New Delhi, July 10 (IBNS): India and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) signed an agreement to establish the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) on Monday 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," said Indian Minister Kapil Sibal.
The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Communications and IT signed the 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.
The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova 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, said to be "greatly inspired" by Gandhi’s vision of peace and sustainability, 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.
Both Sibal and the Director General UNESCO paid tributes to Gandhi’s legacy and his vision of peace and the defence of human dignity.
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. Kapil Sibal also extended a formal invitation to Director General UNESCO for visiting India later this year for launching the Institute.