President Emil Constantinescu, invited to the International Conference of Supreme Judges of the World

Every year, 5.2 million children under the age of 5 die due to lack of food, clean water, hygiene and medical care. About 700 million children live on less than $1.25 a day. Another 500 million live on less than $1.90 a day. One in five children in the world lives in deep poverty. 60 million children live on the streets. Another 90 million work, or spend their days on the streets. A new UNICEF estimate shows that more than 261,000 children are in prison systems worldwide. Incarcerated children are often mistreated. For girls, the danger of sexual exploitation looms ominously. 8 million children around the world are forced to submit to the worst forms of labour abuse, as slaves, child soldiers or in prostitution. In the beginning of 2020, 9 million children were at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. Each year, more than 1 million children are "trafficked" into the modern slave trade. A recent UNICEF report showed that between 2012 and 2014, more than 60,000 trafficked children were detected. In the last 16 years, at least 2 million children have been killed in wars; 6 million suffered serious physical injuries; 10 million suffered serious psychological harm; 1 million have lost or been separated from their parents; 300,000 (three hundred thousand!) children were used as soldiers or demining machine operators. At least 25 million children have been forced to leave their countries of origin. There are 101 million children who do not receive any kind of education. Another 150 million children leave the school system before the fifth grade.

To display the cause of a safe and secure future for the world's children and generations yet to be born, the Montessori School in Lucknow, India, recipient of the UNESCO Peace Education Prize (2002) has been organizing annually, for 23 years, the International Conference of Supreme Judges of the world. The guests are heads of state and government, high magistrates.

The President of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture, prof. emeritus Emil Constantinescu, participates in the 23rd edition of the conference, held in the special context of the war in Ukraine.

The organization of the conference started from the finding that the common denominator of all the nations of the world are children. Therefore, their concerns are not theirs alone. It is imperative that we create conditions where children's concerns are addressed and they can have access to equality, justice, freedom, education, nutrition, health, shelter and a clean and sustainable environment so that they can develop into healthy adults, and that generations yet unborn can grow up in a suitable environment and contribute to human progress and development.

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine is resulting in widespread death and destruction. Millions of people were left homeless as their homes were reduced to ashes. Too many children died and many fell into poverty. Millions of people have become refugees, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The situation is shocking. This war negatively affected the world economy. If the war continues, there is fear of a possible escalation into a world war. In such a situation, the leaders and intellectuals of the world must be very active and make serious efforts in the interest of humanity and especially children and future generations. The approach of the Montessori School of Lucknow, the largest school in the world, is more justified than ever.

The participation of President Emil Constantinescu in this conference takes place 25 years after the state visit he made to India, and the invitation to the presidential palace gave him the opportunity to revisit the tree planted in November 1997. On the same first day of the conference, participants visited the Supreme Court and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.



58000 students and 4000 teachers attend the "International Conference of Global Law Representatives" organized by the Montessori School at Lucknow every year. The debates start from Article 51 of the Constitution of India which stipulates the obligation of the state to promote international peace and security, to maintain just and honourable relations between nations, to encourage respect for international law and the settlement of international disputes through arbitration and aim to promote public policies sustainable in terms of education.

Global problems require global solutions, which can only be addressed through increased dialogue and interaction between political leaders and intellectuals around the world in an appropriate forum. The International Conference of Supreme Judges of the World is one such forum.

The dense program of the conference included debates in several thematic groups - "Creating a Culture of Unity and Peace"; "Consolidation of the Rule of Law"; "Human rights"; "The Structure of Global Governance"; "Addressing Global Problems", "Sustainable Development" - each of these with well-defined topics: education for peace; intercultural understanding; interreligious dialogue; the role of civil society and education in creating a culture of unity and peace; Courts of Justice and religion; the creation of a Global Parliament to implement globally enforceable legislation; the limitations of the International Court of Justice; international judicial activism; the relationship between International Law and National Law; protecting fundamental human rights; violence against children; children's rights; women's rights and gender equality; the reform of the United Nations; the need for a new world order, built on democratic lines; the structure of global democracy; the role of young people in social transformation, regional and international terrorism; civil wars and ethnic conflicts; the refugee problem; nuclear proliferation and disarmament.


Președintele Emil Constantinescu, invitat la Conferința internațională a judecătorilor supremi ai lumii


Emil Constantinescu: A lasting peace can only be achieved on the basis of a culture of peace through education, which starts from kindergarten and lasts until the University


We have gathered these days to discuss the culture of peace and education for peace at a time when guns are roaring in certain regions of the world. We are used to discussing justice in times of peace, but the task becomes even more difficult in times of war.

