Ambassador Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury of Finland has stressed the importance of education in building a peaceful society.
She stated this on Monday in Abuja at the Third All-Stakeholders’ Strategy Conference on Education/Youth and National Development organized by the Diamond Crest for Youth Education Foundation, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Youth development and Sports of Nigeria, and Rotary district 9125.
The conference was themed: ‘Education and Youth Empowerment for Peace, Security & Sustainable Development in Nigeria: Problems, Prospects & Pillars’.
The Ambassador defined education as a very fundamental aspect of the fabric of any society.
“It allows a country to benefit from the talent of its citizens. It enables people to make good choices in life, it reduces prejudices and hatred, and increases knowledge and understanding. It promotes positive social and economic development, and it allows individuals to have satisfying lives, with hope and prospects, and a feeling of being in control. It makes individuals and society more resourceful and resilient. It makes it much more difficult to lure people into destructive activities,” she said.
According to her, the success factors of the Finnish education system equality of opportunity, highly qualified teachers and a strong appreciation of learning.
She said though Finland is a very small nation, education has played a very big part in building our welfare society, and the knowledge economy that we have today.
“It had a very central role in promoting the manufacturing, services, high-tech, clean-tech, innovation, and research and development that we are proud of today. Also, when sometimes we do go through a rough patch, it gives us the solid foundation and the resilience needed to make improvements, and to get back on track.
“I believe education has also played a very big part in producing and maintaining the peace and stability in my country. It has provided people with the opportunity to be in control of their destinies, to realize their everyday dreams, and to provide a good life for themselves and their families. It has helped them to see the benefit of negotiated outcomes, and enabled them to focus on opportunities instead of threats.”
Adding, she said, sometimes the challenges can seem overwhelming. “But there is no doubt that in finding the necessary solutions, education is an extremely powerful and an absolutely necessary tool. It has the capacity to harness the positive energy of the young, to benefit themselves and the society as a whole – and to make sure that all the potential and energy that they hold does not go to waste, but will go into building a bright future for them and their country.”