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At UN, Military Use of Schools & de Blasio UPK Asked Of, Elitism Rejected

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 -- Norway's proposal to end military use of schools, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's Universal Pre-Kindergarten proposals were topics Inner City Press asked about at the UN's June 16 long-title press conference on “Early Childhood Development: The Foundation for Sustainable Human Development for 2015 and Beyond.”

  On the former, Colombia's Permanent Representative Maria Emma Mejia noted that her country has had conflict, but that schools no matter how humble are sacred places. She said President Santos' re-election was an endorsement of the peace process with the FARC.

  On that, Inner City Press notes that "On 13 June 2014, the Norwegian government announced its commitment to leading the process to promote international standards that protect educational institutions—and the students and teachers who use them—from conflict. Norway released a new white paper on global education, and announced its intention to lead the way in finalizing the Draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use." We'll have more on this.

  UNICEF's Pia Britto, Global Head of Early Childhood Development, praised de Blasio's initiative, saying the education begins at birth and that 60 countries are now pledging.

  The press conference began with the claim that the UN Correspondents Association should automatically get the first question -- it was so ill-focused, one doubts the answer will ever be reported. The Free UN Coalition for Access says there should be no automatic first questions, or Holy Seats, at the UN - this is elitism, and bad education. UNCA big-wigs have tried to get the investigative Press thrown out of the UN; they do not represent all journalists even inside the UN and should be given no automatic first questions to waste. More on this to follow.


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