Education Hailed as Solution to Unrest in Middle East

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The 11th Abant Platform, whose theme was “Global Policies and the Future of the Middle East,” took place in Bolu, Turkey, on July 14-15, 2006. The final declaration prepared by the Abant committee stressed the importance of education as the solution to problems in the Middle East.

The disciplines naming ‘the other’ as enemies should be excluded from the curriculums. There have been concrete steps like this taken in the Turkish education system. The Abant Platform has decided to call every education minister from every country about this matter.

Education-related excerpt from the 11th Abant Platform’s final declaration

The Abant Platform’s Co-President, Professor Mete Tuncay, said the declaration was not binding for the participants. Nevertheless, the sentiments in the document were relevant to a broad range of people. In addition to educational initiatives, relevant topics included solutions to unrest in the Middle East, grief over recent civilian casualties, and the role of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Notable excerpts from the declaration included the following statements:

“Though the conference occurred at the same time as the violence in the Middle East, the theme of the conference was decided several months before the meeting.”

“The Middle East is gradually descending into chaos. The Abant Platform calls for those involved to keep calm and seek political and diplomatic ways to solve the matter.”

“The reason for the Middle East’s transformation into a troublesome area in the last century should be questioned as the people in this area once lived in peace. It is difficult to find a solution without first identifying the problem.”

“The participants are sorry for the deaths of many civilians due to the use of disproportionate force. No society or religion is responsible for the attitudes or violence of a person, group, or society.”

“The disciplines naming ‘the other’ as enemies should be excluded from the curriculum. There have been concrete steps like this taken in the Turkish education system. The Abant Platform has decided to call every education minister from every country about this matter.”

“There is no disagreement regarding the necessity of a thorough reform in the area. Historical experience teaches that no social project imposed on people has ever proved useful. Ignoring historical facts, international law, and equity will only aggravate the situation in the area.”

“Jerusalem, the holy city for Christians, Muslims, and Jews, should be a symbol of peace and a place for these people to live and worship in peace.”

By Emre Soncan, Abant
Published: Sunday, July 16, 2006 @ zaman.com

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