An innovative program in Iraq is fighting ISIL with peace education (Iraq)
(Quartz) Eight miles from the Dost High School in this 3,000-year-old town, Kurdish peshmerga continued to hold the line against the Islamic State forces that control Mosul, 20 miles to the south. Inside the school, 18 students considered a different approach to a crisis that has pushed Iraq toward its breaking point. These young Iraqis talked about the ideas and skills needed to build peace. ?I found this special, very interesting,?? Nawras, a skinny 17-year-old, tells Quartz, ?because we learned things we didn?t learn any time in our life. Peace is the most important thing in our life. Without it, we can?t have Muslims as our brothers.? Nawras acknowledged it was ?very strange? to be discussing how to build peace when his exclusively Christian community is so very close to territory that has been controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL) since August. But, he added, despite their tenuous security situation, he and his fellow students wanted more peace-oriented education.
What to do in Time of War? Teach PEACE (Pakistan)
(By Bushra Qadim Hyder, girlsspeakout.org) Bushra Qadim Hyder is the Executive Director of Qadims Lumiere School and Master Trainer in Peace and Conflict Transformation for PAIMAN TRUST. “Peshawar, Pakistan, is my city. If you try to imagine what it?s like there, peace is probably the last thing you?d think of. Peshawar, Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan, is one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world. It?s where, late last year, militants attacked the Army Public School, killing 150 children. It?s where, in recent years, 40,000 civilians and around 4,700 security personnel have died as a result of roadside bombs and drone attacks. It?s also where I run my own school for boys and girls. In this school, I have created a peace education curriculum ? the first of its kind in all of Pakistan. It?s a curriculum that has helped me cultivate my school as an enclave of tolerance . And it?s one I?m confident can scale across the country, and even around the world.”
The Peacemakers: Christians turn Moro rebels? kids into peaceniks (The Philippines)
(Inquirer.net) ?In a tough slum neighborhood at the edge of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, Christians are teaching the children of former Moro rebels how to get rid of the ?culture of war.? Urban legends abound that feed this outlook in the region that has resisted centuries-old foreign and domestic intrusions from Manila. The first victims of violence and vendettas are children, according to teachers at J. Marquez Elementary School of Peace. In 2006, the authorities in the school at Barangay Mother Poblacion decided to include in their academic syllabus practical lessons to help children deal with these problems. Currently enrolled in the school are 1,760 sons and daughters of rebel returnees who mainly reside in the barangay with a population of over 21,000. All the pupils are Muslim, except for the 11 children of the Christian teachers in the 45-strong faculty.
Don Advocates Peace Education in School Curriculum (Nigeria)
(AllAfrica.com) A professor of English Language at the University of Lagos, Akachi Ezeigbo, has advocated the introduction of peace education in the nation's school curriculum. Ezeigbo made the call at the third edition of a colloquium held at a resource centre in Awka in honour of the late poet and literary scholar, Prof. Ezenwa Ohaeto. The professor of English spoke on the topic: "Human Rights, Citizenship, Culture, Women Empowerment and Peace Education in Nigeria." She contended that peace education could come in handy in addressing the major challenges facing the country. "Peace education is the type of education that will raise awareness in the child about the issues of tolerance, humane feelings, working for peace rather than violence and strategising on issues of conflict resolution. It should be enshrined in the curriculum from primary to tertiary institutions. Apart from introducing it into the school system, it should also be encouraged and practiced at homes, in governance, markets and religious places and town unions," she said.
Building bridges in Bosnia - using storytelling to close the gap between theory and practice (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
(TransConflict.com) A recent peacebuilding conference in Israel discussed the role of culture and memory in peacebuilding. Storytelling is vital to explaining the past for future generations, and Sarajevans are using unique ways to remember the victims of the Bosnian war.
SEL programs are cost-effective (USA)
"The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning," authored by Clive Belfield, Brooks Bowden, Alli Klapp, Henry Levin, Robert Shand, and Sabine Zander, was released last month by the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.. According to the report’s summary, “The most important empirical finding is that each of the six interventions for improving SEL shows measurable benefits that exceed its costs, often by considerable amounts. There is a positive return on investments for all of these educational reforms on social and emotional learning. And the aggregate result also shows considerable benefits relative to costs, with an average benefit-cost ratio of about 11 to 1 among the six interventions. This means that, on average, for every dollar invested equally across the six SEL interventions, there is a return of eleven dollars, a substantial economic return.”
