By Tang Danlu
KUNMING, Sept. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Education is vital for fostering global citizenship and building peaceful societies, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday.
Ban made the remarks in a video keynote speech about importance of education to achieving global peace during the opening ceremony of China-South Asia Peace and Development Forum, which was held in southwest China’s city Kunming.
Themed "Education for Peace and Cooperation for Win-win", the forum also aimed at celebrating the International Day of Peace in 2013, with senior officials from China and South Asian countries attending.
"Fifty-seven million children now are still denied an education," Ban emphasized, adding that most of them came from countries with the greatest needs, such as those affected by conflict.
He also quoted the words of Malala Yousafzai, a schoolgirl from Pakistan who was targeted for assassination by the Taliban for campaigning for the right to education, as saying "One teacher, one book, one pen can change the world."
Meanwhile, Han Qide, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), stressed the fundamental role of education in advancing development and peace.
As a basic human right, education is the crucial way out of poverty and backwardness. China’s rapid development is also a result of synchronous educational progress, Han noted.
He also introduced the achievements of international cooperation on education made by China for past years. So far, Confucius Institutes have been established in over 100 countries, and China has become an important recipient of foreign students.
Chinese, Buddhist and Islamic cultures all advocate ideas of pursuing peace and tolerance, he said. "We believe that mutual learning and mutual enhancement of different cultures will vigorously promote peace and progress of mankind."
Also, peace education is an integral component of creating a violence- free, peaceful world, said Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament.
It will help us find non-violence resolution to smooth over conflicts.
"In order for peace education to play a contributory role in the process of ensuring peace and win-win outcome, we ought to embrace 'social cohesion’ and 'elimination of inequality'," she said.