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First Celebration of the International Day of Education

On January 24, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave a statement at the first celebration of the International Day of Education, which the United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 73/25, approved on December 3, 2018, determined would be celebrated each year on January 24.

In his statement, Archbishop Auza welcomed the new International Day — one of 159 observed by the U.N. — as an opportunity to celebrate education as a good in and of itself and a crucial element in integral development and the building and maintenance of peace and security. He underlined Pope Francis’ 2015 words to the General Assembly about the importance of education for all and stressed the urgency of fulfilling SDG 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, considering that 120 million children have no access to primary or secondary education and another 130 million go to schools that barely deserve the name. He spoke of how the Catholic Church runs approximately 220,000 pre-University schools across the globe, educating more than 65 million children and youth, many of whom are not Catholic, assisting parents and the State in educating the next generation. He emphasized that education is more than instruction, but character formation, repeating the haunting words of Holocaust Survivor Haim Ginott and stated that today’s celebration is an opportunity to celebrate and commit ourselves further to the good, importance, right and high vocation of education.

The statement can be found here.