The Blossom Hill Foundation Fellowship

This year the Blossom Hill Foundation is launching a fellowship program to fund social entrepreneurs with bold ideas for breaking the cycle of violence that so often plagues youth in the Middle East. With this initiative, we are excited to support a new generation of emerging leaders who want to implement innovative solutions within and/or for the advancement of their own war-affected communities. Our vision is for these solutions to be generated and spearheaded by those who understand the situation the best – the young women and men who understand the multi-generational impact of war and are committed to creating a bright future.

Ramesh Moon from the Henry Martin Institute, Hyderabad sharing a point on the concluding day of the 5-day workshop at the Don Bosco Center, Duncan Bosti, Dimapur. (Photo: Morung News)

5-day workshop on peace education, equality and empowerment (Dimapur, India)

“Peace is the absence of direct/personal violence and the presence of social justice.” This definition of peace by Johan Galtung was highlighted by Dr. Achan Mungleng, Independent Researcher, while discussing the core concepts of peace and the importance of peace education, during a workshop on Equality and Empowerment that was organized by Indigenous Women Forum North East India (IWFNEI), Naga Women Hoho and Naga Indigenous Women Association (NIWA) in collaboration with Henry Martyn Institute (HMI), Hyderabad, from March 22 to 26 at Don Bosco Center, Duncan Bosti, Dimapur.

Education for Peace Seminar at Somaiya (India)

Realizing the importance of peace, K. J. Somaiya Comprehensive College of Education, Training and Research in collaboration with Global Foundations organized a national seminar on Education for Peace this month. The guest of honour and keynote speaker was Dr. Subhash Chandra – Founder Trustee, Global Peace Foundation, New Delhi. He threw light on creating social awareness for global peace and religious harmony and developing global peace consciousness.

Report – Glimmers of Hope Peace: Education Around the Globe

We can aspire for a world defined by domination and conquest, superiority and oppression, or we can aspire for a world defined by dignity and respect, collaboration and solidarity. Educating for the latter, said Kevin Kumashiro, is a core purpose of School of Education at the University of San Francisco (USF), where he is dean. It also was the subject of “Glimmers of Hope: Peace Education Around the Globe,” a panel discussion co-sponsored on March 11 by USF and the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue. More than two hundred Bay Area students, educators, and community members attended. Read the report from this event.

When extremism stalks the students: Educational solutions to India’s conflict zones

Perhaps the most telling effect of violent extremism is the disruption of education, from primary to college level. A recent report released by the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace, entitled ‘India’s youth speak out about higher education’, consolidates the opinions of over 6,000 students from all over the country. Students from conflict affected regions frequently brought up early experiences that affected their ability to succeed in – or even get admitted to – college. These students said they had not been able to attend primary school for years at a time, leaving them unprepared for the rigors of higher education. This trend was borne out by our survey. Approximately 12.4% of survey respondents attributed their lack of enrollment in higher education to “social unrest at their native place”.

(Photo: DFID - UK DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT/FLICKR)

Why We Need Education for Global Citizenship

Today, education for global citizenship is a necessary tool for building a more peaceful world that ensures every person has a right to clean air, clean water, food, shelter, and other basic human rights. According to UNESCO global citizenship education “aims to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world.” But education alone will not dissolve hateful, ignorant, and oppressive individuals, institutions, and structures of power. Peace requires active engagement; it also requires commitments to reducing global inequities.

From May 30 to June 1, NGO leaders, technical experts, government and UN officials will come together to develop an action agenda focused on the theme: Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the 66th United Nations DPI/NGO conference this spring in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea.

Patrick Asuquo Effiwatt is the head boy at Township Primary school in Plateau State, Nigeria. He is also one of the student leaders in the school's Peace Club. (MCC Photo/Dave Klassen)

Peace education in photos (Mennonite Central Committee)

The Mennonite Central Committee’s Global Family education program supports nine projects that focus on peace education. Students learn about diversity, forgiveness and the skills they need to mediate conflicts between their peers. These programs are all located in places that have a history of violent conflict, and our local partners believe that the children who learn nonviolence have the potential to grow to be leaders of change. This article introduces several Global Family peace projects around the world in photos.

