- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2002

PARIS In her inaugural foray into the substance of international diplomacy, first lady Laura Bush turned her teaching experience to the problem of terrorism and young Palestinian suicide bombers, telling a Paris audience yesterday that education can transform hate to hope.

"Every parent, every teacher, every leader has a responsibility to condemn the terrible tragedy of children blowing themselves up to kill others," Mrs. Bush told a forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The former schoolteacher and librarian called for children across the globe to be taught respect and tolerance.

"A lasting victory in the war against terror depends on educating the world's children because educated children are much more likely to embrace the values that defeat terror," Mrs. Bush said.

"Education can help children see beyond the world of hate and hopelessness," Mrs. Bush said in her 25-minute address to representatives from OECD's 30 member countries.

"First and foremost, we must teach all the world's children to respect human life their own life, and the lives of others. With education comes greater self-respect and respect for others. With education comes greater understanding and tolerance."

Several of the September 11 suicide hijackers were university educated, including ringleader Mohamed Atta, who studied for eight years at the Technical University in Hamburg, Germany.

In an interview, Mrs. Bush was at a loss to reconcile Atta's example with her thesis that education can be a tool to wipe out hopelessness and poverty, which she called the root causes of terrorism.

"I don't think you can explain one individual's reason for being a terrorist," she told White House reporters traveling with her. "But I think, in general, if citizens are educated in countries around the world, that will help us fight terrorism."


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