Global Action Week 2007: The Director-General inaugurates a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Afghan educator and activist Safia Ama Jan

Global Action Week 2007: The Director-General inaugurates a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Afghan educator and activist Safia Ama Jan
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

Within the context of Global Action Week 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, opened an exhibition dedicated to the Afghan educator and activist, Safia Ama Jan on Monday, 23 April 2007.

She was a former teacher, who risked her life during the reign of the Taliban by running an underground school for girls from her home. Subsequently, as Director of Women’s Affairs in Kandahar Province, she worked tirelessly to get all Afghan girls back into school and to provide professional and vocational training for women.

“This courageous woman was shot and killed outside her home in Kandahar on 25 September 2006 because of her defence for women’s rights and her fierce determination to provide education for the girls of Afghanistan,” recalled the Director-General. “Every person anywhere in the world is entitled to enjoy this fundamental human right. And yet there are at least 77 million children who are not enrolled in school and some 781 million adults who are illiterate. This reality is intolerable,” he added.

In the presence of Mr Mohammad Zahir Aziz, Ambassador of Afghanistan to UNESCO, the Director-General reiterated what he had said to the press at the time of Safia Ama Jan’s assassination: “National authorities and the international community must stand united against the forces that would seek to destroy the efforts made by people such as Safia Ama Jan. Education is one of the pillars of development, prosperity and peace. It is a human right. We must do our utmost to defend and ensure the security of those who are working in this vital area.”

Mr Matsuura underscored that “in mounting this exhibition, we express our admiration for her commitment and our solidarity with her purpose”. “Through photographs of the teachers and students who knew her, it attempts to reflect the far-reaching impact of her work.” The exhibition is designed within the context of Global Action Week 2007. This annual worldwide event is organized by the Global Campaign for Education, a coalition of NGOs and teachers’ unions from over 150 countries, in order to draw attention to the Education for All (EFA) goals. UNESCO actively supports these events by mobilizing partners and networks around the world. The theme of this year’s Global Action Week is ‘Education as a Human Right’.

A study entitled ‘Education under attack’, dedicated to this brave advocate of Afghan women's rights, will be launched on Friday 27 April 2007. It aims to raise awareness and to understand better the extent to which those involved in education, whether students, teaching staff, trade unionists, administrators or officials, are facing violent political and military attacks; it will also suggest paths of action to address the problem.

  • Auteur(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N° 059-2007
  • 25-04-2007
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