The UNESCO powered campaign #Unite4Heritage An advocacy tool to fight extremism and radicalization

A four-day regional workshop on global citizenship education and peace building brought together 50 youth leaders and activists from 23 countries to Amman, between the 13th and the 16th of December.

Building up on the idea of the power of culture and heritage to support resilience, lasting peace and sustainable development, UNESCO Amman office offered a presentation and facilitated a discussion in line with the #Unite4Heritage initiative.

The campaign is a global movement powered by UNESCO and supported by all stakeholders aiming at celebrating and safeguarding cultural heritage diversity around the world.

Launched in response to the unprecedented recent attacks on global heritage, the social media campaign calls on everyone to stand up against extremism and radicalization by celebrating the places, objects and cultural traditions that make each, individual country such a rich and unique place.

In a context where the destruction of cultural heritage is being used as a tactic of war and therefore, its protection has become far more that a cultural issue but also a security imperative, the #Unite4 Heritage initiative intends to facilitate a platform for young leaders and peace advocates to speak their voices. The campaign illustrates that young people can use the Internet without risk of radicalization, countering the online hate speech through media and information literacy.

The workshop was organized by the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), in partnership with Generations for Peace (GFP) and Educate a Child (EAC), and follows a series of youth advocacy trainings organized across the globe by GEFI throughout 2015. The Secretariat of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) is hosted by UNESCO.

The workshop aims not only at shaping a common understanding of Global Citizenship Education and its critical role in today’s world, but specially to establish a wider network of trained and motivated youth advocates and explore new initiatives for youth engagement in peace building, such as the #Unite4Heritage initiative.

The workshop also included a field visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Um er-Rasas. The archaeological site contains remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods (end of 3rd to 9th centuries AD) and a fortified Roman military camp. The site also has 16 churches, some with well-preserved mosaic floors.

At the Site, the participants were received by a representative from the Department of Antiquities of Jordan who conducted a one hour tour highlighting the uniqueness and value of the site and its importance as part of Jordan’s heritage. The participants could utilize the information to work on advocacy messages related to the #Unite4Heritage initiative and use them in Social Media. The results of these exercises will be published and shared though the participants’ Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as the UNESCO Amman Office Social media channels during the upcoming weeks.