Honoring Dr. Betty Reardon’s Contributions to the Field of Peace Education:
The 2013 El Hibri Peace Education Prize
A Note from the Editors: Each month the GCPE newsletter features a lead article highlighting perspectives on peace education research, practice, and policy from peace educators from around the world to provde readers with multiple perspectives on our wide and rapidly developing field. We encourage you, the readers, to critically engage with these perspectives as you reflect upon your own work and practice. We also invite you to contact us with your comments and for the possibility of contributing articles for future issues.
On October 2, 2013 the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize was awarded to Dr. Betty A. Reardon. The Prize recognizes Betty’s lifetime of work developing and internationalizing the field of peace education, particularly via the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE), an ongoing initiative that she founded in 1982; and the Global Campaign for Peace Education, an effort she co-founded in 1999.
The editors of the Global Campaign for Peace Education newsletter are delighted to celebrate and share with you several resources related to the 2013 El-Hibri Peace Education Prize as this month’s featured introduction. We begin with an introductory excerpt from the nomination statement submitted by Cora Weiss.
(Except from the nomination statement submitted by Cora Weiss to the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize Selection Committee)
In our time there is no more urgently needed form of learning than that provided by the field of peace education. And there is no one who has done more to develop the field around the world than Dr Betty A. Reardon and no peace education initiative of higher reputation than the International Institute on Peace Education. A renowned educator and advocate for peace, Reardon has spent a lifetime dedicated to advancing peace and global citizenship education. Widely acknowledged as the catalyst of the contemporary international peace education movement, her work has inspired untold numbers of educational leaders, teachers, and students globally. She has contributed to the literature and pedagogical development of her field to such an extent that many view her as one of the most important and influential educators of our time. The fundamental principles that inform her work became integral to the International Institute on Peace Education, likely to be the seen in years to come as one of the most effective agents in the establishment of the field within and outside institutions of formal education.
As an educator and networker, Reardon’s contributions to the development of the substance and methodology of peace education have advanced educator networks, in-service and university programs, educational policy, and global citizenship education initiatives from the local to the global. Her comprehensive perspective on peace education integrates issues of human security, sustainable development, human rights, ecology, and gender. With over 50 years of international peace education experience it is no wonder that UN agencies, regional and local bodies have called upon her expertise.
In the decades after her decade as a classroom teacher and her 15 years of ground breaking work as the School Program Director of the Institute for World Order, based in New York City, she became the Founding Director of the Peace Education Center and the Peace Education Graduate Degree Concentration at Teachers College, Columbia University, Reardon also initiated the Global Campaign for Peace Education. She has taught at noted universities in several countries and has broad experience in education at all levels, including formal, non-formal, and grassroots. She currently serves as an advisor to the National Peace Academy, is dynamically involved in the work of the IIPE, and has remained active and in demand the world over, keynoting conferences, and advancing peace education through collaborations and consultancies at all levels.
Her books and articles have laid the theoretical and pedagogical foundations of comprehensive peace education, the holistic form of the field favored by many. Her long advocacy for the integral relationship between subject matter and teaching methodology arose from her own teaching experience. She has introduced many educators to the pedagogy of reflective inquiry, viewed as most relevant to the development of responsible citizenship in a global age. She has demonstrated in classroom discussions, public lectures and writings that sound theory and effective practice are integral one to the other. These qualities have come to characterize the substance and practice of peace education as an instrument for positive social change.
Through the course of her remarkable career, Reardon has won numerous accolades and awards, including a nomination for the Nobel Prize, among the 1000 Peace Women. Although largely unknown to the general public, Reardon’s work over the past 50 years has helped expand women’s rights, social justice, peace, human rights and global citizenship education and the peace movement in the US and internationally. Her life’s work has helped create opportunities for critical learning for untold numbers of educators and learners in ways that most aren’t even aware. These significant accomplishments represent a lifetime of work, dedication, and faith in humanity. She has brought the life of the mind to the world far beyond the ivory towers, opening peace education paths to equality and justice for all. Reardon exemplifies the meaning of public intellectual in the service of the common good and as a role model of conscience and commitment to justice for a new generation of visionary peace educators. Among all of her accomplishment she considers the International Institute on Peace Education to be the most significant. Over the 30 years since its founding, IIPE has become one of the most widely known and admired programs in the field, with a reputation of its own for innovation and dissemination that extends far beyond the foundation laid by Reardon.
