The President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, addressed today the symposium “The Role of Education in Global Peace and Sustainable Development”, which is being held on the occasion of the International Day of Education, held at FON University in Skopje.
The following is the integral text of the address.
Respected Members of the Academic Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me honor to address you at the onset of the symposium on “The Role of Education in Global Peace and Sustainable Development”, organized by FON University on the occasion of the International Day of Education. After the proclamation of this day by the United Nations, last year was the first-ever marking of January 24th as the Education Day. This year, when the tradition has already been established, a central theme of the Education Day is “Learning for Humanity, the Planet, Progress and Peace”. Undoubtedly it is an inspiring theme, particularly relevant and important having in mind the global tendencies.
This day has indeed a personal significance for me too as I have spent much of my professional career as a university professor and from that position I am qualified to speak about the importance and the role of education. The overall development and progress of human civilization is based on education and science and on our need for knowledge. The level of development of the humanity we know today is inconceivable without the educational institutions, but also without all that as knowledge is acquired informally through different modalities.
As defined in the symposium title and the general theme of this year’s marking of the International Day of Education, one of the roles ever is to contribute essentially to peace and development. These things however never go alone. Let me paraphrase Edward Everett’s words who said that education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.
The right to education is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, according to United Nations data, some 265 million children and adults have no access to or have not completed their primary education. It also means an increase in illiteracy, poverty, gender inequality. Globally, much work still needs to be done to enable undisturbed access to education in every part of the Globe. Refugee and migrant crises exacerbate further the situation and require responsible leadership to tackle the problem. Today, when different activities are being held around the world to raise awareness of the importance of accessibility and quality of education, I call upon each of us, within our capabilities and competences, to take responsibility and work to improve education first in our community and then in our own country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Prior to today’s symposium, the Board of Trustees of FON University was promoted which includes eminent scholars, professors with a respectable legacy both in science and education, influential on the development direction of the societies they live and work in. For me, not only as President but also as a person belonging to the academic community, such a composition of a Board of a Macedonian university is a roadmap upon which higher education should move. I am also glad that many of the members of this Board are with us today and will address the symposium.
I wish you a successful symposium, a fruitful work of the Board of Trustees of FON University, and, of course, I wish education is everyday priority in all political agendas, not only on the international Day of Education.