Check out the latest issue of Building Peace, a publication of the Alliance for Peacebuilding.

Inside the Storytelling Revolution

Storytelling is on the rise. With the continued expansion of technology sharing stories has never been easier. In the latest issue of “Building Peace,” a publication of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, “Inside the Storytelling Revolution,” examines the countless ways we communicate with one another and the power that stories hold to inspire peace as well as war.

This issue looks at the processes of advocacy and advertising—both selling peace in their unique ways. It features the work of StoryCorps and how they are lifting up local voices to contribute to a more peaceful society. Stories also come from the Countering Violent Extremism and filmmaking communities as they explore the ways that narratives can rewrite history—and what it takes to reveal the truth.

This school in Manan Telkouk, Kasala is now powered by Solar cells one of CDF’s projects in education. This has improved the quality of life for both students and teachers. (Photo: Salahaldeen Nadir / World Bank)

Education builds peace

The recent conference on the role of education in building social cohesion and sustainable peace, co-hosted by UNICEF, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the World Bank, comes at a critical time. Almost 250 million children currently live in regions and countries affected by fragility and violent conflict.

UNICEF’s Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy initiative – Learning for Peace – was launched in 2012 to address these pressing concerns – and ask how can we use education and social services to contribute to peacebuilding, social cohesion and resilience? The program invested in research to address the significant gap in knowledge and evidence on the contribution of education to peacebuilding. Key results from the program were shared at the conference and generated exciting discussions on the different issues around education for peacebuilding – policies, teacher and youth agency, as well as gender, education inequality, and conflict prevention.

40 Billion Dollar Funding Gap for Education Development is No Big Deal For Economist Jeffry Sachs

In this video IENN sits down with Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs to talk economics, policy and education development. Sachs is no stranger to the skepticism surrounding the sustainable development goals. For Sachs these goals are about much more than being starry-eyed and hopeful, he believes with a grassroots approach, creativity, and maybe bit technology, all girls and boys can obtain a free quality primary and secondary education by 2030. And that 40-billion dollar funding gap? He says For a macroeconomist, is no big deal.

Bolivian children play outside their school. (Photo: David Stephenson / Flickr Creative Commons)

Child and Youth Agency in Peacebuilding: Conflict Prevention and Peace Education

Peace education and mediation training in schools should be seen as a resourceful conflict prevention tool rather than merely a post-conflict reconciliation measure. In March this year, a conjunction of international non-governmental organizations published a report on children and youth as successful promoters of peace in conflict ridden communities. The report relied upon case studies from Colombia, DRC and Nepal, and its authors concluded that the integration of children and youth in peacebuilding projects contributes to lowering the incidence of violence and discrimination in the communities studied.

Bushra Mohamed Ahmed Safi, 30 years old from Al Saleh (East Darfur) is a participant of the Youth Volunteers Rebuilding Darfur Project (YVRDP) in Nyala, South Darfur. The YVRDP is a joint initiative of UNDP and the Government of Sudan to establish a youth volunteers-led scheme to promote environmentally sustainable poverty reduction and private sector development in Darfur. The YVRDP is coordinated by UNDP and the Peace and Development Center at the Universities of El Fasher, Nyala and El Geneina. (Photo: UNAMID. Flickr / Creative Commons)

Youth and Sustainable Peace: Why Global Citizenship Education Matters

According to the 2015 Global Peace Index Report approximately 13,4% of the worlds GDP ($14.3 Trill) was lost to conflict in 2014. This is equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The cost of conflict has a heavy toll mostly on the youth particularly in the global south. This article by Moses Machipisa provides an analysis of why Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is critical in building sustainable peace and why youth are critical actors in this process.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry

Building peace from Colombian universities

“Peacebuilders” is a program that seeks the integral formation of 1,200 university students in Colombia, involved in the scholarship program “Dreams of Peace” of Bancolombia Foundation, in knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes conducive to building Cultures of Peace. The program is carried out by Escuelas de Paz (Schools of Peace) Foundation based on the six components proposed by UNESCO in the 2000 manifesto for a culture of peace and non-violence. It is also based upon six pillars raised by the methodology of education for peace, known as “The Flower for the Culture of Peace”.

Kirambo Teacher Training Center in Burera district in rural Rwanda, February 2016 (Photo: GPE/Alexandra Humme)

Voices on the role of education to build peace

At the recent conference on the role of education to build peace and social cohesion, Chantal Rigaud interviewed five participants representing five of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) partner countries (Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Rwanda and South Sudan) that are just out of conflict or still experiencing fragility due to past conflicts. They explain how they are using education to build more cohesive and peaceful societies.

On 11 March 2015 in Guinea, children attend class at the Mangalla school, in the town of GuÈckÈdou, GuÈckÈdou Prefecture. Because of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, schools across the country remained closed after the conclusion of the July-August 2014 holidays and finally reopened on 19 January 2015. UNICEF and partners have worked to help reduce, as much as possible, the risk of EVD transmission. Efforts have included training teachers to implement safety measures, such as daily temperature screenings, and supplying thermometers and handwashing kits for schools. (Photo: UNICEF/de Mun)

Why education in emergencies must be a priority for world leaders

While many of us wish things could be made better for the more than 2.8 million Syrian children currently out of school, we often fail to acknowledge that this number is a mere fraction of children bereft of education in emergencies all over the world. While conflict is a serious concern for education, it is not the only threat – just under a quarter of all emergencies are complex ones with multiple causes, nearly a fifth are natural disasters and the remainder are public health emergencies. In today’s world, in order to survive every child needs the basic necessity of education. Education is the medium that allows children to understand themselves and relate to the world around them by interacting with it in safe settings.

