Date: March 18, 2018


Education is part of the solution to creating social cohesion, says

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: As our world continues to be shaped by armed conflict, the Global Education & Skills Forum 2018 discoursed the role of education in tackling war and peace, and identifying what educators, civil society and policy makers can do to affect positive change.

Moderated by Jamie Lowether-Pinkerton, the ‘Boardroom’ panel comprised of Her Excellency Sarah Zeid, MNCH Advocate; Scott Weber, Director General of Interpeace – an international non-governmental peace building organisation, and Patrick Yousef, Deputy Regional Director-Africa, for International Committee of the Red Cross.

Kick-starting the discussion, Patrick Youssef asked for solutions for inequality and injustice to be injected into education, while simultaneously stressing that education is “not the solution to all problems”, and to look at it in a holistic manner, as part of a “bigger service provision to bring social cohesion.”

Citing exclusion at social, political and economic levels as the core of every conflict, Scott Weber agreed that educational inclusion as one of the solutions.

“Our systems are leaving too many people behind,” said Weber. “Our challenge is to think-up better social and political solutions to create more inclusive societies,” he added, identifying ‘trust’ in society both, horizontally through inclusion, and vertically between governments and people as a litmus test of a successful social contract.

Weber underlined the role of education in bringing about change at a macro-level and not just at an individual level, stating the need to develop emotional intelligence and cognitive skills through formal education, and via families and communities to promote values of social cohesion.

When asked to what degree national education is a microcosm dictated by society, Weber said: “We put too much responsibility on education to be the answer, when it’s only a part of the answer.”

Her Excellency Sarah Zeid furthered the discussion by drawing parallels between underdevelopment and poor healthcare among women and children, and its direct impact on their cognitive development and subsequent contribution to society. She further addressed the radical change in the nature of work in the future, owing to technological advancements, and stated that a third of skills required even by 2020 are not currently being prioritised. “Education must explore development of political and social systems” she continued, with a call to “teach them to dream” that we can do something different.

When questioned by the audience on the role of education in conflict zones where human rights aren’t being tackled, Weber stated that the definition of peace building is “not to do with conflict” but to strengthen the capacity of society to manage it non-violently. Yousef further added: “We should define what education in the prism of conflict should look like.”

Notes to editors:

The GESF 2018 partners are the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), Dubai Cares, CBI, Education International, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Inter-American Development Bank, Junior Achievement, The Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Ministry of Education of the Argentine Republic, Teach for All, Times Educational Supplement, UCL Institute of Education, UNESCO and African Development Bank.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest news on speakers and sessions at GESF 2018 at:

The Varkey Foundation believes every child deserves a vibrant, stimulating learning environment that awakens and supports their full potential. The foundation believes nothing is more important to achieving this than the passion and quality of teachers. They support global teaching capacity and seed excellence and innovation in the next generation of educators. They also founded the Global Teacher Prize to shine a spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over the world. For further details:

For further information about the Global Education and Skills Forum visit: and for further information on the Global Teacher Prize visit:

Media contacts:

UAE and Middle East:
Gladson Ronad | Yasser Alvi
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Tel: (+971) 4 4507 600
Email: |

All other countries:
David Hands | Salman Shaheen
Apollo Strategic Communications
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7871 0587

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