War-torn Colombia is making peace class a thing (Colombia)
(Fusion.net) After 50 years of living war, Colombia is ready to learn about peace. President Juan Manuel Santos this week signed a new law requiring all Colombian schools and universities to include basic course requirements in peace education. The idea, according to the government, is to democratize the country’s peace process and make it more inclusive, following criticism about the handling of the two-and-a-half-year-old peace talks behind closed doors between the government and FARC guerrillas in Havana, Cuba. “We need to create scenarios of coexistence, harmony and fraternity in our schools and start this process with the youth, because they are the future of our country,” President Santos said. “Today we are making a great stride in building a peace that we all dream of; it’s a peace that’s not being negotiated in Havana, but one that has to be born within every Colombian as part of their daily lives.”
Welcome to Afghanistan’s Peace College (Afghanistan)
(ForeignPolicy.com) st year, amid Afghanistan’s continuing war, the Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education, a private, nonprofit university, conducted a survey of its students’ attitudes toward conflict and violence. The poll, which included 383 responses from a targeted pool of the school’s roughly 1,700 students, was telling: When asked what the students would do when confronted with violent actions or words, 58 percent said they would “take revenge.” And though the results may not be surprising — decades of war have arguably ingrained a belief in revenge — the reason administrators at Gawharshad were asking the question is. The school has developed a curriculum to try to teach the skills needed to lift the country out of years of violent conflict. For the students of Gawharshad, “Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution” has now become a mandatory two-credit course, stamped in May with the seal of approval from the Ministry of Higher Education. If education is meant to prepare students for the world they’re going to live in, the thinking goes, then young Afghan scholars might require something different than what undergrads in Europe or the United States need to meet the demands of daily life. Gawharshad isn’t the first school to institute a peace and conflict studies curriculum — there have been similar efforts at the elementary and high school levels — but it is the first to have earned an official signoff at the higher education level. And if it shows promise, it might become a model for more universities across the country.
The University for Peace, Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Costa Rica)
(Inter Press Service: Oliver Rizzi Carlson) You’ve probably never heard of it. Now that you know about it, 35 years from its creation, the University for Peace as we know it may disappear. The U.N., which picks unfit foster parents for the University’s Council, over the years has, through neglect and negligence, denied it its life-giving source: dialogue. Like an engineering school building crumbling under the weight of its own tectonic deficiencies, the University for Peace is dying of its own, festering conflicts. Things have degenerated to the point that one Council member this year ended up stepping on students staging a peaceful sit-in – in order to avoid dialogue. Having too heavily relied on its U.N. origin in the past, UPEACE has now been given an ultimatum by its wardens. It will either have to give its last breath to the U.N., or it may have to lose that august logo and start the slow, gradual path of real work to academic redemption. I think it’s a false choice; but I believe UPEACE would be much better off disowned and free rather than slave to a bureaucratic logic that is incompatible with the real, hard work of dialogue essential to innovation, peace, and education. After all, that is its Mission.
Muslim scholars teach peace to broken youth (Nigeria)
(The Africa Report: Desmond Kokim) Classrooms are springing up in the dirt fields of Maiduguri, Borno State, in northern Nigeria to teach Muslim children and youth, peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. The classes are meant to counter the message of violence promoted by Boko Haram, a Muslim sect whose insurgency has resulted in the death of thousands of Nigerians. According to reports, the school, al-Ilmu Nurul Hayat Islamiya, is now teaching a new State-sanctioned curriculum based on peace and tolerance in an effort to dilute the influence of Boko Haram. In the State-wide peace-building initiative, under the guidance of Jama'atu Nasril Islam, the umbrella organisation for Muslim groups in Nigeria, Muslim scholars have produced a peace-based curriculum to fight the Boko Haram influence at schools. The Jama'atu Nasril Islam campaign has set up a battle for the hearts and minds of the local youth, with Boko Haram on one end and community leaders on the other. Aljazeera News documented the dilapidated classrooms and the peace education going on in devastated communities of Maiduguri. "These are the stages of peace. I mean kindness, obedience to your brothers. Obedience to your elders," Ibrahim Abdullahi, a peace teacher points to writings on a chalkboard. Abdullahi scans the classroom before raising his voice to say: "We should know the importance of peace." Hundreds of Islamic schools across Maiduguri, are also teaching young Muslim children and youths, the dynamics of peace and peacebuilding. "If there is no peace, we won't survive. "My imam teaches us that peace is the way to live." Aliyu Mohammed, 24, who left home at the age of 12 to become an almajiri, told reporters.