Introduction of Betty Reardon for the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize – by Cora Weiss
Cora Weiss, President of the Hague Appeal for Peace, introduced Betty Reardon at the Prize Ceremony. Following is a snippet of her introduction:
“Question: What is a Jewish woman doing nominating an Episcopalian woman for a prize offered by a foundation inspired by Islamic and universal values? Answer: The right thing.
You will soon discover that Betty Reardon not only believes passionately in diversity, she believes passionately that peace education is the most sustainable way to achieve a culture of peace. Betty is convinced that students preparing to be teachers and people who are eager to prevent violence in their communities, should learn the methodology of peace education: participation, critical inquiry and reflection, and debate the substance of the issues necessary to achieve democracy and peace.”
Betty Reardon and Cora Weiss interviewed by Search for Common Ground News Service on the occasion of the awarding of the El Hibri Peace Education Prize. (video)
In this interview, conducted on the occasion of the El-Hiri Peace Education Prize Ceremony, Betty Reardon and Cora Weiss discuss the purposes and goals of the field of peace education, obstacles to peace, and practical possibilities for citizen engagement to confront violence.
“Multi-Faith Learning as Peace Education” by Betty A. Reardon
Following is a brief except of Betty Reardon’s acceptance remarks given at the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize Ceremony on October 2, 2013.
“I am deeply honored to be this year’s laureate of the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize and to be among a group of people who adhere to the goals and principles of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation: encouraging religious diversity; promoting interfaith collaboration; facilitating dialogue, understanding and tolerance. I am also honored by the presence of the El-Hibri family and grateful for the mission with which they have charged this foundation. I extend my most sincere thanks to the El-Hibri Foundation for taking up this mission at a time when it is so important to approach peace and tolerance from a faith basis; and to educate to resolve and transcend the obstacles to peace posed by the intolerance that presents itself as faithfulness to a religious creed.
Indeed, the three key components of the foundation’s mission have always been integral to my approach to peace education. So this prize has very special meaning to me both personally, professionally and potentially to the field that I have seen evolve and develop over nearly six decades. Personally, it is a validation of a core belief in the capacity of human beings to approach the problem of peace through learning that has informed all my years of learning and teaching in the field. Professionally, it recognizes that the forms of learning we have cultivated in the theory and practice of peace education as manifest in the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) are achieving their purposes and goals of promoting dialogue on best practices among participating peace educators and inspiring a common inquiry into the further development of the educating capacities of members of IIPE’s global network as they construct their own respective learning communities throughout the world. Potentially, it offers the possibility for the long overdue integration of faith, a significant factor in peacelearning and in peacemaking, into peace education as a subject to be studied in an open inquiry into its relationship to the complexities that comprise the substance of the field…”
“...Neither multi nor interfaith learning are religious instruction or ideological indoctrination, but teaching about faith as an essential part of the human experience, offering knowledge of others to enrich our own experience.
Press Release from the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation announcing Betty Reardon as the Recipient of the 2013 Prize
“On the cusp of the International Day of Peace, the El-Hibri Foundation announces that it will present its annual Peace Education Prize to the 2013 Laureate, Dr. Betty A. Reardon, at an invitation-only ceremony on October 2, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Reardon is a mentor to and educator of thousands of teachers and thought leaders in the field of peace education. As the author of hundreds of articles, books, curricula, teachers’ guides and volumes on alternatives to war and violence, she is one of the most widely cited peace educators in the world. Many recognize her as a founding figure in the field of peace studies. She has initiated and sustained key institutions, educational programs and networks of peace leaders around the world.”
Promoting the Field of Peace Education: El Hibri Prize Laureate’s Brunch Discussion
The El-Hibri Charitable Foundation hosted a Laureate’s Brunch on October 3, 2013. The session included more than a dozen experts in the field of peace education and staff of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation. The discussion focused on two main questions: 1) What is the state of the field of peace education in the US and internationally? And, 2) how do we know that peace education is making a difference? An informal discussion was also had on the impact of social media on the field.