The Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) hosted a panel discussion titled ‘Improving Education for Children in Emergencies’, shedding light on the importance of addressing one of the world’s most pressing problems – sustainable access to education in challenging times.
The event was held as part of an ongoing initiative, Humanitarian Week, running from 19 to 23 November, that aims to raise awareness about the importance of supporting humanitarian work, particularly in the education sector.
The event, hosted at the premises of the EDA included an introduction by the Academy’s Director General His Excellency Bernardino León and a keynote speech by His Excellency Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
The keynote speech was followed by a panel moderated by Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Deputy Director of EDA and was attended by Ambassador Abdullah Yahya Al-Mu'alimi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, His Excellency Maqsoud Kruse, Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Sophie Barbey, Head of Office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the UAE, Toby Harward, Head of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the UAE, and Engineer Rashed Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director of the Minister of State Office.
In his opening remarks, His Excellency León said: "A lack of education can have detrimental political and socio-economic effects on the future of our world. It is crucial that we continue to seek solutions and shed a light on this challenge. By hosting such events at the Academy, we seek to also ensure that our future diplomats are equipped with the necessary information and tools to continue this fight for human progress.”
In his speech, His Excellency Mark Lowcock said: “In my first six weeks as Emergency Relief Coordinator, I travelled to Niger, to Nigeria, to Bangladesh and to Yemen. And in each of these countries, I met children who had fled their homes and schools due to conflict. A single theme pervaded each of their stories: they all stressed their desire, above all else, to attend school."
During discussions, panellists emphasized that while education is the first element affected by emergencies; it remains to be last to recover, resulting in a disruptive impact on children that endures for generations.
Spurred by EDA’s belief in the significant role of humanitarian diplomacy under current global circumstances, Humanitarian Week addresses topics of critical importance to human progress and development, and provides valuable insights into the work of leading international organisations in the field. Apart from maximising the students’ learning outcomes, the event goes a long way in expanding the Academy’s own knowledge base.
During the event, panellists highlighted the increasing number of crises worldwide, their effects on children and education, and the importance of providing safe and protected educational environments that ensure children are receiving the necessary care. They also noted the need to support the right to education and cooperate with governments to implement programmes to reduce risks of disasters.
Apart from the panel discussion, the week’s events include a roundtable on the role of education in promoting peace, global citizenship and diversity, and ways of incorporating these values in education curricula for future generations. A book donation campaign, the launch of EDA’s volunteering platform, a field trip for students to the International Humanitarian City in Dubai, a training on humanitarian diplomacy and an internal Q&A session on the UAE's foreign aid policy are also on the agenda.
EDA provides a holistic educational experience that enhances the capabilities of the UAE’s future diplomats through advanced teaching methods, interactive lectures and discussions with prominent diplomats and policy makers. The Academy aims to prepare young Emirati talent to face a variety of regional and global challenges when representing their country on the global stage.