7th UNAOC Global Forum puts spotlight on the role of Education in building Inclusive Societies

New York, April 26, 2016. Experts convening for the 7th UNAOC Global Forum in Baku will discuss the critical role that Education plays in reducing cross-cultural tensions in the context of building inclusive societies.

Education is one of the four pillars of activity that define focus areas for UNAOC project activities. The others are Migration, Media, and Youth, all of which are significant areas to address to reduce polarization and improve understanding and cooperation.

However, “All our activities and programming are not merely focused on promoting dialogue between diverse cultures”, said United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. “Rather they emphasize concrete action-oriented steps that enhance these pillars. The Forum is the ideal platform in which those steps can be discussed, fine-tuned and leveraged amongst a broad audience of experts from all around the world and all sectors of society.”

The breakout session on “D-Goals of Preventing Violent Extremism through Education: Educating for Development, Diversity, and Dialogue” will address some of the educational tools that help to ensure “inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”, as outlined in SDG 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The session will investigate the options to best educate students and professionals about religious and cultural diversity to prevent violent extremism.

Speakers at this session will include Vincenzo Morlini, CEO, AFS International; Emna Jeblaoui, President of the International Institute in Human Development; and Mark Fowler, Deputy Chief Executive at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

The breakout session on “Global Citizenship Education” will explore the connection between globalization and education and the best way to address the global reality of exclusion, tension, and conflict. In this context, experts will discuss the role of the United Nations, of governments, and culture to address these challenges.

This session will include speakers such as Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France; Antoine Gallimard, Publisher of Edition Gallimard; and Abdelmajid Charfi, President of the Tunisian Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts.

The breakout session on “Media Literacy: Tools for Building Resilience to Violent Extremist Propaganda” will be examining the necessity of teaching and attaining media and information literacy in schools to confront violent extremist media messages. The session is built on the premise that developing critical thinking skills from an early age are key in assessing information critically to dispel propaganda and lies.

This session will feature speakers such as Sanjay Asthana, Professor at the School of Journalism, Middle Tennessee State University; Sally Reynolds, co-Founder and COO of Media & Learning Association; and Renee Hobbs, Director of the Media Education Lab.

Further information:

The breakout session “Global Citizenship Education” will take place on April 26, 2016, 2:30-4:00pm AZT (10:30am-12:00pm GMT).*

The breakout session “D-Goals of Preventing Violent Extremism through Education: Educating for Development, Diversity and Dialogue” will take place on April 27, 2016, 11:30am-1:00pm AZT (7:30-9:00am GMT).

The breakout session “Media Literacy: Tools for Building Resilience to Violent Extremist Propaganda” will take place on April 27, 11:30am-1:00pm AZT (7:30-9:00am GMT).

*This session will be broadcasted live on and

A detailed program as well as concept notes and the speaker list can be found at

About the Forum:

The Forum will take place on 25-27 April 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan, bringing together around 2,500 heads of states, government officials, civil society, religious and youth leaders to share their perspectives and solutions on “Living Together in Inclusive Societies: A Challenge and A Goal”. The theme reflects UNAOC’s core mission to improve understanding and collaboration among peoples across cultures by reducing polarization. The definition of feasible and global solutions also contributes to achieving SDG 16 of the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda, which calls for the promotion of “just, peaceful and inclusive societies” as well as SDG 17, which aims at “revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.”

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