On the occasion of the International Day of Education on January 24, 2024, we are reminded of the powerful intersection between Social Work Education, human rights, peacebuilding, and the aspirations outlined in the People’s Charter for an Eco-Social World. This year’s theme, “Learning for Lasting Peace,” aligns closely with the Charter’s vision, emphasising the need for education systems that not only impart knowledge but actively contribute to peace, social justice, and sustainability.
As we approach this sixth International Day of Education, it is crucial to address the surge in war and violent conflicts, discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and hate speech, significantly magnified by the pervasive influence of social media. This alarming trend underscores the urgent need for an active commitment to peace and the role of education in fostering this commitment.
Social Work Education plays a pivotal role in actualising the values and goals set forth in the People’s Charter, which serves as a living document that underscores the importance of co-building peace, respecting nature, and creating social justice. It calls for a transformative approach where people from all walks of life are actively involved in shaping a world that is fair, sustainable, and peaceful.
In this context, Social Work Education is uniquely positioned. It equips future social workers with the skills and perspectives necessary to understand and address complex social dynamics, advocate for human rights, and foster community resilience and peace. This education is not just about imparting knowledge; it is about cultivating values of respect, dignity, harmony, social justice, diversity, belonging, and collaboration.
Vasilios Ioakimidis, IFSW Global Education Commissioner, emphasises this connection: “The principles and values advocated in the People’s Charter resonate deeply with the ethos of Social Work Education. By integrating these values, we prepare social workers to be agents of change, advocating for human rights and engaging in peacebuilding efforts that are crucial for our sustainable future.”
Joachim Mumba, IFSW Global President, also highlights the practical implications: “Social Work Education plays a critical role in creating societal structures where individuals feel valued, respected, and understood. This understanding is essential in preventing conflict and violence, promoting social justice, and co-creating a world where everyone can live with confidence, security, and peace.”
As we mark the International Day of Education under the theme of “learning for lasting peace,” let us recognise the transformative power of Social Work Education. It is not just about training professionals; it is about fostering a generation committed to the principles of the People’s Charter – a generation that actively contributes to building an eco-social world where peace, justice, and sustainability are not just ideals but realities.