Representatives of 21 Eastern European States expressed their commitment to support awareness-raising efforts of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) during the first Regional Meeting on Education and Outreach in Eastern Europe, which took place from 4 to 5 May in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Forty-five participants from civil society, academia, non-governmental organisations and National Authorities of Eastern European States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) focused on how to advance an education and outreach agenda related to the implementation of the Convention.
The meeting came shortly after the launch of the OPCW’s Advisory Board on Education and Outreach (ABEO). The body will offer practical advice to the Organisation on possible strategies, tools and a portfolio of activities in line with global trends in education and outreach. The Vilnius audience received a briefing on this new development and pledged to support ABEO’s work.
The participants learned about various public awareness approaches developed by the Organisation. After watching the OPCW documentary from the FIRES documentary films series titled “A Teacher’s Mission”, attendees praised it as an engaging tool to stimulate students’ reflection on the role of ethics in science.
The Vilnius discussions highlighted the increasingly important role of education and outreach in the implementation of the CWC. Many participants presented their national experiences and good practices and underlined the need to expand the reach of the Convention at universities, among scientific communities and in industry to help foster the culture of responsible science worldwide.
The ideas that emerged at the Vilnius gathering will be considered by the Advisory Board and used to bring awareness about the work of the OPCW to various communities in Eastern Europe. One of Advisory Board’s key aims is to create such connections and ensure synergies among the activities of many stakeholders.
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