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NOVA marks International Education Day

The annual celebration of International Education Day on 24 January, as decided by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2019, highlights the fundamental importance of education in promoting peace, social justice and sustainable development. 

In particular, the theme adopted for the celebration of the day in 2024 - "Learning for Lasting Peace" - emphasises the intrinsic link between education and the building of peaceful and resilient societies, at a time when the world is witnessing a wave of violent conflict, as well as the alarming rise in discrimination, racism, xenophobia and hate speech.   

NOVA University's commitment to learning for lasting peace is achieved by promoting teaching that transcends national and cultural boundaries, whether in the national territory or on the Cairo campus and by encouraging the NOVA community of students, teachers, researchers and staff to understand the major local and global challenges and to respect diversity, essential aspects for conflict resolution. 

Some actions and activities stand out: 

  • The implementation of the Gender Equality Plan 

  • Support for students in humanitarian emergencies, especially Afghan students 

  • the creation of the NOVA For Ukraine programme, with free Portuguese courses for the Ukrainian refugee community 

  • the SUPERNOVA foundation programme, which prepares international students for their future studies and, from 2020, includes the Ideas Club curriculum unit, which encourages debate on current global issues from an intercultural perspective among students of non-European Union nationalities, with different languages, cultures and religions. 

  • and the Erasmus+ programme, which promotes the development of projects and the international mobility of students, teachers and staff within and outside Europe, enabling the construction of knowledge relationships and intercultural recognition, with a great impact on the acquisition of empathy skills, contributing to the redefinition of what it means to be human. 

“The increase in cultural diversity observed at NOVA University over the last decade means that we have to make an increased effort in inclusion mechanisms for learning in the classroom and for enabling our community to better integrate and understand other cultures and habits. In an open world like the one we have today, the role of university communities is essential in building a world of greater understanding about others”, highlights the Vice-Rector for Education and International Development at NOVA University Lisbon, Professor João Amaro de Matos. 

To mark this date, UNESCO updated the 1974 Recommendation, a global instrument for defining standards to achieve lasting peace and promote human development through education based on 14 guiding principles.