Peace educators working to stop gun violence among teens in Kentucky (USA)
(Wave 3 News) A fight among teenagers Monday led to gunfire in the Shawnee neighborhood. ?My heart goes out to the families of the young people I'm glad that they are still alive and what that says is that we need to get better at what we are doing,? said Peace Education Director Eileen Blanton. News like this is discouraging for Blanton and Janene Shakir, who also works with Peace Education. It's an organization that teaches conflict resolution in the classrooms of 88 different schools in Jefferson County. ?The children are not born violent, all the violent behaviors are learned behaviors from somewhere,? said Shakir. ?Many of our kids live in areas where it is not safe to not fight and so we want to create those islands of safety and respect where they can solve their conflicts without fighting,? said Blanton.
A Case for Academic Activism (USA)
(The Tattooed Professor - blog) I?'ve been on a pretty good tear through Critical Pedagogy literature lately, and one result has been some wrestling on my part with the issues of teaching, scholarship, and activism. In particular, I?'ve often been struck at what seems to be a tension? often implicit, sometimes explicit?, between ?scholarship? and ?teaching? at one pole, and ?activism? at the other. In my discipline of History, the message is often quite explicit. As Graduate Student Me was immersed in the review literature, the point was driven home time and again: there is no place in scholarship for activism. They diverge at the beginning, and never again the twain shall meet. I always imagined if they did, the result would be something like the Ghostbusters crossing the streams of their proton guns. ?That would be bad, right?? ?Yes. VERY BAD.?... Put simply, in Higher education, activism is our job description. We support a curriculum and teach in a discipline? or in several? because we are actively working to inculcate habits of mind, develop capacity for critical thought, shape a scholarly community, and give our students the intellectual tools to make a difference in the world. We write and speak and communicate as scholars in order to actively influence conversations in the public sphere, to shape discourse, to alter or refine or subvert dominant paradigms. We continually ask questions because the current answers aren'?t good enough. And we want our students to do the same. If we allow ?activism? to be defined narrowly, to be used as a cordon, to cudgel the nonconforming or new or marginal, then we have actually abandoned it in principle. We must be intellectually honest about what activism is and what it means. If we embrace the activist vision that is at the very core of what we do as teacher-scholars, we act out the very reasons higher education is essential to our society ?and we do so as we create places for all of our colleagues in that conversation. So say it loud, say it proud: Academia is activism.
Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system (Finland)
(The Independent) For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy.Which makes it all the more remarkable that Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation-State: scrapping traditional ?teaching by subject? in favor of ?teaching by topic?. ”This is going to be a big change in education in Finland that we?'re just beginning”,? said Liisa Pohjolainen, who is in charge of youth and adult education in Helsinki , the capital city at the forefront of the reform programme. More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union - which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography. There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned. Instead there will be a more collaborative approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems while improving their communication skills.
A Teachable Moment: How OU failed Transformation 101 (USA)
(Maria Dixon Hall, Patheos.com) Our students sit in a middling place that is as promising as it is dangerous. Sadly and often tragically, unlike high school, they find out that one bad night; one stupid decision; one wrong turn can lead to life-changing consequences. However, when done right and when at all possible (barring criminal behavior) the University and its professors can shine a hopeful light and offer an opportunity to begin again anew. Perhaps this is why the situation at OU [University of Oklahoma] saddens me so deeply. Because rather than confronting, challenging, AND teaching; a college community merely washed their hands and decided that their students were beyond redemption. While Bob Stoops and President Boren were making the heroic rounds as defenders of civility, in my humble opinion, they missed a wonderful opportunity to teach their students how to live, disagree, and unite as a civil community. They perpetuated our society?'s Hunger-Games philosophy of total annihilation – blame them, shame them and erase them. Here are four key teachable moments from the classroom of OU/SAE that I believe were missed.
UN Rights of the Child – Video
(Vimeo.com) Peace Education student trained and produced short film, based on the UN Rights of the Child Treaty.
Her Parents Burned Her Books, But She Went To School Anyway (Vietnam)
(Malala Fund Blog) In countries like Vietnam, where secondary education is not free, poor students like Tay Thi are at risk of cutting their education short because of tuition costs and school fees. Tay Thi was lucky that Room to Read, a nonprofit organization, was able to cover these costs - but many students in Vietnam are not so lucky. That's why Malala is calling on world leaders to ensure ALL children have access to 12 years of free, quality education.
