Source: UNESCO APCEIU YouTube Channel screenshot
On August 25th 2020, the commemoration for APCEIU’s 20th Anniversary was streamed on APCEIU’s official YouTube channel. Chairman Ban Ki-moon was invited to give a congratulation speech online.
During his commemoratory address, Chairman Ban mentioned the importance of fulfilling values such as “peace, human rights, social justice and sustainable development” for the survival of the entire global ecosystem.
Chairman Ban emphasized the importance of global citizenship education, as we must combat global pandemics like these through global leadership from Governments and international organizations all over the world.
Source: UNESCO APCEIU YouTube Channel screenshot
“Promoting mutual understanding through global citizenship education helps us realize that we all belong to this world as global citizens regardless of our race, religion, age, and gender. This allows us to act based on respect for others and fundamentally changes the way we think.” Chairman Ban stated.
Chairman Ban also addressed that in order to adjust to coming advances; “climate and environmental education should be provided from an early age as the period determines one’s mindset and the way of life.” He stated that the children of today must grow into eco-centric adults that will take responsibility of the future of our environment.
Chairman Ban concluded his speech with a promise to continue his support for APCEIU and their mission to provide global citizenship and sustainability education coming forward.
Below is the full script of Chairman Ban’s commemorative address.
Distinguished members of the UNESCO Asia Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding, APCEIU it is my great pleasure to send my heartfelt congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the APCEIU virtually. This is still meaningful that we are taking a moment to reflect on the proud history of the APCEIU. As we look around the world, people are still starving and not guaranteed the right to education.
Conflicts, disputes and polarization are growing. Worse yet, climate change is threatening the very survival of the entire global ecosystem. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic reveals this depressing reality. The error of vast confusions and uncertainties demands a paradigm shift on a global scale.
Under these circumstances, global citizenship education holds added significance today. It is essential to fulfill universal values such as peace, human rights, social justice and sustainable devolvement; not to mention combating climate change.
This is because promoting mutual understanding through global citizenship education helps us realize that we all belong to this world as global citizens regardless of our race, religion, age, and gender. This allows us to act based on respect for others and fundamentally changes the way we think.
Especially in times of global crises like COVID-19, this change of our perspective can unite us as one world community living on this planet.
Ladies and gentlemen, for the past two decades, the APCEIU has been actively promoting global citizenship education and fostering mutual understanding between countries and ethnicities in the Asian Pacific regions and the world. In particular, it has greatly contributed to reflecting the value of global citizenship on the Sustainable Development Goals. These efforts by the APCEIU go in line with what I had been pursuing highlighting during my term as the Secretary General of the United Nations. Maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, and promoting sustainable development are the pillars that sit at the heart of what the United Nations does. Recognizing the importance of cultivating a sense of global citizenship to achieve these goals. I made a priority agenda for global education while pushing forward the global education first initiative in 2012.
This also directly aligned with the purpose of establishing the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in 2018 in Vienna, Austria and the Ban Ki-moon foundation for a Better Future in 2019 in Seoul, Korea.
Education is a fundamental human rights and global citizenship education is indispensable for a peaceful and sustainable future. Especially in the face of the pandemic knowing how to live in harmony with others as members of the international community in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity, not discrimination and hatred has become an utmost task. I hope the Republic of Korea and the APCEIU could take proactive steps together and share the best practice of implementing global citizenship education with the world.
Additionally, I’d like to highlight the importance of providing environmental education to the youth along with global citizenship education. To make a positive change towards sustainable development, climate and environmental education should be provided from an early age as the period determines one’s mindset and the way of life. Providing environmental education to the youth and growing them into eco-centric adults cannot be stressed enough, as they will be the ones who take on the burden from the environmental crisis.
Ladies and gentlemen, global citizenship education and environmental education can serve as long term solutions that reinforce our capacities to adapt to the changes of our time. I respond to prevailing global crises.
We cannot live alone. We must stay connected to one another. This means we need to learn how to live together, as global citizens. Before I close, I’d like to once again express my gratitude to director Hyun Muk Lim, and all staff members of the APCIEU for their hard work to reinforce global citizenship education.
Also, I appreciate the Korean Government, particularly, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their continued support to the APCIEUs activities for the past 20 years.
Looking forward to the APCEIU’s greater role in fostering global citizenship, I promise to assist in any way possible.