Give peace (education) a chance (United Kingdom)

Under the UK’s “Prevent” policy, nurseries, schools and universities are treated as places where the growth of radical extremism may be undermined. Educators are expected to instil “British values” in their students while also being on the lookout for signs of extremist behaviour or attitudes, which they are required to report. By contrast, when working in other parts of the world, the UK government encourages a different approach – peace education.

BETWEEN THE LINES, 8/15/12

Peace Elitism

How can we consider peace so that all Americans recognize that their welfare and prosperity are tied to it? How can peace be democratized in a way that people of all economic, ethnic, and social backgrounds can embrace its aims? Why must peace be something that West Coast Prius owners embrace, but West Virginia coal miners do not? Peace has an elitism problem.

115 adults and youth of all races, from many faiths and diverse neighborhoods, sat face-to-face to begin a communication renaissance and create a culture of connection.

Who are They, Anyway? Finally meeting the strangers in our own land

Libby and Len Traubman, founders of the Beyond War Movement of the 1980s, are inviting people from their community to participate in an open process of respectful communication, beginning with a new quality of listening to one another, to everyone. “We’re confident that this local public action to know the ‘other’ will give voices to the unheard and dignify everyone, especially the listeners.”

Education – a pathway to deradicalisation (Pakistan)

Dr Musarat Amin calls for compulsory peace education at levels 8-9-10 in public schools as students of these age groups are more prone to extremist ideologies. That peace education should be a combination of Islamic as well as Western literature that promotes tolerance, peaceful co-existence and harmony amongst different segments of the society.

(Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Flickr.com)

In a Time of Islamophobia, Teach With Complexity

When teaching about the Middle East and North Africa, U.S. teachers are often confronted with a dearth of accurate and nuanced material about the history, politics and people of the region. This crisis of critical awareness mainly materializes through two recurring narratives that circulate in mainstream media, political discourse and popular culture: “Islam as anti-Western” and conflict fueled by “ancient hatreds.” These narratives work in tandem to produce a one-dimensional conception of the MENA, which, in turn, fuels the rising Islamophobia in U.S. schools and society.

Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson shared a meal and sparklers with more than a dozen young people this Fourth of July. (Photo: AOKDC.org)

The Power of a Dinner Table

David Brooks, in a recent NY Times Op Ed, shares a powerful model of non-formal community/family-based peace education.
Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson have a son named Santi, who went to Washington, D.C., public schools. Santi had a friend who sometimes went to school hungry. So Santi invited him to occasionally eat and sleep at his house. That friend had a friend and that friend had a friend, and now when you go to dinner at Kathy and David’s house on Thursday night there might be 15 to 20 teenagers crammed around the table. The kids who show up at Kathy and David’s have endured the ordeals of modern poverty: homelessness, hunger, abuse, sexual assault. Almost all have seen death firsthand — to a sibling, friend or parent.

(Image: Nidal El-Khairy)

As a Teacher and a Daughter: The Impact of Islamophobia

As educators, we know that our words carry a powerful weight. Although we can’t control how the media portrays Muslim people, we can encourage students to think critically about the messages that they receive from the media. We must also protect our students from classroom debates where they are singled out and feel like they have to defend their faith. One way to mitigate the impact of Islamophobia is to teach our students about it. We need to expose and critique the myths being constructed about Islam all around them in the media, in public discourse, and even in their classrooms.

A peace-building response to the rise of ‘Trumpism’

In this OpEd, Cheryl Duckworth suggests we must mainstream peace education in every American student’s classroom to teach them to resolve conflict without violence, to respect multiple historical narratives of conflicts past, to be able to identify scapegoating and to value human rights. Global citizenship education, a sister of peace education, strengthens a nation by ensuring its youth have intercultural skills and global awareness.

Schools as Agents Cultivating the Culture of Peace in Students (Indonesia)

As a diverse and heterogeneous country, building peace throughout Indonesia is not easy. Head of Research and Development Agency (Balitbang) Kemdikbud, Totok Suprayitno said, education is not to educate a child to be smart, but also to cultivate character. Basically, the character of diversity already exists in each child and needs only to be nurtured. In school, added Totok, the role of teachers is the key; because teachers do not merely teach knowledge. Their actions/ gestures and behavior would also become the model for the students.

EDUCATION for Peace in Africa

(Ethiopia) Ensuring equitable access in education is key in addressing the root causes of conflict and instability in the world and particularly in Africa. It has been often said that education is a powerful contributor towards building peace as it creates a crucial link between humanitarian and long-term developments in a bid to develop the right conditions for social cohesion and community resilience. Member states of the African Union are now turning their attention to inclusive, equitable and innovative education , advocacy programs, peace-building, policies and programs in an effort to advance sustainable peace and development across the continent.

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.”

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?