Monday, January 01, 2007

UNESCO and the Reduction of Terrorist Threats

Rod Beckstrom, in an interview with Elizabeth Williamson in the Washington Post, (January 1, 2007) said:
The most important thing for us to remember is that decentralized terrorist networks are driven by ideology. Ideologies are not only the glue that binds them; they coalesce a social energy. One of the most important ideology factories in the world are schools.

As a nation we have not engaged in supporting good education across the Middle East. That is probably the most important thing we can contribute to . . . increase employment, promote more critical analysis and reasoning among the population, and to teach what we might consider modern social values.

Another thing we can do is focus on a simple ideological principle called respect. Many Muslims do not feel respected by Americans or by the Western press, and they feel that their own cultures are diminished. When cultures feel insulted, people can become radicalized.
Editor's comment: UNESCO's education programs are the most powerful instrument available to the United States and its allies in improving education in the Middle East and other areas where terrorist threats loom large. UNESCO is also a powerful instrument to build the peace by building cultures of respect among different peoples, and by building a free press that reports fairly and honestly. JAD

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