Teaching peace, building resilience: Assessing the Impact of Peace Education for Young Syrians

In October 2015, International Alert launched a project aimed at building an evidence base to demonstrate the role that peace education can play in addressing young Syrians’ needs and increasing their resilience in the face of violence, displacement and war; in particular their resilience to recruitment by armed groups. Evidence gathered through Alert’s work with Syrian civil society organisations in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey shows that the provision of psychosocial support, safe spaces, supportive and positive adult role models, and value-based lessons in non-violence, human rights and self-care helps young people to navigate and cope with the impact of war.

TWO GIRLS, BOTH AGED 12, TACKLE A MATHS QUESTION AT A TEMPORARY SCHOOL IN NORTHERN LEBANON, SET UP BY UNICEF AND LEBANESE NGO BEYOND ASSOCIATION WITH THE HELP OF UK AID. (PHOTO: FLICKR, RUSSELL WATKINS/DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT)

Working Toward Peace in Syria with Education

Education could be the most powerful change agent for a lasting peace in war-torn Syria. Of the 4.9 million Syrian refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), over half of them are children, and one of the most important things stripped from them in this conflict is their access to schooling. It is imperative to reverse this trend, as education is crucial not only for the wellbeing of individuals, but as a tool for peace as well. While the prospect of solving many aspects of the conflict in Syria may seem impossible in the near future, improving access to education is a tangible, positive change that is within grasp.