The global pandemic has greatly affected education around the world, posing new challenges and exposing disparities even further. For Education for Justice (E4J), this was a year of redoubling efforts to ensure consistency in support to academics and educators on teaching rule of law and related topics. These creative and systematic efforts, building up on an already diverse portfolio of educational material and forming bridges between different stakeholders to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have earned E4J the Secretary General's 2020 Innovation Award.
The responsibility of preparing the next generation to become tomorrow's fulfilled citizens, policymakers and leaders is one that UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative takes very seriously. This month, it has been recognized by Secretary-General António Guterres and awarded his 2020 Secretary-General Award in the category 'Innovation.'
"Every year, it is my honour to recognize inspiring and exemplary work of Secretariat staff members who have contributed above and beyond the call of duty or advanced projects with great impact and innovative potential," said Mr. Guterres. "In the 'Innovation' category, we honour the Education for Justice initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for directly engaging children, youth, teachers and academics."
The need for gender equality and parity is a topic that has gained much exposure in the last years in the public and private sectors. For Education for Justice (E4J), these concepts must be engrained from very early on in a child's education, and they must be sustained throughout the years. In order to achieve positive results on this front, girls and boys must understand the importance of their respective roles in contributing to a fairer society.
Education in this context also importantly highlights how to prevent all forms of discrimination and violence related to gender, and it can strengthen crime prevention all over the world by planting the seeds of understanding from a young age. Education, and in particular E4J's resources, can also prepare the next generation to come of age as champions of gender equality, challenging discrimination and ending all forms of violence, by effecting changes in law, policy and practice.
Collaborative partnerships between the United Nations and academia play a huge role in tackling global challenges, and in promoting a culture of lawfulness. UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has reached out to countless educators and academics in the last five years, lending its support as they strive to empower the next generation of leaders and policymakers.
Together, E4J and hundreds of specialists around the world have developed unique tools and resources to support this objective at various educational levels. In particular, E4J has created a unique set of university modules, available for free download online for everyone, introducing students to the core themes of crime prevention and criminal justice. With over 100 modules surpassing 5,000 pages, professors have the flexibility to integrate various modules into their curricula, even in disciplines that do not generally cover such issues.
Since its creation, UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has catered to all levels of formal education, creating tools and resources to teach at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels in a variety of ways. At the core of this teaching material is the promotion of a culture of lawfulness, with a focus on giving the next generation the information and the mindset to better understand and address problems that can undermine the rule of law, and consequently undermine peace in their communities.
Engaging youth begins with teaching them core values that can form the base for a solid moral and ethical compass, and that can drive them to engage in their communities and contribute to making them safer and better. At the primary level, E4J helps disseminate values such as acceptance, integrity, respect and fairness. At the secondary level, practical and interactive educational material helps form a basic understanding of factors around crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law, the core concepts of UNODC mandated areas.