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‘Beyond School Books’– an audio series on education in emergencies: Segment #5

©AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
President of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta listens during a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, September 2007, in New York.

Podcast #5: A Classroom Far from Home. Click here to listen to a discussion about educating children in some of the world's most challenging contexts, featuring these guests:

President Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and Dr. Rima Salah, former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF.

NEW YORK, USA, 2 January 2008 – Providing education to children in regions and societies affected by conflict – or emerging from it – is a major challenge. Yet communities in conflict-affected areas consistently rank education as a high priority. And they demonstrate astounding resourcefulness and resilience in seeking out and providing schooling for their children.

Many emergency situations around the globe are protracted conflicts that can take years or decades to resolve. According to 'Progress for Children,' the comprehensive statistical review recently published by UNICEF, more than 40 per cent of the world's estimated 39 million refugees and displaced persons are young people.

Growing up in precarious and volatile situations – and suffering from a lack of teachers, materials and schools – displaced youths are likely to be deprived of a quality education.

© UNICEF/2007/Markisz
Podcast moderator Amy Costello interviews former UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah in the UN Radio studios.

Educating refugee and displaced children

As the leader of Timor-Leste, the world's youngest democracy, President Jose Ramos-Horta is building and developing an education sector that must reintegrate both returning refugees and internally displaced persons.

During a recent UN Radio discussion on education in emergencies, Mr. Ramos-Horta spoke of the Timorese community’s attitudes about schooling since the country gained independence.

"There is an extraordinary desire, on the part of the parents, but also on the youth, to go to school," he said.

Development and change

Like Mr. Ramos-Horta, Dr. Rima Salah has drawn on both her personal experience and her research as an anthropologist to inform her work as an advocate for the human rights of refugee populations.

"Living in a refugee camp is really different than living in a village, because a refugee camp is a place surrounded by walls, and they know that they cannot go out," said Dr. Salah.

Despite living conditions and physical obstacles in displaced communities, both Dr. Salah and Mr. Ramos-Horta spoke of the drive and determination of young people to get an education. The Timorese President stressed that development and change will be furthered "through quality education, which will take time to come about to really make this country move forward."


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‘Beyond School Books’ audio series

Segment #1: When Crises Strike Children. Moderator Amy Costello talks with guests Radhika Coomaraswamy and Gene Sperling about education as a human right and long-term development tool.

AUDIO Listen

Segment #2: The War’s Over, Now Where’s Your Homework? Moderator Amy Costello talks with guests Ishmael Beah, Nicholas Kristof and Dyan Mazurana about child soldiers and education, in the context of humanitarian aid delivery to conflict and post-crisis countries.

AUDIO Listen

Segment #3: Education Under Attack. Moderator Amy Costello talks with guests Sibeso Luswata, Paul Martin and Geeta Verma about the role of education in countries affected by conflict or emerging from it.

AUDIO Listen

Segment #4: ‘A World Fit for Children’. Moderator Amy Costello talks with guests H.E. Dr. Minkailu Bah, Tove Romsaas Wang, Alan Court and Duhabo Goleecha about educating children in some of the world’s most challenging contexts.

AUDIO Listen

Segment #5: A Classroom Far from Home. Moderator Amy Costello talks with guests President Jose Ramos-Horta and Dr. Rima Salah about educating refugee and displaced children.

AUDIO Listen

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'Beyond School Books' – an audio series on education in emergencies:

Segment #1

Segment #2

Segment #3

Segment #4

Segment #5