I attended this conference for the first time in 2014. Last year, in 2021, when we were still dealing with the pandemic, I attended it online, and here I am again today. In each of the editions I have attended, I have noticed that this academic conference is preceded by other activities, mostly UN simulations, in which students participate. Such events are natural at the Lucknow Montessori School, which won the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education in 2002. And I take this opportunity to congratulate you, not only for the efforts to have organized such a conference, but also for the opportunities provided for these children to document and learn what it means to be in a position of power, as well as to understand, from an early age, not only the rights that come from such a position, but also the responsibilities that come along with it

As the war in Ukraine grew in intensity, I watched statements about the need for reform in the United Nations given its ineffectiveness in preventing war, about the management of large numbers of refugees, about activism and the failure of global governance. I saw the images of families forced to seek shelter in the path of war. I know that while we are discussing the UN's operating rules today, Ukrainian children are either in fallout shelters or somewhere abroad, refugees. In both cases, they are not in school, as they should be.

I want to make a confession to you. 25 years ago in November 1997, I was in India at the invitation of President Rocheril Raman Narayanan and Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral for a five-day state visit. I presented to the Indian officials the progress of the first year of Romania's presidency: the historic reconciliation of Romania and Hungary after 700 years of bloody conflicts, Romania's recognition of Ukraine's sovereignty and integrity through a treaty, despite the existence within Ukraine's borders of territories that historically belonged to Romania.

I was coming to India, straight from Hanoi, where the Francophonie Summit had taken place and where I had discussed with heads of state, especially from Africa and Haiti, about how we can contribute to a Culture of Peace.

Because today is November 19, I remember that 25 years ago, the President of India congratulated me on my birthday which I celebrated in India, like today. Sometimes personal memories matter if they can serve the younger generation.

In the year I was born, 1939, World War II began. As a child I was a refugee twice from the Red Army of the Soviet Union. My first memories are of the bombings, of our destroyed house, of dead and wounded people. Romania lost 1 million young people in the war. I lived 50 years of my life under Soviet military occupation, then under a murderous communist dictatorship regime that sent people to concentration camps and prisons. Hundreds of thousands of people were imprisoned for crimes of conscience. Around 100,000 were killed. Students from my university participated in a peaceful uprising for which the dictator Ceaușescu sent the armed forces against. More than 3,000 people were killed, thousands more arrested and tortured, and thousands more seriously injured. The dictator Ceaușescu was executed by his former colleagues in the leadership.

When I became president, after seven years, by popular vote unchallenged by absolutely no one, I applied a natural reconciliation. During my tenure, no one was tried, convicted or threatened for political reasons, not even the worst torturers, because the ex-prisoners did not want revenge. I think these historical facts must be known because history can help us better understand the present, and build a future in peace.

I am glad to see here some organizations that have dedicated their work to the promotion of peace and education in the culture of peace. I was pleased to meet again the representatives of HWPL and FOWPAL, organizations that came here as a veritable network of networks. Let me explain in detail. Today we see two organizations that have joined hands, one from the United States and the other from South Korea, in an effort to promote peace among the youth. This is extremely important – their first and most relevant beneficiaries are young people. And, according to me, it is an example that we, former and present heads of state, must replicate. I can tell you from experience that a head of state is, most of the time, focused on state issues, reforms and budgets, in order to think directly about the people. And this is very sad, because no state exists without its people. Let's not forget that there are states where young people are not among the first beneficiaries of national reforms. We are focused on providing people with health and social insurance, pensions and decent wages, and we strive not to exceed our allocated budgets. We are concerned with educational reforms to provide the right framework for people of all ages to have access to education and lifelong learning, we try to match programs and skills and that's about it. We are too little interested in what people actually learn. Once the curriculum is implemented, we are confident that people will receive a good education. And I do get it. They go on to become brilliant doctors, teachers, engineers, teachers, scientists, lawyers, judges, writers, soldiers and artists. But have you ever wondered if that's enough? Shouldn't we also be concerned with another type of education? Shouldn't we be interested in providing an education of values and principles alongside the education of knowledge?

