UNESCO’s General Conference, which meets every two years, held its 38th session from 3 to 18 November 2015 at the Organization’s Headquarters in Paris. The event reaffirmed the Organization’s role in the fight against violent extremism and in taking forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Delegations from 195 Member States, Associate Members, as well as Observers for Non-Member States, Intergovernmental Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations attended the session. Prof. Alexander Khoroshilov, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), and Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chairman of IITE Governing Board, represented the Institute at the Conference.
Dr. Al Awar delivered the Report on the activities of UNESCO IITE for 2014-2015. IITE Governing Board is convinced that IITE has the necessary capacities to fulfill its tasks as a UNESCO Category 1 Institute, and to support the implementation of the Post-2015 Education Agenda through ICT in Education, guided by the Medium-Term Strategy developed by the Governing Board Task Forces. He reported that, despite the absence of proper funding, but thanks to the successful fundraising and to the expertise of IITE staff and GB members, IITE achieved important results and contributed greatly to building capacity in the field of ICT in education.
The 2015 General Conference became the most important event of the year for UNESCO IITE. During the discussions held by the Education Commission, working in the framework of the Conference, IITE’s activities and results were positively highlighted by the delegations from Belarus, Finland, Latvia, Norway and Russia. During the General Conference, Prof. Khoroshilov held a number of bilateral and multilateral meetings with participants of the 38th Session to discuss current issues and new prospects of cooperation with IITE. On 3 November, the meeting of Directors of all UNESCO Category 1 Institutes was held at the International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP) to discuss the future cooperation between the Institutes. Prof. Khoroshilov proposed to formalize the interaction between the Institutes by using an appropriate matrix template and to develop a digital platform for communication in order to establish an acting expert community. The proposals were highly appreciated and accepted, the participants of the meeting agreed to set up cooperation and communication on a regular basis.
The General Conference adopted a Strategy for Reinforcing UNESCO’s Action for the Protection of Culture and the Promotion of Cultural Pluralism in the Event of Armed Conflict, to integrate protecting cultural heritage and diversity into humanitarian interventions in conflict and emergency situations. Special high-level meeting on the Education 2030 Framework of Action that was developed at the World Education Forum 2015 (Incheon, Republic of Korea) was held on 4 November. The high-level meeting formally adopted the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which provides guidance to countries for the implementation of the Education 2030 agenda at a national, regional and global level to guarantee inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. Other important issues discussed were as follows: prevention of violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity; capacity development in the 2030 Education agenda; promotion and enhancement of gender-sensitive STEM Education for Adolescent Girls to support Gender Equality and others.
The 38th Session of the UNESCO General Conference was an important milestone towards achieving the Organization’s goals, which are all in line with the IITE’s mission.
More information on the UNESCO General Conference at UNESCO’s website: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/general-conference/
Report on the activities of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) for 2014-2015 by IITE GB Chairman Dr. Mansoor Al Awar