Day, I want to stress the critical role education plays in reducing and preventing tensions, building trust, preparing societies for peace and fostering non-violent processes of conflict resolution.”
“Promoting education on human rights and principles of tolerance and non-discrimination is one of key priorities of Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship in 2013. Education has the power to develop values and attitudes, help children reject prejudices and stereotypes and bridge divides between communities and nations,” Kozhara said. “The OSCE Youth Summit we held this summer at the Artek International Children’s Centre served exactly this purpose – to encourage interaction between young people who will serve as peace constituents in their countries in the future.”
The event was held in Crimea, Ukraine, in July-August; it brought together more than 500 children from 60 countries to discuss how they can contribute to tolerance and non-discrimination, as well as to conflict prevention and resolution and peaceful development.
“International Peace Day also offers a unique opportunity for a cessation of violence and hostilities throughout the world,” Kozhara said. “Protracted conflicts in the OSCE region remain one of the main sources of tension and a threat to security and stability in the OSCE area. Efforts must be redoubled to build much-needed political will and to help the parties find lasting peaceful solutions.”
“Tested and proven instruments the OSCE has in stock, such as dialogue facilitation, mediation, preventive diplomacy and non-military confidence-building measures, as well as capacity- and peace-building activities must be used in conjunction with meeting the immediate needs of people in conflict-affected territories. This would help create an atmosphere of trust and confidence between people, communities and nations, and pave the way for sustainable resolution of conflicts,” Kozhara said.