When you are reading this issue of the Words from the World President, I am on my way to New York City to attend various meetings. One of them is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) parallel event, entitled “Empowering Syrian Refugee Women and Children for a Better Future: Challenges and Innovative Solutions in Early Childhood Development (SDG 4.2)”, co-organized by OMEP and NGO Committee on Migration of the United Nations. I will be there to support our representatives Maria Pia Belloni and Judith Wagner. I really appreciate their efforts and diligence in representing us in the United Nations. I will also be meeting with our new representatives at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Meanwhile, I want to thank Ulla Grob, our representative at United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), who has just attended the UNOG Director-General’s Meeting with NGOs. Since OMEP has been granted special consultative status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), I hope we will be able to maintain active representation and even designate representatives at the United Nations Office at Vienna soon.
That aside, I want to bring the following to your attention.
Play and Resilience
We finally launched the long anticipated Play and Resilience world project at the beginning of this year! Play is children’s inborn tool to build resilience and its importance is acknowledged in international key documents and statements such as the United Nations’ Convention on the Right of the Child. Yet, children’s right to play is poorly recognized across the world. Through the Play and Resilience project, we hope to (1) develop culturally-appropriate activity guidelines and play materials for parents/care-givers and teachers to use with young children; (2) provide opportunities for children to play, acquire contextually relevant skills, and enhance their resilience; and (3) create online multimedia resources that can be shared throughout the OMEP community. You may find the project concept note and application form here. Best projects will be selected and the project teams will be given a travel award for their representatives to attend the 2016 OMEP World Assembly and Conference in Seoul, Korea in July 2016. Our advisors and adjudicators include Audrey Curtis of UK, Eli Bergsvik of Norway, Jennifer Winters of USA, Zemin Xu and Aihua Hua of China, and Patricia Sarlé of Argentina. There is still time before the deadline on April 8, so please send us your application.
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
We are taking part in the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It is a continuation of our already successful ESD world project. Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson and our ESD team have met both physically and virtually to work on establishing synergies and collaboration among GAP partners and facilitate implementation within OMEP. We encourage everyone in the OMEP community to submit their work on ESD in early childhood and we will select up to 3 projects to be featured at the 2016 World Conference. Again, travel awards will be given. The deadline for submission is March 30.
International Advisory Group (IAG) of the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) Project
If you were at the World Assembly in Washington D.C. last year, you may recall that Nirmala Rao and I were invited by UNESCO to be International Advisory Group (IAG) members of the Survey of Teachers in Pre-Primary Education (STEPP) Project. The project aims to fill the data and evidence gap of the teacher challenge in the pre-primary education sector, particularly in developing countries, by developing and piloting a common instrument to survey pre-primary teachers and managers. The survey findings will serve as a basis for informing policy-level actions aimed at enhancing the capacities of pre-primary education personnel and promoting their professionalization.
In February, Nirmala and I went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the second IAG meeting to discuss the conceptual framework of the STEPP survey and agree on the project activities and timelines. This meeting brings together the lAG members and the representatives of STEPP pilot countries. I was thrilled to make new acquaintance in Africa. I will work closely with all of them.
The 2016 OMEP World Assembly and Conference
Our World Assembly and International Conference will be held at the beautiful Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea this July. The use of “Womans”, instead of “women”, was purposely chosen by the early founders of the university to show that every woman has the right to education and her own independent views and values. Today, Ewha is one of the most prestigious universities in Korea, as well as a cradle for global female leaders.
The venue seems especially fitting for our discussion of the conference theme — “Transforming Early Childhood Systems for Future Generations”. Not only should we pay attention to improving our current practices, but we should also aim high and look far ahead. The Incheon Declaration adopted in World Education Forum 2015, which we attended, requires that the global community endeavor to transform and enhance the quality of early childhood systems to ensure the higher quality of early childhood education and optimal learning of young children. I am glad to know that the response this year is very enthusiastic with 430 proposals submitted from 42 countries. I want to give a big thank you to Eunhye Park, President of OMEP-Korea and Regional Vice-President of Asia Pacific, for her leadership and organization. I would also like to thank everyone at the conference organizing committee for the hard work. I am very much looking forward to talk to and learn from everyone! Please don’t forget to register! For more information, please visit http://www.omep2016.org/. The 2017 World Assembly and Conference will be held in Croatia in June.
The small-scale partnership agreement between OMEP and UNICEF’s WASH in Schools Unit is finally going to become a reality! With this new fund, we will be able to better implement and extend our WASH from the Start project. More information will be available soon.
We have just accepted an invitation to join the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), a network that represents 15 national education forums, 8 regional networks from Latin America and 5 international NGOs with solid presence in Latin America. OMEP will work together with CLADE and the associating Collective Consultation of NGOs on EFA (CCNGO/EFA), as well as other NGOs, on the adoption of the SDG4-Education 2030 Framework for Action.
In addition, our European Regional Conference 2016 will be held between May 5 and 7 in Canterbury, UK, and the Latin American Regional Assembly and Congress 2016 will be held between June 20 and 24 in Santiago, Chile. Please visit their websites for more information.
That’s it for now. See you soon!