Education for Peace: planning for curriculum reform. Guidelines for integrating an Education for Peace curriculum into Education Sector plan
(UNESCO) Promoting a culture of peace and non-violence through education is one of UNESCO’s core missions. However, with 50 per cent of the world’s out-of-school children living in conflict-affected countries, this remains a formidable challenge. There is indeed a need for increased attention to ensure education systems help build peaceful and sustainable societies. Integrating education for peace and conflict prevention across the entire education system is vital not only to support the post-2015 education agenda, but also to promote the right to education and holistic development of millions of children who are being denied access to education because of violent conflicts. Over the past two decades, different programmes in peace education and life skills have been implemented in post-conflict afflicted countries, with the objective to promote peace as an essential part of the recovery process. However, little consideration has been given to the integration of such programmes into national education systems by introducing constructive attitudes, skills and behaviours for living together in order to prevent future conflict. This Resource and Development Capacity Package was developed based on the belief that education can play a significant role in a country’s peace-building efforts. The purpose of this Resource Pack is to assist Member States in integrating or strengthening peace education programs in their national education systems to promote peace and prevent future conflict. UNESCO, IBE and IIEP developed this resource within the framework of UNESCO’s inter-sectoral “Project: Promoting a culture of peace and non-violence in Africa through education for peace and conflict prevention”.
South Sudanese Students Lead Effort to bring Peace Education to Schools (South Sudan)
(The Junubi Newspaper) A group of South Sudanese School Children has petitioned the Ministry of Education, Science, and technology to include peace building lessons in the country’s first-ever curricula which is yet under development. The group, Peace Club of Gudele West Primary school made this call during showcasing of the learning for Peace Initiative in Juba last week -where partner organizations came together to share some of the impacts and progress the learning for peace campaign, launched late year has brought. Peace Club leader, Mr. Ernest Awar said ‘ children in south Sudan have lived through all forms of violence, and it is the right time the education ministry incorporates peace building lessons into the curriculum to help up- bring a peace-making generation.’ “We want peace to be taught in schools so that children can learn about it right from childhood to show that children can learn to live and learn together,. We also encourage other children to join the peace clubs in their schools to enable them share the knowledge of peace building,” said 21 year old Ernest.
Nigerian Ambassadors for Peace Open Peace Education Center (Nigeria)
Thanks to the involvement of two Ambassadors for Peace, UPF-Nigeria has opened an Ambassadors for Peace Education Center in the city of Warri in Delta State. The Peace Education Center was started by two Ambassadors for Peace, Kingsley Edemi and Roland Ogbudu, who offered to pay one year’s rent for a three-bedroom flat for UPF-Nigeria to use for its programs. They made the donation because they believed this would bring the message of peace to the people of Delta State. As part of the opening of the Peace Education Center on April 18, 2015, UPF presented an introductory seminar on the UPF.
Training On New Peace Education Curriculum Starts in Rwanda
(allAfrica.com) The Ministry of Education has commenced training on peace education, one of the components of the newly launched schools curriculum. The trainees, teacher trainers, are being taken through the content and its objectives. The new curriculum, that covers pre-school, primary and secondary levels, integrated peace education as a cross-cutting course into all subjects, according to Rwanda Education Board (REB) officials. The training, which begun on Monday in Musanze District, aims at equipping trainers with a deeper understanding of content that was integrated in the revised curriculum under the facilitation of personnel from Aegis Trust. The new component will, however, not be taught as a stand-alone subject but rather incorporated into all subjects. The new education component is a brainchild of a peacebuilding education initiative, Rwanda Peace Education Programme (RPEP), aims at achieving sustainable peace by building social cohesion through the promotion of values such as critical thinking and empathy.
How Educators Can Respond to Charleston (USA)
(Medium.com: Dena Simmons) Allow your students space to reflect and act. Dare to be vulnerable. Teach empathy and love. Our young people are consuming narratives of violence everyday. Our young people of color are living it — through police brutality, microaggressions, poverty, gentrification, and systemic injustice. They are constantly on the verge of becoming Aiyanna Stanley-Jones or Trayvon Martin. White youth, however, are largely shielded from this violence. For the most part, they have the privilege to be ignorant, to walk freely in the world without the persecution of structural violence — making it difficult for them to empathize with the experiences of people of color. And without empathy, they could become the next Dylann Roof. For these reasons, it is imperative that we work to create opportunities for discourse about power, privilege, race, and injustice in our classrooms. We must transform our youth’s educational experiences to include these discussions as part of everyday learning, instead of discussions reserved for moments of catastrophe. Here are nine suggestions of what educators can do right now in our classrooms.
