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Education Vital In Efforts To Defeat Intolerance

Education vital in efforts to defeat intolerance, Secretary-General says

16 November 2008 – Education is one of the most useful ways to overcome intolerance because it highlights similarities between people and helps to spread a healthy respect for differences, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a message marking the International Day for Tolerance, which is observed today, Mr. Ban said the promotion of tolerance was especially valuable in the contemporary era of globalization, interdependence and increased mobility.

“While diversity is an invaluable asset, it can also be a source of tension,” he said. “Tolerance can diffuse potential conflicts. It can help prevent theories of racial or cultural superiority from emerging, and help societies to gradually overcome long-held prejudices and negative stereotypes.”

Mr. Ban stressed that tolerance should not be mistaken for either concession or condescension, and should also not be confused with indifference.

“Genuine tolerance is about openness, curiosity and communication. It goes hand in hand with knowledge and understanding. Education is one of the best ways to prevent intolerance, by revealing similarities between people and spreading a healthy respect for differences.”

This week the General Assembly held a high-level meeting featuring Mr. Ban and numerous international leaders to discuss Saudi Arabia's “Culture of Peace” initiative, exploring ways to increase tolerance between peoples of different faiths and cultures.

ENDS

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