Experts back education for int’l peace, understanding

By Hu Yuwei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/3 0:08:39

The representatives at the conference for release of the report on ''education for international understanding'' Photo: Courtesy of VCG

Chinese experts have stressed the role of education in resolving international conflicts and encouraged young Chinese people to critically evaluate global relations and dynamics, amid rising unrest in many regions in 2019. 

As bilateral relations between China and the US are going through hard times, Chinese teenagers can use the case to better understand complex and multilateral global relations, Chinese experts said at a session on December 26 that saw the release of a report on the Chinese practice on “education for international understanding.”

As China is moving toward the center of the world, it is more crucial for Chinese teenagers to understand international conflicts from a multi-dimensional perspective, said the report, which was jointly initiated by the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), the Beijing Royal Charity Foundation, and the Research Institute of International Education South-South Cooperation.

The tough moments in China-US relations and the current turmoil in Hong Kong are both good opportunities for Chinese youth to understand the complexity of international affairs, and also to enable them to view conflicts rationally and optimistically, Zhang Qiang, a professor at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

Advocated by UNESCO in 1946, education for international understanding can be considered as the macro-social side of peace education. It looks at peace at the world level, armed conflict, and relations among peoples.

In 2010, education for international understanding was first introduced into Chinese educational reform, according to the report. At present, many regions in China have tried to popularize education for international understanding in primary and secondary schools. It aims to develop the cultural identity and confidence of young people, and improve their cross-cultural communication skills. 

China's education for international understanding follows the principles of China's diplomatic strategy, stressing that China will never develop itself at the expense of the interests of other countries and will never give up its legitimate rights and interests, the report said.

China's growing craze for studying abroad is one of the main drivers of education for international understanding. At the same time, as the Belt and Road Initiative is gaining popularity around the world, China's thirst for international talent also highlights the importance of such education.

Gao Shuguo, a senior researcher for CCG, said that young Chinese people should learn to tell China's story in a way that would be understood by the international community and in a way that the international community is willing to accept.

Many organizations have cooperated with international institutes including UNESCO and the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) to organize conferences, workshops and exchange programs to brief teachers and acquaint them with the methods and materials in the program, said Pan Jun, the chairperson of the Beijing Royal Charity Foundation.

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