UNESCO launches citizenship education handbook
Defense in the service of peaceUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura on September 27 will launch at the Organization's headquarters (6:00 pm, Room II) a manual/handbook for citizenship education, a joint project with the French National Commission for UNESCO and several French institutions like the education and defense ministries.
The idea to write the manual, entitled Defense in the Service of Peace, first took shape in 2001. The goal was to provide secondary school teachers with a complete package of information about French defense policy, how it works, what it stands for and its specific components, as well as the corollaries related to citizenship, human rights, democracy, and the universal values of law and civic education.
In the preface to the handbook, Koïchiro Matsuura highlights its cross-disciplinary approach, along with the fact that it links questions of peace, social justice, respect of human rights and democracy. The Director-General adds: "By substituting the notion of human security for a politico-military concept of security, this manual emphasizes the role of education to inform and to offer a critical, introspective approach to civic and social responsibility".
The texts compiled for this handbook were written by a group of prominent experts on the pertinent issues. Chapter 1 (Foundations of Peace and International Security) looks at subjects like "The pre-eminence of human rights, democracy and peace” and “Defending National Territory – The Defense of Universal Values”. Chapter 2 (Risks and Threats to Peace and International Security) invites reflection on the major challenges in today's world, through a series of fact sheets like “Typology of Conflicts”, “The Environment and Natural Resources”, “International Terrorism”, “The Manipulation of Information” and “Trade Globalization”. Chapter 3 (The Defense of Peace: A Global Action) puts the emphasis on the main international players, France's defense policy and the major instruments used in the service of peace , thus offering a complete presentation on topics like “The UN system in the service of peace”, “European Defense”, “The Concept of French Defense” or “The Role of Education”.
The manual is made up of forty fold-out fact sheets. Each one has different sections: Introduction, Facts, References, Key Dates, Figures, Legal Groundings, Documents, Analysis and Development, Help for Educational Use and Educational Challenges. This last section is written by secondary school teachers and aims to
underline the main challenges their peers could face when applying the handbook to classroom lessons. Finally, a glossary of legal terms, a complete bibliography and detailed, updated maps round out the handbook.
The fact sheets were reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee made up of representatives of the various institutions that worked on the joint project, especially education experts and middle and high school teachers. A wider project management committee handled issues related to putting together the joint work.
The handbook will be made available in the book shops of the National Center for Educational Documentation (CNDP) during the last quarter of 2004.
Journalists wishing to cover this event should obtain accreditation from UNESCO Press Relations Service:tel. +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48 / fax +33 (0)1 45 68 56 52.
A CD rom version of the handbook is available to the press.