Students march against bad students – Trinidad & Tobago

Thousands of children of all ages marched to take a stand against crime and violence in schools. About 8,000 school children joined in what Minister of Education Anthony Garcia called a, ‘Walk for Peace’. “We are trying to promote a culture of peace in our classrooms,” said Minister Garcia, adding, “we are saying no to violence, no to bullying and no to crime!”

Applied Peace Education in Mexico

How can we empower people facing chronic violence to define and solve their own problems, rather than imposing solutions from abroad (which are almost certain to fail)? The Trans-Border Institute (TBI) at the University of San Diego believes that the most effective solutions to the most pressing problems of peace and justice in Mexico will come from the communities most affected. They understand the problems and potential solutions better than any outside analysis. But, they also need encouragement, training, and research infrastructure from unbiased sources, outside of their own political and social constraints, to realize their potential. To this end, TBI has developed certificate programs in Applied Peace Education, interactive educational and capacity building programs in the areas of Mexico hardest hit by the drug war and the dislocations of the border.

Representatives of the organizations participating in Pivot to Peace (Photo: provided)

Pivot to Peace aims to foster hope, reduce violence

(Louisville, KY) For young people who have been shot or stabbed, that key moment for change can occur while they are in the hospital, recovering from their injuries. This brief window of time — of vulnerability and rethinking their lives — is when an innovative new initiative called Pivot to Peace will offer the respect, skills and resources to strengthen participants, supporting them in a crucial pivot to a healthier, nonviolent way of life.

Lifting All Children Up – National Education Policy Center (NEPC)

What will it take to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn and to thrive, regardless of their background or which school they attend? Horace Mann famously positioned public education as the “balance wheel” of society: able to raise all people up regardless of their background and give them an equal opportunity to succeed. School-centric reforms start to flesh out what exactly we would need to do to see Mann’s vision come true. Systemic reforms offer solutions that cut closer to the true root of the problems so many children face, dispensing with the need for such a balance wheel. The reforms listed in this infographic are drawn from policy recommendations in an National Education Policy Center brief authored by Jennifer King Rice.

Little Friends for Peace seeks Associate Director

Founded in 1980, Little Friends for Peace (LFFP) is a nonprofit organization that empowers children and adults to solve problems nonviolently, build relationships through compassion and empathy, and create a culture of peace in the Washington DC area and beyond. The Associate Director will share strategic and operational responsibility for LFFP’s staff, programs, mission execution, and expansion and will develop deep knowledge of the peace education field.

The Brussels Bombings: What We Can Do

In the face of the attacks in Brussels and Mosul, the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the attacks before in Paris, and what seems to be a constant barrage of incidents of violence, terror and war in so many parts of the world, many of us often feel powerless – left wondering what we can do and whether it will ever end or change. Kai Frithjof Brand-Jacobsen, Director of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) at PATRIR suggests 10 actions we can do to overcome the terror and war we are seeing. Amongst his suggestions, for the immediate, medium and long-term: working to have peace education introduced as part of core curriculum into all of our schools and education systems world-wide.

NGO members planning their next engagement.

Atlantic Promise Graduate Field Exercise Emphasizes “Civ-Mil” and NGO Cooperation to Advance Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Outcomes

The annual Atlantic Promise field training exercise recently concluded in Fellsmere, Florida. Sponsored by the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., the event brought together 30 masters and PhD students studying conflict resolution and disaster assistance from George Mason University, Tulane University, Kennesaw State University, and Nova Southeastern University. Some 20 civilian and 15 military role players supported the exercise. It was held over March 10-13, 2016. The overall objective of the exercise was to provide graduate students with the opportunity to build skills and awareness needed for working in complex and fragile environments where violent conflict and natural disasters are in play. Working in teams, students responded to a myriad of challenges, including a cholera outbreak, an earthquake, and a civil war.

A peace education class for 16-year-old Syrian refugees run by International Alert's partners in Lebanon. (Image: International Alert)

Syria, Five Years On: Building Peace in the Midst of War

Can you really build peace in the middle of a war? It certainly seems at best a counter-intuitive, bad use of time and money. Or does it actually make a lot more sense than any other course of action? The author, Harriet Lamb of International Alert, visited NGOs working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon to do ‘peace education’, a project funded by the British government. Think of this as part citizenship classes for children whose citizenship has been blown to smithereens, part the fun of a Saturday drama class, part therapy for kids who have been through hell – and are still living it. It was a deeply touching experience.