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Oslo Interfaith Forum on the International Day of Peace: Education for Peace

Oslo, Norway - In a traditional Norwegian Lutheran Church building in Oslo, the UN International Day of Peace was celebrated with a forum on September 19, 2013.

The MC, Knut Holdhus, chairman of UPF-Norway, welcomed the audience, explained the significance of this celebration, and read parts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the day.

A panel of six speakers commented on the topic “Education for peace.”

Steinar Murud, Secretary General of UPF-Norway, presented five principles for peace.

Stein Hardeng, former director of the Family Office of the Norwegian Church, spoke on the title “Peace on the Micro-level.” He emphasized that good relationships should be taught and learned on the family level.

Professor Rune Ottosen, an expert on peace journalism from the Oslo University College, shared valuable insights into how the media can contribute in peace processes.

Hatef Mokhtar, editor of the Oslo Times and author of The Red Wrath, commented on human rights, describing them as values that go beyond all cultures and can contribute to bringing us together.

Senior advisor Helge Brochmann from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on practical examples of how schools can contribute to peace. Schooling does not automatically lead to peace, he said. In order to succeed in that task, it is important to have good, value-based content. Trust, tolerance, and inclusiveness are some of these values.

The director of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO), Kristian Berg Harpviken, spoke on International Peacebuilding. “Will proper education secure peace?” he asked. He pointed out situations where wars were started by highly educated people. He concluded that a basic philosophy of peace needs to underlie education in order for schools to be a positive factor in peacebuilding.

Many questions were raised and comments shared afterwards. Good refreshments concluded the event and provided an opportunity for informal conversation and sharing among the participants.

International Day of Peace 2013 from Universal Peace Federation International

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