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UN Chief Welcomes Ban Ki-moon Global Education Institute

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By J Nastranis

NEW YORk (IDN) – UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Global Education Institute (GEI) initiated by his predecessor Ban Ki-moon on July 11 2017 at Handong Global University – in Pohang, 374km southeast of Seoul – the hub of UN Academic Impact (UNAI) for capacity-building in higher education.

“I am pleased to greet all those attending the ground-breaking ceremony for the Ban Ki-moon Global Education Institute,” said Guterres in a message, adding: “The opportunity to enjoy an inclusive and equitable quality education is a prerequisite for improving lives and ensuring sustainable development.”

“For that reason,” Guterres continued, “Ban Ki-moon, my distinguished predecessor as Secretary-General of the United Nations, focused unceasing attention on access to education, quality of education, and global citizenship to forge more just, peaceful, and tolerant societies. He also founded the . . . UNAI initiative to align institutions of higher education with the United Nations in a shared culture of intellectual social responsibility.”

Guterres said, he was grateful that long-time UNAI member Handong Global University continues to serve as the UNAI global hub for capacity-building in higher education systems. In founding the new Institute, Handong Global University and UNAI Korea were proving their common commitment to fostering dialogue and mutual understanding among researchers, students, educators and civil society.

UNAI Korea is building the Ban Ki-moon Global Education Institute to help realize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and nurture related global experts, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

UNAI is an initiative launched by Ban as UN Chief in November 2010 to align institutions of higher education, scholarship and research with the UN. At present, more than 1,000 institutions in over 120 countries and some 40 academic networks are members of the UN Academic Impact.

“I hope the GEI will be a place for a well-rounded education that combines personality and expertise,” Ban said in a congratulatory speech at the ground-breaking ceremony. He stressed that countries and interested parties should come together for global civic education, saying, “The three axes of globalization education are peace, development and human rights, and in particular, peace and development have no meaning without human rights.”

The three-storied GEI, to be built on a 3,400-square-meter lot and completed by October 2018, will house the Handong GRACE School for rounded education and the Ban Ki-moon Sustainable Development International Research Center. The institute will focus its efforts on carrying out SDG research, supporting developing countries and nurturing related youth leaders.

The Institute will also seek exchanges with UNAI ASPIRE, a student branch of the UNAI. The Actions by Students to Promote Innovation and Reform through Education (ASPIRE) is intended to embody the UNAI’s 10 principles within student communities around the world. One of the UNAI principles is a commitment to educational opportunities for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity.

“We’ll continue to endeavor to undertake SDG research and cultivate global experts with some 1,200 UNAI member institutions and faculties around the world as well as with 68 local universities,” Handong President Chang Soon-heung said. Handong is one of the 10 UNAI hub universities. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 July 2016]

Photo: Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a congratulatory speech during a ground-breaking ceremony for the Ban Ki-moon Global Education Institute at the Handong Global University in Pohang, 374km southeast of Seoul, on July 11, 2017. Credit: Yonhap

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