May 29, 2016
Conf on global citizenship Global Goals set to kick off in Rep of Korea.
Against the backdrop of the Taebaek Mountains, the United Nations flag was raised alongside that of the Republic of Korea today, ahead of the sixty-sixth Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations Conference beginning in Gyeongju to focus on education in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This Conference is particularly important in the first year of SDG implementation as it gathers civil society representatives from more than 100 countries to agree on an action agenda that defines their own role and that of education in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division of DPI, told the UN News Centre.
Starting tomorrow and running through 1 June, the first-ever UN DPI/NGO Conference to be held in Asia will welcome stakeholders from across the globe to create and strengthen partnerships under the theme “Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together.”
The Conference will provide a unique opportunity for participating, non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, to engage UN officials, members of civil society, educators, businesses and others from around the world in discussing education for global citizenship as the bedrock of sustainable development and climate action.
Pre-enrollment, which closed on 20 May, reached an unprecedented 4, 400 participants that represented 700 NGOs and universities.
Mr. Nasser noted: “Pre-registration this year is almost twice that of the largest past Conference, which was in 2015.”
Across the three pillars of formal education; information education and training; and advocacy and public information, NGOs and academia will collaborate – through round table discussions and workshops – on an action plan in support of Agenda 2030 to build greater shared prosperity and ensure a life of dignity for all.
Jadayah Spencer, Youth Representative from the New York-based Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, shared her excitement to participate in the Conference, describing how she wanted to see the conversation on education for global citizenship pushed forward.
“Education plays an important part in global citizenship. When you learn about what is going on elsewhere, you can see that the struggles and trials of others are similar to your own. This commonality can further our goals toward world peace,” she explained.
Olaosebikan Olowu from the All-Nigeria UN Students and Youth Association was at the Conference to network, saying “I look forward to meeting other NGOs from around the world to gain insight on how to develop education in Africa, especially in Nigeria.”
The conference is being organized in cooperation with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, the NGO community, the Government of the Republic of Korea and a National Organizing Committee of Korea. It will be webcast live on the Conference web page.
At a dinner hosted this evening by the Organizing Committee, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged to see so many young people – who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
“You will be the mayors and governors. In fact, there are many young people who are leaders already today. There is a huge democratizations movement, started from [the] Arab Spring, started from a very young man in Tunisia. You are already a leader. So be proud of what you are doing,” he said.