“The Armor of Light”: a Catalyst for Peacelearning

Betty Reardon reviews Abigail Disney’s newest documentary “The Armor of Light.” Brilliantly executed, ethically instructive and politically relevant, the film is an important contribution to the current societal conversation debating the American gun culture, its daily shootings, and the growing conflation of weapons with personal and family security that characterize it. The regularity of gun deaths that takes lives of all ages and races, but disproportionately of young black men makes the persistence of racism imbedded in our social order readily evident. Less noted, brought to public attention only in sensational cases or crimes that bring the active attention of feminists and women’s rights activists, are the multiple incidents of domestic violence escalating beyond physical abuse to murder, when the abuser is in possession of a firearm. Children bringing loaded guns to school or dying by accidental shootings, usually in their own homes is more frequently reported. Easy access to guns also increases the possibility that death or serious injury in the commission of crimes that might not otherwise have had lethal consequences.

Clearly the prevalence of handguns and private possession of assault weapons poses a problem of such proportions as to be a subject of significant attention on the teaching agendas of all peace educators. Disney’s film is a powerful pedagogic tool for addressing this agenda item. It vividly illustrates the dire national need to confront the problem of weapons in American society and documents the struggle to fulfill that need by three individuals of diverse backgrounds who share strongly held beliefs in the value of human life.

(Photo: MYLAPORE Times)

Peace education course; orientation for Chennai Corporation school teachers held

Gandhi Peace Foundation has evolved pedagogy on Peace Education based on Gandhian Values for school children. This is being implemented in schools run by the Chennai Corporation with the help of teachers and college students. A one-day orientation for this project was held on June 22 for 30 teachers from thirty Chennai High & Higher Secondary Schools.

The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2015 was $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This figure represents 13.3 per cent of the world’s economic activity (gross world product) or $1,876 for every person in the world.

2016 Global Peace Index Records a Historically Less Peaceful and More Unequal World

The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows the world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade. Results also show a growing global inequality in peace, with the most peaceful countries continuing to improve while the least peaceful are falling into greater violence and conflict.

Civilians flee south from renewed fighting in Abyei.

The Future of Peace: How the Business of Peace is changing the Culture of Conflict

How can peace be understood as something just as thrilling, as daring, as engaging, as the struggle to deny our darkest paths? That is the future of peace. It is peace as more than a goal. It is peace taking its turn in the circle of hard marketing sells. Steve Killela initiated the first Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2006 in part to display the better business of peace critical to the 21st century.

The fountain in the center of the The Cornerstone of peace memorial in Okinawa Heiwakinen Memorial Park. (Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas)

Memorial day in Okinawa about more than just reliving the past

When 23-year-old Shun Kuninaka attended elementary school in his native Okinawa Prefecture, “peace education” was a turnoff. Children were forced to listen to accounts of the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, and what they heard was gruesome and disturbing.

As a student at the University of the Ryukyus, Kuninaka became involved in peace education. But he also felt the futility of his undertaking. “What is the best way to get students to learn from history?” Kuninaka asked himself. This eventually led to the foundation of a student venture business that he called “Gachiyun.” The name is a combination of two Okinawan expressions: “gachi” for “serious” and “yuntaku” for “conversation.”

(Photo: ©CDNH and UNESCO)

Teachers lead the way towards Peace in their Classrooms and Communities in Rakhine State (Myanmar)

Yangon: The Ministry of Education in Myanmar and UNESCO are jointly implementing the “Education for Peace and Development in Northern Rakhine State” project through funding support from the Belgium government. Teachers, principals and education officers from have been trained in life skills for peace and conflict transformation. This reaffirms the commitment of the Ministry of Education to promote peace education as a means for fostering mutual respect for cultural diversity at a school level.

A peace march through Balboa Park, San Diego, California, 2003 to protest the Iraq War seven days before it began. (Photo: Patty Mooney, Crystal Pyramid Productions)

The Need for a Conclave of Associations and Groups in Our Field

Professionals doing very similar peace work but participating in different groups are typically not connected and the lack of linkages or even communication between various organizations and their members present complications and roadblocks to advancing important social and policy change. In an era of limited funding coupled with the difficultly of finding time to participate in professional associations, would not the entire field benefit from knowing more about each other’s work, and thereby, find commonality that could advance practice, research, education, and policy outcomes?

Video: Betty Reardon & Anwarul Chowdhury in conversation about Daisaku Ikeda’s “Speech that Changed the World”

On June 13, 2016 Dr. Betty Reardon and Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury engaged in conversation at Soka University of America in celebration of Daisaku Ikeda’s “Speech that Changed the World.” The speech, given at Teachers College, Columbia University 20 years ago, was entitled “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship,” and it was through this speech that Ikeda presented a message of hope that is relevant to our current times, rife with divisive rhetoric. The vision of education that Ikeda outlined in his speech has inspired many change makers around the world.

The University of Seychelles

Seychelles set to become hub for peace studies

The University of Seychelles has announced that it is considering setting up an international centre for peace studies and diplomacy with the expert guidance and experience of Seychelles’ founding President Sir James Mancham. The University of Seychelles (UniSey) has said this is an ambitious and timely project that will add to the reputation of Seychelles as a peaceful nation making a further contribution to global society.

Two Anthologies of Betty Reardon’s Work: A Pioneer in Peace Education and Gender

Betty A. Reardon is a world-renowned leader in the fields of peace education and human rights; her pioneering work has laid the foundation for a new cross-disciplinary integration of peace education and international human rights from a gender-conscious, global perspective. These two anthologies, published by Springer, provide an essential introduction and historical overview to the fields of peace education and gender and peace.

A peace-building event organized by RPEP. (photo RPEP Facebook)

3-year peace education program concludes (Rwanda)

After three years of building sustainable peace in communities across the country, the Rwanda Peace Education Program (RPEP) is coming to a close. RPEP has reached more than 50,000 people from more than 20 districts across Rwanda promoting positive values including social cohesion, pluralism and personal responsibility, empathy, critical thinking and action to build a more peaceful society.

UN peacekeepers from Niger stand at attention at the Niger Battalion Base in Ansongo, in eastern Mali. (Photo: UN)

Promoting a Culture of Peace through Education: UNESCO Celebrates UN Peacekeeping Day in Dakar

To further promote a culture of peace and joint initiatives between UN agencies in support of this programme, UNESCO shared its vision, its framework of action and its activities on education for a culture of peace during the celebrations of the UN peacekeeping day with a debate on “peace through education and culture” at the United Nations Information Center in Dakar on Friday, 27 May, 2016.

Peace Education for Violence Prevention in Fragile African Societies: What’s Going to Make a Difference?

Book editors Maphosa and Keasley have engaged a collection of scholar practitioners to address the query ‘What’s Going to Make a Difference in contemporary Peace Education around Africa?’ The contributing authors draw from daily headlines as well as African literature to unearth twenty-first century quandaries with which educators in formal and informal contexts are called upon to grapple.

Global Database on Violence against Women

In December 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a comprehensive resolution calling for intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and requesting the Secretary-General to establish a coordinated database on the extent, nature and consequences of all forms of violence against women, and on the impact and effectiveness of policies and programmes for eliminating such violence. The database was developed and launched in 2009, and was called the “UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women”. In 2016, in accordance with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Women updated and redesigned the database and relaunched it as the “Global Database on Violence against Women”. UN Women serves as the secretariat for the database.