Dear ASPnet Community,
Dear National Coordinators,
Dear principals, teachers, students and parents,
COVID-19 is forcing our societies to take extraordinary measures in closing schools and restricting our daily lives. The UNESCO Associated Schools Network and all its members are going to face challenging times during the closure of schools around the world. Over 10,000 schools out of 12,000 ASPnet members are closed in 140 countries as of March 24 due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
But as a global network we are
For this reason, we are launching the ASPnet Newsletter "CONNECT", to keep connected with each other, to inform and share your messages of solidarity, resources and experiences, and to provide support.
With best wishes for you and your family,
The ASPnet International Coordination team
These are difficult times for all of us. We are dealing with challenges of learning and living together in circumstances beyond our control.
We, the ASPnet coordination team, want to let you know that we are in this together, want to assure you of our commitment to be with you all, to support you, and to stay in touch with you to make it through this and come out the other side stronger, more connected.
We want to achieve this through pro-active solidarity, support and cooperation for the whole of the network. Each of us can play a role towards this goal.
For this reason, we are launching the ASPnet Solidarity Newsletter, to keep connected to inform and share resources, experiences, to provide support.
In these times, solidarity is a fundamental value, not only to learning but also to living together well. We will put together newsletter issues every week/two weeks, providing you with updates, information and learning resources. As important as information is the sharing of ideas, experiences among all of us to benefit from as a learning community.
Your feedback and contributions are essential to this. For this reason, we want to feature messages of solidarity, your experiences and creative solutions to the challenges facing us.
My name is
Julie Saito, I am the new chief of ASPnet and in charge of the International Coordination. I am very honoured to take this position to coordinate over 12,000 schools in over 180 countries around the world.
Although we are actually part of the Education Sector of UNESCO, our tasks go beyond that. At the moment, we are focusing on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Global Citizenship Education (GCED), and Intercultural Dialogue.
Working on these themes include, connecting with the other UNESCO sectors, e.g. the sectors of Culture, Science, including the sectors for Human and Social Sciences, as well as that for Natural Sciences, and, finally, the sector for Communication and Information, along other partners outside of UNESCO.
We can initiate many projects together, for instance on topics such as Artificial Intelligence, gender, migration or even art education and, currently especially on solidarity and international cooperation and understanding.
We have a lot of opportunities to work together and I appreciate your inputs, interests and feedback on everything that we try to develop with you.
Watch the video
Julie Saito is a Chief and in charge of the International Coordination Team of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) in the Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development at UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris.
She joined UNESCO in 2007 as attaché de Press for the Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and worked as programme specialist of Education for Sustainable Development to mobilize and empower youth leaders from 2012 until the current post.
Ms. Saito initiated the UNESCO Kizuna Campaign in 2011 in collaboration with ASPnet to collect more than 20,000 message cards from the school children of over 60 countries, which were delivered to encourage the children affected by the Tsunami in Japan.
After giving up dream to become a choreographer and pianist in her 20s, she received her M.S. in Journalism from the Columbia School of Journalism in New York, USA to start her 20-year journalistic career as Television coordinator for Nippon Television in New York and NBC News in Tokyo, which brought her an Emmy Award in 1986 as Associate Producer of KNBC's production "Ring of Fire," a series of stories on earthquake preparedness in Japan.
She also worked for Japanese daily, Asahi Shimbun, as staff writer for 16 years. Ms. Saito was born in Tokyo and has lived many years abroad: Bangkok, Nairobi, New York, Lyon (France), and currently in Paris. She is a mother of three grown-up children and her hobby remains playing the piano.
What is UNESCO doing?
Learn about UNESCO´s "Educational response to COVID-19":UNESCO is providing
Examples of Further Resources:
Messages of Solidarity from UNESCO Associated members
SenegalGood evening, dear member of ASPnet,
M.Amadou Mactar Diagne,Supervising teacher,at an ASPnet school
Rawdat El Fayhaa Secondary School, ASPnet Chemistry teacher and coordinator (French section)
Video from Irbid Secondary School -
Jordan ASPnet School, Malaak Basheer Alzoubi, 1st Secondary class, 17 years old
Mongolia"If everyone in the world is healthy, then we can collectively work towards the common good. At this time of great risk, we need to be resilient, self-disciplined, responsible and caring for others. There is much potential for learning and growth if we follow the precautionary measures and foster mutual respect to overcome this force majeure. The lost time can be recovered; we just need a little patience. Every person should strive for the betterment of the whole world.During this time of quarantine, I am reminiscing all the good times I had with my colleagues and wishing them all the best. I am researching the "TV Lessons" and all other recommendations to improve my risk management skills and I believe good times are just around the corner."Ms Erdenechimeg P, Social worker, School No.31, Member of ASPnet
HungaryBerkes Bálint, 17, years old - Szent László Gimnázium, Budapest
We encourage you to send us your contributions, in words, pictures, videos, art works to build and strengthen our network, encourage and take care of each other.
We would also like to hear from you about your experiences and innovative ways to learn, out of schools and within your families. Please send your contributions to
As this is the first issue of the new Newsletter, it is still a work in progress, but since we wanted to urgently connect with all of you, we are sending it out in this simple format!
We wish you all much strength and resilience and please know that you are not alone, but part of a community and network of solidarity!
ASPnet Newsletter “Solidarity for Resilience” - Issue 1, March 22, 2020 in PDF