Students from the third grade have a group discussion during classes at Bairy Harin Mary Government Primary School, Bangladesh. (Photo: UNICEF / UNI155190 / Kiron)

Child Rights Education: Framing Your Pedagogy the UNICEF Way

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF works for the survival, protection, and development of children worldwide through advocacy, education, and fundraising for UNICEF’s work. Their Education Department contributes to that mission with TeachUNICEF global citizenship education resources, which are uniquely constructed to assure the dignity of children as rights-holders. Your pedagogy can also focus on this, as Daniel Sadowsky explains.

Peace and Tolerance through Education – A New Role for Universities

A paper by Prof. Dr. İbrahim Özdemir. Abstract: Today, we live in a world forged by instant communications and flow of information provided by satellites, media, and Internet on a scale undreamed of by our grandparents. The world economy, for example, functions as an inter-dependent entity. However, despite the advances in technology and mass communication, mass travel, the intermingling of races, and the ever-growing reduction of the mysteries of our world, a depressing fact of our time is that misunderstandings, prejudices, and stereotypes among members of different faiths, religions, and cultures still endure. Moreover, this misunderstanding causes regional and globalized major problems and tensions. Therefore, the need to engage in dialogue – with other cultures, people, and religions – is even more urgent than in the past if peaceful co-existence and dialogue are to prevail over confrontation and conflict. To respond to the challenges of the globalized world, new visions and mindsets are needed. This can be done by 21st century Universities.

U.S. Army Officer in Afghanistan 2006. (Photo: The U.S. Army / Flickr)

Speaking to High Schoolers About the Truth of War Helped Me Deal with My Trauma from Being a Soldier

Rory Fanning, a military veteran, speaks to high schoolers about the truth of war. If a teenager is going to sign up to kill and die for a cause or even the promise of a better life, then the least he or she should know is the good, the bad and the ugly about the job. Fanning also notes that in a world without a draft, JROTC’s school-to-military pipeline is a lifeline for Washington’s permanent war across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa. Its unending conflicts are only possible because kids like those he’s talked to in the few classrooms he’s visited continue to volunteer. The politicians and the school boards, time and again, claim their school systems are broke. No money for books, teacher’s salaries and pensions, healthy lunches. And yet, in 2015, the U.S. government spent $598 billion on the military, more than half of its total discretionary budget, and nearly 10 times what it spent on education.

According to the education secretary, the education and literacy department has also drafted a bill, which makes it mandatory for children in Sindh to get an education. (Photo: Ayesha Mir, Express Tribune)

Human rights added in Sindh textbooks (Pakistan)

To promote tolerance and harmony, the provincial education department has started developing a curriculum on fundamental human rights in the textbooks for up to Intermediate. The chapters highlighting human rights have been incorporated in the new textbooks for classes one to seven. These chapters have been included in the general knowledge textbook for classes two and three, and in the social studies textbook for classes four and five. The additions in the textbooks for classes eight to Intermediate in under way.

(Photo: Megan Pauly, Delaware Public Media)

Movement for a Culture of Peace hosts restorative practices forum

Wilmington’s Movement for a Culture of Peace hosted a community discussion focused on finding ways to deal with issues such as trauma that violent crime in the city is bringing into classrooms. Around 30 educators, activists and concerned community members participated in the event. Among them was Malik Muhammad, president of a restorative practices consulting group. In 2012, the state brought Muhammad’s organization in to hold four full-day workshops for around 145 education professionals. Since then, he’s worked with 16 of 19 Delaware school districts, tailoring workshops to their specific needs.

Angola State Secretary for Justice, Isabel Tomenta (Photo: Joaquina Bento)

Angola committed to working on human rights education

Isabel dos Santos Tormenta, the Secretary of State for Justice, speaking at the opening ceremony of a workshop on the United Nations role in harmonizing the implementation of human rights, noted that the event was meant to materialize cooperation between Angola and Norway in the teaching of human rights in Angola. The Justice and Human Rights Ministry recently signed a protocol of cooperation with the Embassy of Norway.

(Photo: Asian Development Bank CC BY-NC-ND)

Educating for Peace, Sustainable Development Goals and the ideal of Global Citizenship

Toh Swee-Hin of the University for Peace, Costa Rica, unpacks peace education in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the ideal of global citizenship. He suggests that given the multiple and complex realities of conflicts and peacelessness facing humanity and our planet, a holistic, multidimensional framework for peace education is necessary. In essence, the goals of peace education in such a holistic framework can be framed as two interrelated questions: 1) How can education contribute to a critical understanding of the root causes of conflicts, violence and peacelessness at the personal, interpersonal, community, national, regional and global levels? 2) How can education simultaneously cultivate values and attitudes that will encourage individual and social action for building more peaceful selves, families, communities, societies and ultimately a more peaceful world?

Advancing Transformative Human Rights Education

The Global Citizenship Commission, convened under the leadership of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to re-examine the spirit and role of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), has launched its landmark report “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the 21st Century: A Living Document in a Changing World.”

The Commission recognized the power of human rights education and its centrality to the achievement of the promises of the UDHR. As a result, the report has a 120-page Appendix entitled “Advancing Transformative Human Rights Education” that offers comprehensive analysis, case studies and insights.