India: With RiseUp4Peace, UNODC, KNPS Phagwara and educator partners join hands to empower young people through education on peace, integrity and lawfulness


New Delhi, India/23 February 2024: In a world fraught with conflicts, crises and inequalities, the impact on young people is profound. Mainstreaming education on SDG 16 is crucial in addressing their vulnerabilities—including threats from drugs and crime, risky behaviours, violence and mental health, among others. At the same time, young people should be enabled and empowered to understand their rights, make ethical decisions, challenge injustice, and promote fairer communities.

RiseUp4Peace, a new educational initiative in this direction was unveiled in India, driven by UNODC, the Kamla Nehru Public School Phagwara (KNPS) and educator partners. RiseUp4Peace will build a vibrant community of practice to strengthen education on peace, integrity, and the rule of law—key aspects of SDG16—by building educator capacities, engaging young people, promoting cross-learning and co-creating educational interventions.

Joining the virtual launch with a resounding call to action, over 200 educators, policymakers, and young people from India and beyond welcomed the initiative, calling it a ‘need of the hour.’

Dr. Ram Shankar, Director (Training) Central Board of Secondary Education called for training educators as frontline champions and fostering collaboration on SDG16. “CBSE and UNODC can work closely to develop capacity building programs.” Dr. Satya Bhushan, Asst. Professor (IRD) from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) stressed the need for such interactive platforms where educators can share and receive knowledge. “NCERT is committed to supporting educators and efforts like RiseUp4Peace.”

UNODC’s South Asia Representative Marco Teixeira emphasized the alignment of RiseUp4Peace with India’s National Education Policy 2020: “Empowering young learners with integrity, ethics, and lawfulness is crucial. UNODC champions such efforts, engaging youth, training educators, and sharing global expertise.”

Extending support to the initiative, eminent educational leaders--Mr. Himmat Singh Dhillon, Headmaster, The Lawrence School Sanawar, Ms. Geeta Jayanth, Principal, Chaman Bharatiya School Bengaluru and Ms. Rita Singh, Director, Indirapuram Group of Institutions from India, Ms. Lorraine Leo and Professor Yoshiro Miyata, World Peace Song Coordinators from the USA and Japan respectively, and youth advocate Ms. Medha Tushti, undergraduate student at the University of Delhi--shared impact stories and deep insights on teaching and learning SDG16 in the classrooms.

The response so far has been overwhelming, highlighting the importance of such efforts. In just a week, over 661 educator leaders and 11,570 students from 182 educational institutions across 35 countries have joined the RiseUp4Peace coalition of partners so far, as shared by Ms. Paramjeet Kaur Dhillon, KNPS Principal (Admin and Innovation). "Let educators, NGOs, and educational institutions unite across borders, collaborating to construct a world of peace, justice, and resilient institutions. Within the educational initiative, partnerships like UNODC-KNPS for RiseUp4Peace can enhance school-led efforts and cultivate networks. Together, we forge enduring change, laying the foundation for a brighter, more peaceful future for our students."

RiseUp4Peace builds on UNODC’s expertise and initiatives in education and youth empowerment: the Education for Justice and GRACE initiatives, through which peer-reviewed and pedagogical tools—including handbooks of educators--have been developed to prevent crime, violence, and corruption and promote a culture of lawfulness among young people at the primary, secondary, and tertiary educational levels.

"Through education, we must help students better understand the consequences of crime and risky behaviours, and the importance of justice and  the rule of law. With RiseUp4Peace, I believe the catalyst for our efforts will be the power of peer-to-peer influence guided by educators," said UNODC Communications Officer for South Asia Mr. Samarth Pathak.

In India, trainings of educators and engagement of students with activity-based learning have been spearheaded, providing a positive framework of action and mentorship. An example is that of the Lockdown Learners series, spearheaded in response to COVI9-19 pandemic. Bridging socio-economic and gender divides, this intervention empowered young people on SDGs, peace and crime prevention with activities.

UNODC believes that by investing in educators, we are investing in a generation of young people who will carry the torch of peace and integrity forward.

Join the initiative:

This activity contributes to SDG 4, SDG 5, SDG 16 and SDG 17: