Establishing an Undergraduate Course and a Master Programme on Intercultural Dialogue in Selected Universities from the Arab States: UNESCO Beirut has developed guidelines, syllabus and a course pack on "Intercultural Dialogue", in collaboration with a group of specialists from the region. Work to establishing relevant Master Programmes is also moving forward. An agreement was reached with the "Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie" and led to the organization in Beirut on 21-22 March 2013 of a regional conference targeting selected universities from the Arab States. The event was placed under the patronage of the President of Lebanon, General Michel Suleiman. 42 speakers and 150 participants from 15 countries attended. The Conference supported the set-up of a committee of experts including 12 professors from 10 universities, now in the process of developing the course packs, guidelines and materials for the teaching of two Master Courses on: a) Foundation for Peace and Conflict and b) Migration and Refugees. Both courses have been developed and will be taught in 6 universities in Lebanon in the Winter/Spring Semester of 2014.
HAWER University Certified Accredited Courses
One of the main missions of UNESCO is to provide space for dialogue and freedom of expression for all the cultures worldwide. This dialogue has a new meaning in the scope of globalization and the current regional and international political context. It is an essential tool to safeguard global peace and cohesion. Within this spirit, and under the framework of HAWER - the UNESCO project “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Programme for a Culture of Peace and Dialogue”, the UNESCO Office in Beirut has developed a set of Arabic certified courses with the aim of spreading the culture of Intercultural Dialogue among youth. As our region is facing a major transformation process and our youth are taking a leading role in this process, we believe that working on the promotion of understanding and dialogue is a prime issue for a positive transformation, peace and stability. Towards this end, it is imperative to stress the important responsibility of universities in providing a space for nurturing a culture of dialogue and intercultural dialogue through knowledge, skills, values, and community services.
In phase one of the project 3 courses were developed, adopted, and implemented more than 10 universities in the region. The courses focus on:
1. Intercultural Dialogue Competence: This unique course is a pioneer initiative developed to spread the skills of intercultural dialogue within the texture of the Arab States. It is intended to target graduate students. It will concentrate on the core concepts and general principles of intercultural dialogue that stem from understating the importance of cultural diversity for a society that respects and celebrates differences. The course combines both theoretical and practical aspects, aiming at providing students with hands-on experience in the area of promotion of intercultural dialogue skills in the Arab region. The specific objective of this course is to equip students with the competence of examining the field of intercultural dialogue according to the theories that inform this field, as well as to empower them with practical applications of doing this work within local Arab communities either through community service or volunteerism-oriented projects.
2. Migration and Refugees: As the issue of Syrian refugees is imposing many challenges in the country, it is imperative to offer university students an opportunity to engage in discussion about migrant rights, legal status, and different policies adopted in host countries. This course presents an overview of mobility and circulation, the variety of factors involved in international mobility, people management, border, migration, the economic dimension of migration policy, different actions made in the field…
3. Foundation for Peace and Conflict: This course is designed to provide a common foundation, engage students in an examination of the major contemporary challenges to peace, sources of conflict and violence, and several key nonviolent mechanisms for conflict transformation and prevention. During the course, an understanding of the complex and interconnected challenges to peace will be developed, as will an understanding of the need for multi-faceted approaches to meeting these challenges. Students will also engage critically with theories of conflict, and will develop their understanding of the theoretical resources available in the area of conflict studies. An important aspect of the course will also be the introduction to skills integral to the field of peace and conflict studies and to the UPeace pedagogy at large. These include non-violent communication, appreciative enquiry and dialogue.
The three courses has been adopted and taught by 5 universities in Lebanon. In year 2013/2014, 300 students have registered and graduated from these courses. In phase II of the project, it is intended to scale up this initiative as to take a regional scope
BUILDING CERTIFIED RESOURCES FOR REGIONAL INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE AND PILOTING OF SERVICE LEARNING UNIVERSITY PROGRAM IN THE ARAB STATES
A regional consultation meeting of experts on Fostering a Culture of Peace and Dialogue in the Arab States was held in Beirut, Lebanon and in France on 6th-7th March, 2012. The 2-day event was a landmark meeting of 35 experts and professionals from more than 11 countries, representing a wide range of fields in conflict resolution, research and education, media and journalism. The debates and conversations reviewed the fundamental role of education and media (and notably journalism) in fostering intercultural dialogue. It led to tangible recommendations such as the development of a social pact in the Arab societies, the required involvement of all society components in the intercultural dialogue, and the separation of religion from politics. The recommendations are gathered in a report available online on UNESCO website.
In addition, the project team carried out an assessment and a report of Regional Arabic Training Resources on intercultural dialogue as well as desk review and a mapping of existing training materials on intercultural dialogue in Arab States.
Three regional intensive training of professors from 24 Arab Universities and trainers took place in February 2013 in Oman. They learnt how to implement Intercultural Dialogue competence course in their own countries.
In collaboration with a group of specialists from the region, the UNESCO Beirut Office developed guidelines, a syllabus and a course pack on intercultural dialogue to instill into undergraduate students core concepts and principles of intercultural dialogue that that stresses the importance of cultural diversity. The course is intended to empower them with practical applications of initiating intercultural dialogue within local communities either through community service or volunteerism-oriented projects. Moreover, establishing an accredited Master Programme on Intercultural Dialogue in Selected Universities in the Arab States is currently on progress.
The UNESCO Beirut Office convened a regional Consultation Meeting for Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in the Arab States with the attendance of GCE experts, educational policy makers and practitioners, research institutions and universities. Global citizenship education (GCE) is one of the strategic areas of work for UNESCO’s Education Programme (2014-2017) and one of the three priorities of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) launched in September 2012. For this reason, particular emphasis is laid to give learners the competencies and opportunity to realize their rights and obligations so as to be responsible global citizens and involved actors of change. This regional Consultation Meeting for Global Citizenship Education was aligned with that objective and led to the development of a Regional Guiding framework for promoting Global Citizenship in the Arab States.