China's Vice President Li Yuanchao has called on the international community to make a concerted effort in educating people, especially the younger generation, and in teaching them to cherish, safeguard and promote peace.
China's Vice President Li Yuanchao delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the "International Day of Peace 2013 and China-South Asia Peace and Development Forum," held on Saturday in Kunming. [China.org.cn by Chen Boyuan]
Li made the remark in his keynote speech on Saturday at the opening ceremony of the China-South Asia Peace and Development Forum, an event held in honor of the International Day of Peace, in Kunming of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The United Nations chose the theme of "Education for Peace" for this year's International Day of Peace.
Li said both China and South Asia are now facing important development opportunities, amid which war still forms the biggest stumbling block.
China and South Asia are also among the top contributors to UN Peacekeeping Operations, with China being the largest contributor of the UN Security Council's permanent members, according to the United Nation Development Program (UNDP).
"If this new generation is not given pens, they will be given guns by terrorists," Li quoted Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who won the National Peace Award, as saying.
In June of this year, Yousafzai found herself to be a Taliban target because of her campaign for the right to education. During her later visit to the UN, Yousafzai said, "One teacher, one book, one pen can change the world."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that education is vital for fostering global citizenship and building peaceful societies, and referred to Yousafzai's advocates as "our most powerful weapons," in his video message delivered at the ceremony.
Ban added that at this moment, 57 million children are still denied an education, whereas millions more need better schooling worldwide.
China's UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien explained how it is not enough for schools to teach children how to read, write and count, but they must help younger generations to understand diversity as well, a prerequisite for tolerance in building a "a more just and inclusive peaceful world."