INDIA and UNESCO have signed the agreement to establish the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development on 9th July 2012 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris.
“The challenges of the 21st century are qualitatively different from the challenges of the 20th century. Global understanding and education would assist in appreciating the impact of these challenges on peace and its relation to sustainable development. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development comes at the right time – a time when the world is debating the contours of the century ahead.” This was stated by the Union Minister of HRD, Communications and IT, Shri Kapil Sibal, at UNESCO following the signing of an agreement for establishing the MGIEP as a UNESCO Category-I Institute in New Delhi, the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.
The signing of the agreement is the culmination of a process of three years commencing with the decision by UNESCO’s 35th General Conference in 2009. The Institute to be located in India, is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.
Ms. Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO said, “The Mahatma Gandhi Institute comes at the right time – a time when the world is debating the contours of the century ahead, when UNESCO is preparing its next strategy to advance peace and promote sustainable development,”
The Institute’s core activity will lie in research and capacity building. It will encourage knowledge exchange, regional networking and catalyse innovation by helping to design and test new approaches to education. The Institute would be greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of peace and sustainability.
Both Shri Sibal and the DG UNESCO paid tributes to Gandhi’s universal legacy and his vision of peace and the defense of human dignity. Shri Sibal paid tributes to Gandhi’s vision of education, highlighting its relevance for confronting challenges such as the overuse of natural resources and learning to live together. He said, “Gandhi said that we have enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed. This is the source of conflict. The crises the global community faces needs to be addressed through the inspirational wisdom of Gandhi, who said that for a person to be truly educated, you had to have a united approach, by training the mind to think, the hands to acquire skills and the heart for human values and ethics.”
An Expert Advisory Group would soon be set up by UNESCO to develop an agenda for the Institute. Shri Kapil Sibal also extended a formal invitation to DG UNESCO for visiting India later this year for launching the Institute.