– Dr. Hatem Fouad Ali, Regional Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, in the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, Region, stated that Aqdar World Summit is a leading UAE initiative that strengthens the role of education in countering extremist ideologies.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the sidelines of the launch of the Aqdar World Summit in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Ali said, “Moral education should contribute to developing the minds of children and protecting them against destructive and extremist ideologies, which are invading the world today,” while stressing that the UAE is a model to be followed internationally for introducing the subject of moral education in schools.
Regarding the co-operation between the GCC branch of the UNODC and the UAE, he explained that his regional office is working in partnership with the UAE in organising this summit, which aims to become a platform for dialogue and discussion between various countries, experts from the United Nations, UN, and international organisations about the importance of education in countering extremist and destructive ideologies.
Regarding the topics of the summit and its focus on education and moral education, Dr. Ali expressed his appreciation for the UAE’s initiative to organise the international summit while adding that the UNODC believes that fighting terrorism, which afflicts many of the world’s countries, must begin by combatting extremist ideologies and the corrupted values and behaviour of some youths and students, which may lead them to embrace extremist ideologies and consequently fall into the claws of extremist organisations.
He highlighted his hope for the success of the international summit in terms of conducting constructive dialogue and exchanging visions and approaches, as well as providing the opportunity to jointly recommend effective programmes and harness the Aqdar Initiative and its world summit in serving the international efforts to protect the world from extremism, through the soft power of the youth. Academic institutions must also establish a framework to protect students from extremism and moral decline, which could lead them to extremism, terrorism and crime, he added.
Regarding the UAE’s initiative to adopt the subject of moral education in schools, Dr. Ali highlighted the necessity for school curriculums to fortify the ideology of their students, as well as protect them, while pointing out that establishing moral values in students is part of the “National Programme to Protect against Extremism,” which his office is honoured to manage in partnership with the Ministry of Interior.
Dr. Ali also thanked the UAE for sponsoring the UNODC in its capital, Abu Dhabi, and for its generous hosting of their GCC office, which he considers a declaration of its strategic vision, as well as its partnership with the UNODC to provide an institutional work programme that will serve all GCC countries.
The participants at the Aqdar World Summit discussed three main topics, which are moral education, ideological extremism and moral decline, through 59 scientific papers over five main sessions and nine discussion sessions, as well as 12 workshops for experts and specialists, four youth sessions, and 12 workshops for parents and other community members, which were organised in co-operation and partnership with specialist local and international institutions.
WAM/Nour Salman/Hassan Bashir