After spending two days in a closed space designing a computer programme, most people would look and feel exhausted; but for 25 secondary school students who had come to Washington, D.C. this week to do just that, no amount of fatigue could begin to overshadow the excitement and sense of achievement they felt.
Invited to the event by the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative (a component of the UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration) to participate in a special hackathon co-organized with the World Bank and Africa Teen Geeks, these students came from Bulgaria, India, Mexico, South Africa and Tunisia to develop software solutions to one of six challenges posed by the organizers, revolving around Sustainable Development Goal 16 (targeting peace, justice and strong institutions) and rule of law.
Empowering the next generation to change the world is neither an easily definable mission nor a simple task, but it certainly is a prerequisite to achieving the ambitious Sustainable Development Agenda. While students at the tertiary level are often already aware of - and reasonably informed about - the challenges facing the global community and have ideas about what they want to do, many may feel they have not yet found the ideal avenue through which to pursue their professional aspirations.
It launched last week at the renowned Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, a historic institution from which many women and men have graduated to take up positions of leadership in various international careers, shaping the trajectory of the modern world.
UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has devoted the past three years to the development and creation of valuable and quality resources for educators and students, to teach children of all ages the essence of rule of law and its positive impact on everyone's life. These varied resources took place of pride during the vibrant discussions held this week at UNODC headquarters in Vienna, where over 350 educators, academics, policymakers, experts and Member States representatives gathered for the " International High-Level Conference "Educating for the Rule of Law: Inspire Change Together" at E4J's invitation.
Having developed a varied portfolio of educational tools and materials aimed at reinforcing the capacity of teachers and educators around the world, and already enjoying sustained success through their insertion in the programmes of numerous Member States and institutions, E4J is also focusing on enhanced international cooperation and global partnerships to expand the scope and spread of these accomplishments, as specified by Sustainable Development Goal 17.
This was the theme of a distinguished panel discussion E4J held last week at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, with dozens of academics, diplomats and policymakers in attendance.
Arming the world's future policymakers, legislators and justice warriors in all fields with the right tools to make the world a better place is one of the necessities of a comprehensive education today. At the same time, keeping students engaged and igniting in them a passion for issues which will affect their lives is a challenge for which modern and innovative solutions are always needed. The Education for Justice (E4J) initiative is a firm believer in the old adage that teamwork with skilled partners always leads to better results - especially when the subject matter touches everyone around the world. And with UNODC's own renowned expertise in issues of crime, justice and rule of law, it was only natural that E4J should partner with hundreds of specialists to deliver superior educational resources, complementing its promotion of a culture of lawfulness.