Beirut, 17 June 2022 (ESCWA)--Children from Lebanon gathered at the UN House in Beirut today to perform short plays and display artistic works inspired by the ESCWA Stories comic book. The event, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU), was attended by Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar, and a score of former ministers, diplomats, education officials and artists from Lebanon.
“The time is now: let’s give our children a present that meets their aspirations and paves the way for a brighter future. We have no choice but to join efforts to implement radical reforms and sound policies, enact effective legislations, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti underscored. To the children, she said: “Today is your day, and the stage is yours. We gave you our stories, amaze us with your creativity!”
For her part, LNCU Secretary-General Hiba Nashabe said: “In the era of digital transformation, we need to preserve our identity, our values and our environment. We should seek to achieve justice, combat poverty, end wars and fight corruption, including through stories like the “ESCWA stories”. “There is a real need for such initiatives and activities, and for concerted efforts among all education stakeholders, as our only hope for Lebanon lies in educating our children and nurturing citizenship values in them,” she concluded.
Students of seven schools performed on stage, namely (by order of appearance): Al Hadi Institute for deaf, blind, and learning disabilities; Al-Makassed Abi Bakr El Siddeeq School; Al Kawthar Secondary School; Mekhitarist Fathers’ School; Al-Makassed Ali Bin Abi Taleb College; Rafic Hariri high School- Said; and Le Collège des Soeurs des Saints-Coeurs-Bauchrieh.
The event featured an art exhibition inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), following five months of student engagement guided by ESCWA and LNCU on the comic’s book message, namely the key role of young people in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
ESCWA had launched the “ESCWA Stories” on International Youth Day 2021, a series of five stories and videos that illustrate six young people’s endeavours to realize social justice and equality, combat poverty, protect the environment and contribute to the prosperity of their neighbourhood, in an effort to shed light on the work of the Commission and the key role of young people in achieving the SDGs.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.