Friday, March 11, 2016

Peres Center, UNESCO join forces

Itamar Eichner,

UNESCO and the Peres Center for Peace are partnering up to champion peace and interfaith dialogue worldwide.

Peres image from entry

The UN agency for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) has decided to sign a partnership agreement with the Peres Center for Peace. Under this partnership, UNESCO is to promote several Peres Center projects in the fields of education and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Peres was invited to tour UNESCO headquarters in Paris this coming month, where he also plans to sign the agreement with the organization's leaders. In addition, he is expected to meet with French President François Hollande and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. The agreement states that UNESCO and the Peres Center share the objectives of contributing to strengthening peace and intercultural dialogue.

UNESCO and the Peres Center decided to cooperate and exchange ideas and methodologies in the field of peace education, multiculturalism, and regional and international development. UNESCO is to report its plans to the Peres Center and invite members to participate in UNESCO forums and events.

Throughout the 20 years of its existence, the Peres Center has developed a diverse range of programs and projects in the fields of peace education, which involved the participation of 30,000 chidren — Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians.

There have been, amongst other things, an Israeli-Palestinian soccer league that continued to operate even during times of heightened security tension, and a program that trains Palestinian physicians in Israeli hospitals.

UNESCO seeks to establish strategic cooperation with the Peres Center in order to put the center's educational methods into practice all over the world. Educators from different countries will be able to benefit from the information provided by the center and carry out projects in their own communities, especially in conflict zones.

Israeli envoy to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Cohen said: "On the international diplomatic front and even on the anti-Israel front, such as with the Palestinian UNESCO bodies, there is a worldwide consensus regarding Peres that crosses international borders and political divides. His arrival is a public diplomacy asset."

The envoy said that the planned visit is expected to raise interest and that there have already been several requests for him to be hosted by heads of international organizations and high-ranking ambassadors.

UNESCO has over 1,000 world heritage sites, 11 of which are in Israel.

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