Peace Education Inspiration: Colman McCarthy (USA)
(Metta Center for Nonviolence: Stephanie Knox Cubbon) McCarthy spent his career as a journalist at the Washington Post, and had the opportunity to interview many global peace leaders, from Mother Teresa to Desmond Tutu. He would always ask their opinion about how they would increase peace and decrease violence in the world. He said the answer he received most consistently could be summarized as “you need to go to where the people are.” This gave him the idea to approach a local high school about teaching a course on peace studies, which he has been doing in schools and universities since 1982. His book I’d Rather Teach Peace, is a memoir on his teaching career and is a favorite among many peace educators.
How Allah and America Made Me a Peacebuilder (USA)
(Aquila Style: Mazida Khan) Why are Islam and America perceived as a ‘clash of civilizations’? How can Allah (God in Arabic) and America make someone a Peacebuilder? Is being a Muslim AND American even possible? Professor Khan explores these questions and more through her post 9/11 journey and the idea of a Muslim American Peacebuilding Model that can change how we tackle conflict and build peace across the world. Mazida Khan teaches Peace Studies at Kennesaw State University. She specializes in helping students transform their peace ideas from inspiration to action- in their everyday lives and the world around them. The peace education she offers emphasizes the need to think, speak and act for peace. In training people on how to engage in peacebuilding initiatives, her mottos are to ‘Think big, start small’ and ‘Before going global, to think and act local’. She believes in building world peace, one relationship at a time.
Combat home-grown terror by teaching peace (USA)
(Washington Examiner, Suraya Sadeed) There is a strategy that's succeeding in preventing radicalization, and it can be found in the most unlikely country — the place that launched Islamic extremism more than three decades ago, gave birth to the Taliban and became safe haven for Osama bin Laden: Afghanistan. For several years, my organization, Help the Afghan Children, has embarked on an audacious experiment: teaching Afghan youth to reject violence in all its forms and embrace the principles of peaceful daily living, resolving differences non-violently and demonstrating respect and tolerance for others. The results have been impressive. We've introduced peace education to more than 90,000 Afghan youth at 80 schools in seven diverse regions. I propose that we import some of the peace education practices that we teach Afghan children into American schools, especially in Muslim communities. For an hour a week, we could give these young people a potentially life-changing experience. Imagine these kids Skyping with young Muslims in Afghanistan who have rejected violence and can teach American youth that there is better way to live. We probably can't re-educate Americans who are already radicalized and committed to terror. But we have a real chance to prevent the radicalization of our next generation.
Pakistan minorities, educationists call for reform of education system (Pakistan)
(Business Standard) Pakistan's minority leaders and educationists today called for the reform of the country's education system, saying hate materials be removed from school curriculum to help counter extremism and promote peace in the society. Islamic Research Centre Director Allama Fakhrul Hassan Kararvi expressed concern over the increasing sectarian extremism in the country. He said the government has lost its writ in all provinces. "Still fear exists in the minds of children following Peshawar School carnage," Kararvi said. He said the government must ensure that the new syllabus include chapters about peace and harmony. Kararvi said this during a round table discussion on 'Education Reforms for a Pluralistic Society'. The discussion was organised by Rights of Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought Network in collaboration with Peace Education And Development Foundation here. "Therefore before (we) talk about academic textbooks reforms, it is more necessary to ensure security to all education institutes across the province," he said.
Japan's clandestine war crimes on display to reveal history, educate younger generation (Japan)
(Xinhua News) The Imperial Japanese Army used to secretly make weapons, such as balloon bombs and counterfeit money, during World War II in a laboratory in the central Kanagawa Prefecture. Those war crimes are recorded at the former army institute, now preserved as Meiji University's Noborito Peace Education Museum. "It is the only museum in Japan focusing on clandestine warfare, which is a part of war but is rarely a part of recorded history," Curator Akira Yamada told Xinhua.
2015 Global Peace Index Released
The 2015 Global Peace Index shows that the world is becoming increasingly divided with some countries enjoying unprecedented levels of peace and prosperity while others spiral further into violence and conflict. Since last year, 81 countries have become more peaceful, while 78 have deteriorated. The economic impact of violence reached a total of US$14.3 trillion or 13.4% of global GDP last year.
Course to empower and inspire children (India)
(The Hindu) The Gandhi Academy of Peace Education in the city is offering the National Level ‘Self Study Course – Open Book-Exam Competition’, which aims at empowering students to understand and undertake micro actions and inspiring them to become responsible citizens of the world. Divided into three levels, the topics will include education based on Vinoba Bhave’s ideals, Gandhian ideals and micro actions for peace. During the course of the classes, students will study innovative stories based on their day to day lives, which will help them deal with conflicts better. According to S.Kulandaisamy, secretary of Gandhi Academy, this course will enable students to evolve into an empowered person. The stories are centred on a 6-year-old boy, Swa, and the incidents in his life, which lead him to explore values of truth and love.