Here's What People Think About Secondary Education (& Why It Should Be Free)
(Malala Fund Blog) Too many countries in the world still require students to pay tuition for secondary education, one of the most significant barriers to attending school. If we could get governments to provide free education to ALL students for 12 years, we can ensure that children reach their full potential - and grow into smart, capable and confident adults. We asked our supporters on Malala Fund's Facebook page to reflect on their time in secondary school. Were they required to pay tuition for secondary school in their own countries? Did they think going to secondary school was worthwhile? And from that experience, do they think secondary school should be free for ALL children? More than 400 people around the world - from Sweden to South Korea - answered. We collected some of our favorites to share with you. For many people, secondary school is a place to develop a child's personality and interests and expand their knowledge about the world - and is a right, not a privilege.
Meet the propagators of peace (India)
(The Hans India) Breaking out of competition and one-upmanship that has permeated every sphere of our lives, Play for Peace is an attempt to bring people together, heal rifts and build communities. Through creative games and fun-filled hours, we can rediscover the joy of playing together through carefully designed win-win games - that do not pit one against the other. These games under the name Play for Peace also build friendships/compassion, concentration, confidence and work as stress-busters. To effectively tackle and respond intelligently to violence Play for Peace was held at Our Sacred Space on Wednesday. The event noted the presence of the director Sarah Gough from the United States, Andres Armas from Guatemala, and Swati Bhatt and Agyatmitra, founder members of Peace Leadership And Young people (PLAY).
Central African Republic: A Nightmare for Children, a Nightmare for the Future (Central African Republic)
(Huffington Post) There is a devastating humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), a crisis now in its third year that has led to the internal displacement of nearly 450,000 people, and to the same number of people living as refugees in neighboring countries. Nearly 1.5 million children are out of school, rapidly losing any hope of rebuilding their lives and their country. Out-of-school children are at greater risk of violence, rape, recruitment into militias, and prostitution. The Global Partnership for Education approved new resources of $15.5 million last month to support the transitional plan, rebuild schools and provide educational materials. This is a great step forward, but by itself it will not be enough to provide safe schools and learning for millions of children.
Japan builds ?schools of peace' in N. Cotabato conflict-affected town (Philippines)
(allpinoynews.com) PIKIT, North Cotabato: The Japanese government will push its assistance to the interior villages of Pikit by constructing modern school buildings in conflict areas. Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, in a statement, said his government is determined to construct ?schools of peace? in Datu Bitol Mangansakan memorial High School and Mapagkaya Primary School with a total budget of Php2.5 million. The recent skirmishes involving rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) had displaced 1,982 families or 10,664 persona, more than 2,000 of whom were school children. Ishikawa and ICAN Philippines Country Director Yukiyo Nomura signed the grant contract for the project on Capacity Building Project on Peace Education and Conflict Resolution in Bangsamoro Communities of Mindanao at the Embassy of Japan on February 25, 2015.
The art of peace: Bosnia and Herzegovina
(Insight on Conflict) Civil war has left deep scars on society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This article explores the innovative work of local organizations using the arts to encourage reconciliation and forgiveness, and bring divided communities together. The arts can be an integral part of reconstruction after conflict The arts can be an integral part of reconstructing social infrastructure after conflict, offering emotional relief and facilitating the communication necessary for reconciliation. The arts create a neutral space for dialogue and exploration, addressing issues such as collective memory and victimization. Being able to see a story from a different perspective can be the catalyst that sets the process of forgiveness into motion; the feelings of loss and suffering bringing people together instead of setting them apart. The ability to exert control while using artistic mediums is important for victims lost in the chasm that warfare perpetuates. Something as simple as picking up a pencil and beginning to draw can bring relief from psychological suffering. Art can be a way to speak when a trauma is too terrible to express in words.
Dialogue is the only way for peace in Nagaland (India)
(Eastern Mirror) While addressing the Inaugural function of the evaluation of the Peace Channel activities of the past years Most. Rev. Dr. James Thoppil Bishop of Kohima Diocese said that dialogue is the only way forward for the sustainable peace in Nagaland. Rev. Fr. C.P.Anto, the Director of Peace Channel and the principal of NEISSR said that Peace Channel has been making some difference in the life of our children and youth by cultivating the culture of peace in their personal lives by regular inner peace exercises and capacity building programmes.
“Respira” (“Breathe”), a program to humanize the educational system in Colombia (in Spanish)
(El Tiempo) This practice seeks to improve learning, wellbeing and the relationships of professors and students. In educational settings, it is proven that if teachers breathe consciously they are better at their jobs, their students understand better what they are studying and everyone feels better with themselves and with others. These results are obtained through “mindfulness”, a practice that teaches one to be in the here and now, which helps one regain inner balance. (in Spanish)