Tuesday, 19 February 2019 09:54

The Government of Japan and UNESCO sign agreement on ‘Voices of the children of Old Mosul’ primary school project

Baghdad, 18 February 2019 - The UNESCO and the Government of Japan signed an agreement in support of the project “Voices of the children of Old Mosul: the rehabilitation and management of primary schools in historic urban context emerging from conflict”. Naofumi Hashimoto, Japan’s Ambassador to Iraq and Rory Robertshaw, Officer in Charge, UNESCO Office for Iraq, signed the document in the presence of Dr. Hamid Ahmad, the deputy Chairman of the Prime Minister of Iraq’s Advisory Commission (PMAC).


The innovative project lays the ground for participatory design principles in the creation of pupil-centred schools through the collaboration of pupils, teachers, parents architects and designers. One school in the old city of Mosul will be rehabilitated and equipped in line with these principles, serving as a pilot for the project. The project also lays the ground for a holistic approach to the prevention of violent extremism in primary education with the provision of training to support the four key elements that influence the experience of children’s learning: parents, teachers, school principals and school policies and procedures.

The project will be implemented in synergy with other UNESCO activities of the umbrella initiative ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ launched in February 2018 to coordinate international effort to rebuild the heritage and revitalize the educational and cultural institutions of Mosul, in close cooperation with the Government and people of Iraq. This project will have linkages to a pipeline EU project under the Mosul initiative on urban recovery and reconstruction of Mosul’s historic urban landscape, a Netherland funded project on Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education in primary schools and the Educate a Child Initiative funded project on improving access to quality and inclusive education with gender equality for out-of-school children.

Conflict and occupation by extremists, have devastated the education sector in Mosul, leaving students and teachers struggling with physical as well as psychological effects of the war. Re-opening and supporting schools to rebuild the foundations of tolerance and peaceful coexistence are critical factors in determining the return of displaced Moslawis to the city and the revival of educational and cultural institutions. The new project aims to promote tolerance and peaceful co-existence in targeted primary schools in the old city of Mosul, contributing to long term prevention of violent extremism.

Rory Robertshaw, Officer in Charge, UNESCO Office for Iraq said, “The support of the People of Japan is welcome contribution to ensuring children in Mosul receive an enriching educational experience, playing a part in building a more inclusive and resilient city that is emerging from a period of intense and damaging conflict”.

Naofumi Hashimoto, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq, said, “Japan has recently decided new assistance package for Iraq amounting to 63 million US Dollars including this project as contribution in the education sector. With this package, total amount of Japan’s assistance to the people affected by ISIL reaches 500 million US Dollars.” The Ambassador also expressed the hope that the project will give the children of Mosul educational opportunities and better prospects for the future. He also reiterated Japan’s continued support for Iraq’s nation building efforts, notably through humanitarian assistance and initiatives to improve people’s livelihood.

The deputy of the chairman of PMAC, Dr. Hamid Ahmed, said, “In recognition of the devastating impact of ISIL/Da’esh in terms of infrastructural damage as well as psychosocial impact on thousands of young people in Iraq, the Conference “Education after Da’esh” held in Baghdad in March 2017 identified the importance of the role of education in preventing violent extremism and addressing radicalization of youth. It called upon support in developing educational capacity in Iraq to integrate PVE in school programmes and educational policies. The signing of this agreement symbolizes and confirms the continued international support in effect to this agenda of the revival of Iraq’s rich historical intellectual and cultural legacies“.

The project agreement reinforces the shared commitment of UNESCO and Japan to address the needs of the people of Iraq, especially children, in liberated areas such as Mosul. It comes in the wake of the meeting between UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of18 October 2018 in Paris, which resulted in the reinforced partnership between UNESCO and Japan and support for the Mosul Initiative.

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Additional Info

  • Agency: UNESCO
Last modified on Tuesday, 19 February 2019 10:05

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