Peace is the Way: Peace Education Gains Momentum in Las Palmas (Spain)
(The Prem Rawat Foundation) Enthusiasm for the Peace Education Program (PEP) is continuing to grow in the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. An initiative of The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), the program helps participants discover innate tools for living, such as inner strength, choice, and hope. PEP was already offered on the island at a prison and a senior center, and several others are in the works. Inspired by the positive changes they were seeing in participants, local leaders also recently presented PEP to students and teachers in the city’s Healthy Habits and Responsible Consumption Municipal Program, which aims to encourage young people to think for themselves, deal with conflicts in constructive ways, and improve self-esteem.
Pope Francis supports peace education in schools (Vatican City)
(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Vatican Press Office Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis is an enthusiastic supporter of peace education in schools. Father Lombardi was speaking at a press conference in the Vatican on Tuesday held to speak about the “Factory of Peace” project that has been launched by leading educational, political and church figures to help schoolchildren realise the importance of peace and dialogue with others. The press conference comes just days before a scheduled meeting between Pope Francis and seven thousand children in the Vatican (on May 11th) to talk about the themes of peace, love, welcome and integration. Father Lombardi quoted Pope Francis’ words: “We will not change the world unless we change education” and said the Holy Father has reiterated the need to foster a “culture of encounter” which can then build a harmonious and peaceful world. Such an encounter is not “vague and abstract, but an invitation to genuinely meet real people in order to initiate a thorough exchange and therefore a common path to a better society.” Father Lombardi went on to stress that this message of encounter must be repeated over and over again, in order to address world problems such as conflict, hardship, exclusion and the plight of migrants and refugees. He said the Pope is convinced that many of these problems can be traced back to a culture of waste, which itself stems from a selfish attitude.
Unveiling the Mystery of Global Citizenship (Belgium)
(IDN-InDepthNews) While mystery shrouds the concept of ‘global citizenship’ for wide sections of the general public, a growing number of civil society organizations, enlightened governments and the United Nations are undertaking concerted efforts to lift the veil of enigma. “Global citizens can change the world,” proclaimed a group of non-governmental organizations during the European Development Days (EDD) in Brussels that hosts the European Commission, executive body of the 28-nation European Union (EU). CONCORD Europe’s DEEEP project, initiated by the Development Awareness Raising and Education Forum and co-funded by the EU, joined hands with CIVICUS, Global Education Network (GENE), the North-South Centre and the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) to stage a debate on global citizenship on June 4. The event sought to drive home that in a globalised and interdependent world, the promotion of global citizenship is essential for citizens to understand that their individual and collective actions have a global impact – and call upon them to engage in positive actions for their communities and the planet.
World Education Forum adopts Declaration on the Future of Education (South Korea)
(UNESCO) A transformative vision for education over the next 15 years has been adopted at the World Education Forum, which concluded today in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The Incheon Declaration was welcomed by the global education community, including government ministers from more than 100 countries, non-governmental organizations and youth groups. It encourages countries to provide inclusive, equitable, quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all. The Declaration will underpin the education targets in the Sustainable Development Goals that will be ratified at the United Nations in September. “This Declaration is a huge step forward,” stated the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova. “It reflects our determination to ensure that all children and young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to live in dignity, to reach their potential and contribute to their societies as responsible global citizens. It encourages governments to provide learning opportunities through life, so that people can continue to grow and develop. It affirms that education is the key to global peace and sustainable development.” The Incheon Declaration builds on the global Education for All (EFA) movement that was initiated in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and reiterated in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. EFA – and the Millennium Development Goal on Education – resulted in significant progress, but many of its targets, including universal access to primary education, remain unfulfilled. Currently, 58 million children remain out of school – most of them girls. In addition 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school. The Incheon Declaration must finish the ambitious EFA and MDG agendas. “If this generation of children is to someday reduce the inequalities and injustices that afflict the world today, we must give all our children a fair chance to learn. This must be our collective vision and commitment,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake.
Official Suggests Human Rights Education in School Curriculum (Angola)
(AllAfrica.com) The Secretary of State for Human Rights, António Bento Bembe, has suggested the inclusion of human rights in the country's education system curriculum. Speaking on the topic "Education for human rights culture" addressed to the public officials and members of civil society, Bento Bembe said that human rights is an issue closely linked to the welfare of the people. School is the ideal place as it has necessary conditions for great publicizing and education on these universal principles enshrined in the Angolan Constitution, he added.