Celebrating the Power of Learning on International Day of Education

London, UK

Today, we mark the UN’s International Day of Education. The theme for 2024 is ‘learning for peace’, a sentiment I wholeheartedly support. My wife Tharshiny and I established the Global Unity Dinner to encourage unity, peace, and understanding across different nations and communities. It’s a cause close to our hearts – we both fled civil war in Sri Lanka and came to the UK, where we were welcomed and given the opportunity to create a life for ourselves.


Today reminds us how education transforms us; it not only changes lives but the world. I believe that if you’re not learning, you’re dead. That’s why I’ve studied throughout my working life at business schools and universities but also more informally.


Non-formal education is among the most valuable – the Duke of Edinburgh Award and International Award champion non-formal education for millions of young people in the UK and over 130 countries and territories overseas. As chair of the Sustainability 70 Steering Group (SG70), I’m part of a team dedicated to helping young people across the world gain access to the benefits of the Duke of Edinburgh Award so that more individuals from diverse backgrounds can learn new skills, conquer challenges, and develop invaluable qualities like confidence and resilience. These skills empower them to serve as catalysts for peace in their communities.


Through education, we can make the world a better place.

Dr. Selva Pankaj