Let me elaborate on this idea, because I have dedicated my life's work to promoting peace, mutual understanding and interfaith dialogue. Yesterday, I witnessed the mock UN that you organized. I was amazed to see students who stepped into the shoes of the character assigned to each one so well. These are students who may not yet have visited the countries they represented, but have made the effort to do so to the best of their ability. And then I had a revelation. Beyond the knowledge these young people possessed, they demonstrated a dedication and commitment to doing what is right that many adults lack. They showed us what it means to be a good ambassador of the country, but in their act of representation they proved some values that I would like to find at the level of the entire international community: solidarity, equality, dignity, freedom, justice, tolerance, the spirit of reconciliation and, finally, Peace. Any UN simulation aims to teach students not only the working mechanisms of the United Nations, but also the need to achieve a peaceful resolution of a conflict at any cost. Years ago, UN simulations used historical crises as a working tool. Today, we are witnessing an ongoing war that could become a case study for either of them. Not just in technical terms, but in terms of doing the right thing and valuing people.

And I achieved something else. We strive to teach students ancient history, mathematics, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, and more, but fail to teach them to distinguish between religions and races and how to live in peace with each other. The struggle for peace is the most difficult. It is so easy to start a war, with one shot, but extremely difficult to end it. And at the end of it, the decision-makers are faced with the challenge: what is desirable - peace or security? Are we interested in a truce that can easily turn into conflict, or will we make every possible effort to achieve a lasting peace? These days I heard the sentence "We are all one!". Indeed, if I take a look around me, we are all one. Despite age, ethnicity, religion and gender, we are all alike, we have the same ideals and values. We all seek peace, even without knowing it. Have you ever seen a person willing to live their whole life in conflict? Me neither.

After more than half my life lived under communism and another considerable part lived in democracy, I have realized that the greatest failure of statesmen and ordinary people alike is the lack of focus on preparing the young for life's challenges. We prepare them to become good professionals in their field of activity, but the challenges of their lives will not come from bad bosses, but from external forces that will push them to test their limits. That is why we must focus on teaching young people to respect the law, the institutions, but more importantly, to respect each other. The differences are visible at every step, but the possibility of an escalation of these differences can be removed with the right approach. For this, we need to find a common ground of dialogue, by discovering similarities and common points of interest, and by emphasizing that a conflict is a waste of time. This is the role of international institutions. And again, I'm glad I saw this taught yesterday in the UN simulation I attended.

I am confident that these children I met will become the excellent leaders of tomorrow. How do I know this? Because I saw how seriously they prepared for this simulation. I saw the desire to be the best, not among everyone else, but with them. I saw the empathy shown in identifying solutions to the problems discussed. Finally, I saw humanity at work, no matter what region they represented.

I want to draw three conclusions from this:

  1. World peace is possible if it is based on respect for the law and international treaties.
  2. Expanding the space of democracy means expanding the space of Peace.
  3. Lasting peace can only be achieved on the basis of a culture of peace through education, starting from kindergarten and continuing through University.



On the sideline of the International Conference of the Supreme Judges of the World, President Constantinescu participated in the World Summit of Peace and Love, organized by the World Federation for Peace and Love (FOWPAL), led by Dr. Hong Tao Tze. During the summit, President Constantinescu welcomed the efforts made by this organization to promote peace among young people and build a culture of peace that is sustainable and resists attacks of any kind. Such a culture of peace must be based on dialogue, cooperation, understanding and respect for the other.

"In my opinion, the culture of peace is something more than intercultural dialogue and its construction requires more time and more perseverance. It is a process of continuous education, from childhood to old age. We cannot omit the fact that a "culture of peace" cannot be separated from a new "culture of democracy" and even from a new "culture of the market economy". The culture of peace is difficult to build also because at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century the need for education was replaced by the need for entertainment, because entertainment brings money, not education. Mass murders, genocide, rapes, the destruction of cultural monuments of humanity are breaking news, not humanitarian actions. If this reality does not change, the children now raised and educated in the spirit of violence will migrate, even without ideological or religious motivations, to those spaces that have become a kind of "reservations", where "human hunting", "torture and killing people" is allowed, encouraged, praised and popularized. The "dealers of violent images" are just as responsible as the "arms sellers" because their motivation is the same: profit, money. I would like to thank the organizers of this event for bringing us together here today to discuss the sustainable future of children from several perspectives: economic, social, legal, philosophical, cultural and educational. All of us present today come from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, with the goal of the common good, uniting our experiences and perspectives, despite the differences that separate us. This is the path to which Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, religions of peace and love, urges us to take. It's been a dream for too long. Maybe a new generation will make it a reality", outlined President Constantinescu in his speech at this summit.


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