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Left to right: Dr. Lydia Aly, Dr. Hala Taweel, Mrs. Machon-Honoré, Mr. Jacques Marion, and Mr. Patrick Jouan, Vice-President of UPF France, who moderated the event.
Mr. Jacques Marion, President of UPF France, presents UPF's "Good Citizenship and Peace Education" project, with Dr. Lydia Aly, Dr. Hala Taweel, and Mrs. Machon-Honoré looking on.
Left to right: Dr. Lydia Aly, Dr. Hala Taweel, and Mrs. Machon-Honoré.
Dr. Hala Taweel, Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Delegate of the State of Palestine to UNESCO
Dr. Lydia Aly, Counsellor at the Egyptian Embassy
Mrs. Machon-Honoré, delegate of BPW (Business Professional Women) International to UNESCO
Mrs. Machon-Honoré, delegate of BPW (Business Professional Women) International to UNESCO, speaking with on the left, Dr. Lydia Aly and Dr. Hala Taweel and, on the right, Mr. Patrick Jouan.
The panelists, organisers and participants of the conference.

On March 21, the French chapters of UPF and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an affiliated organization, co-hosted a meeting on "The role of women in education for sustainable peace" at the Espace Barrault in Paris. It was the second in a series of events scheduled for 2024 on the theme of "peace education" in conjunction with UNESCO.

In September 2023, UNESCO published a new Recommendation on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Sustainable Development. This is the culmination of a three-year reappraisal of its educational policies originally promulgated in 1974.

The Paris event was a reminder of the general concern for peace education in a world where conflicts are proliferating. It was also an opportunity, in the context of "Women's Month", to affirm the role of women in peacebuilding. 70 participants attended the event, on site and online, including representatives of NGOs from France, Europe, and Africa.

The three main speakers were linked to UNESCO.

Patrick Jouan, Vice-President of UPF France, moderated the event. By way of introduction, Jacques Marion, President of UPF France, presented the activities of UPF and WFWP, and spoke of the new "Good Citizenship and Peace Education" project launched in Africa, as well as WFWP's peace-building work in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The first speaker was Mrs. Machon-Honoré, delegate of BPW (Business Professional Women) International to UNESCO and former President of the International Conference of NGO Partners of UNESCO and of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee. She recalled UNESCO's history and policies concerning the role of women in peace education. She then spoke of her own experience of partnership with women involved in the Jeju Global Peace Academy in Korea.

Dr. Hala Taweel, Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Delegate of the State of Palestine to UNESCO, spoke of her painful personal experience as a Palestinian under Israeli occupation. The captivated audience then heard her describe the various projects she has launched over the years to create links between Palestinians and Israelis through education.

Dr. Lydia Aly, Counsellor at the Egyptian Embassy, whose diplomatic mission covers both France and UNESCO, spoke of the current situation of women in Egyptian society. Despite a difficult socio-political environment, women are gradually gaining recognition and position thanks to educational opportunities.

The audience was attentive, as the topics addressed touched on very concrete points on each continent. Questions ranged from the practical role UNESCO can play in conflict zones, to the possibility of supporting women's education in Afghanistan, to the tragic plight of women victims of war in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Budgets for women's education programs also raised questions.

In conclusion, UPF and WFWP believe that "education of the heart" and "education of values" are priorities for peace education. Let's hope that UNESCO will honor women of peace, including mothers who are heroines of peace education. 

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