I didn't realise until today how highly UNESCO values Philosophy - far higher than many other academic disciplines. A report of the recent World Philosophy Day (that apparently lasted 3 days) in The Chronicle of Higher Education 'When Thinking Is a Dissident Act' (thanks to AL Daily for the link) quotes from two UNESCO-sponsored reports:
"by training free, reflective minds capable of resisting various forms of propaganda, fanaticism, exclusion and intolerance, philosophical education contributes to peace," (1995)
and a 2007 report emphasises
"the role of philosophy as a rampart against the double danger represented by obscurantism and extremism."
It is hard to believe that all philosophy teaching and research achieves this. In fact philosophy 'research' (and the teaching it leads to) in most UK universities has hardly been a rampart against obscurantism since much of it has been written in a scarcely intelligible professional jargon simply to meet the requirements of the Research Assessment Exercise (read Simon Blackburn's views on the RAE).
Yet the best Philosophy teaching changes people's lives. We philosophy teachers should never lose sight of the ideals expressed in the statements above.