The United Nations Information Centre in Beirut, in collaboration with UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU) and World Youth Alliance-Middle East (WYAME) non-governmental organization, convened a ceremony to distribute “UN Aware-Phase II” Certificates to Lebanese Public Schools that participated in this UN awareness-oriented initiative.
The ceremony, which was held at the UNESCO Regional Office in Bir Hassan-Beirut, included speeches delivered by the Director General of Education at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon Fadi Yarak, Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office for Education in the Arab States Hamed Al Hammami, given out by Jana Jabbour, Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO Secretary-General Tala Zein, and World Youth Alliance Middle East Regional Director Mary-Joe Alavalas.
Yarak reiterated the Lebanese government’s commitment to the United Nations principles and lofty goals, and noted that this ceremony coincides with the upcoming anniversary of Lebanon’s Independence Day. He then stressed the relevance of this initiative in stimulating and strengthening the concept of citizenship among school students, and in increasing their awareness of Lebanon's commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yarak also pointed to the Ministry's tireless efforts to launch this initiative in all Lebanese schools as a way to maximize students’ participation in similar developmental activities.
In his statement, Al-Hammami commended the successful cooperation between UNESCO, the Ministry of Education, LNCU, UNIC Beirut and the WYAME, in carrying out this initiative, and highly praised the pioneering role played by UNIC Beirut in conceptualizing and launching it and ensuring its success. Al-Hammami also hailed the remarkable response received from public schools in Lebanon and their keenness to abide by the conditions laid down to merit the certificate of completion. He finally thanked the Ministry for adopting the UN Aware initiative and for calling on all schools in Lebanon to integrate it in their curriculum.
LNCU Secretary-General, Tala Zein, said for her part that the UN Aware initiative falls within the combined efforts to promote a culture of peace and community service, and prompts students to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in several public and private schools across Lebanon. “The success of this initiative and the achievement of its desired goals have been translated with the approval of the Ministry of Education to adopt it in all schools in Lebanon, given the importance of raising students’ awareness on basic UN values and principles, all of which will sow good seeds for future generations,” she concluded.
Finally, WYAME Regional Director Marie-Joe Alavalas, introduced the audience to the work, goals and mission of the WYAME, which are based on the dignity of the human being. She pointed to WYAME sustained efforts in building a culture of peace that nurtures the human being and adopts effective solutions that revolve around him. WYAME Executive Director presented an informative presentation of the initiative and provided a brief on its different implementation stages and the diverse activities undertaken by the students.
The ceremony concluded with the distribution of certificates of completion to the eight public schools, followed by a cocktail reception. The schools included are: Lycée officiel secondaire mixte Dr. Hassan Saab -Beirut; Zahia Kaddoura Official Secondary School for girls -Beirut; Lycée public Jawdat Rostom Haydar Baalbeck; Ecole secondaire officielle Amchit; Hussein Massoud Public Secondary School Bchamoun; Fadel Al Moukaddem public high school for girls- Tripoli; Lycée officiel des filles Nabatieh; Maghdouche Official High School.
It is worth mentioning that this initiative, which aims at educating high-school students on the work and priorities of the UN, was implemented in its first phase during the academic year 2016-2017 within the network of public and private schools affiliated to UNESCO ASPnet in different areas in Lebanon. This initiative includes lectures, field activities about three UN international days declared by the UN, in addition to designing and implementing activities for a non-governmental association linked to a specific cause, or to one of the SDGs.