Over the past five decades, youth have played a central role in the numerous violent conflicts that have afflicted the African Great Lakes Region. The existence of deeply entrenched stereotypes based on ethnicity or nationality has been a key impediment for the prospects of peace. These stereotypes, marinated over the decades, have long been internalised by local communities and have regrettably been handed down to successive generations. We have a strong conviction that peace education offers the promise of nurturing a new generation of youth into vanguards of peace in the Great Lakes Region. It is on this premise that the ICGLR and Interpeace will bring together key stakeholders from the region to a Peace Education Summit in Nairobi on 3 – 4 March 2016.
Month: February 2016
As President Barack Obama struggles to resolve conflicts around the world, his younger half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng focuses on teaching young people how to live peacefully in their own communities. She is coming to California State University, Sacramento, to share her thoughts on building peace from the ground up.
Angolan minister of Youth and Sports Gonçalves Muandumba recommended engagement and responsibility of students in promoting peace, harmony, solidarity, civic attitude and patriotism. This was at the opening ceremony of the 14th Edition of the National Holiday Camping of University Students (Canfeu), running until 26th this month in south-west Namibe province.
From October 1-2, 2015 a National Encounter on Peace Education was held in Bogota, Colombia. The event was summoned by 40 government organizations in partnership with civil society and with international cooperation. More than 650 persons from 285 regions and institutions of the country participated. For the past several months, a working group of the organizing entities devoted themselves to realize the compilation of the valuable documents, testimonies and records made possible through the encounter. These outcomes are shared in the book “Thinking about peace education: Lessons from the National Encounter on Peace Education.”
Last month the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that as a consequence of the nuclear, climate change and other existenial threats to humanity, their Doomsday Clock must remain set a three minutes to midnight, the “closest to catastrophe since the early days of above-ground hydrogen bomb testing.” The Peace & Planet Network has adopted this statement of appreciation and response to the BAS announcement, which urges us to more deeply understand and respond to the systemic roots of these threats to human survival and to more deeply integrate our movements to challenge them.
The Syria conflict will soon enter its sixth year. It is time to think more long term, because a generation of young Syrians is in danger of being lost to despair, to violent extremism — the foundations for peace in the future will erode if this reality is neglected. Education is the best, long-term way to break the cycle of violence, to prevent violent extremism, and to set a society on the path to peace. It is a basic human right and a core pillar of sustainable development and peace.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence strives to help people from all walks of life to discover the power of nonviolence, and to understand how to use nonviolence safely and effectively. One of the educational resources they have developed to this effect is the Roadmap model, and the latest addition to the model is the Roadmap online course. This free online course is self-paced, so you can start anytime and go at your own pace.
On January 21, ICTJ and UNICEF held a special event to launch an important new report on the links between education and transitional justice. The launch was accompanied by a panel discussion moderated by ICTJ President David Tolbert. “While communicating an accurate picture of the past occurs in many ways, a fundamental element has to be through education,” said Tolbert. “How a past littered with human rights abuses is addressed in the curriculum is of clearly vital importance. Addressing the past is truly an intergenerational process, and education essential to that process.”
Armenia has been struggling with peace since the 1990’s, starting with the Karabakh conflict. The investment of “Women for Development” (WFD), an Armenia based NGO, in areas of peacebuilding is very practical and measurable. They are working in several directions and their first priority is the integration of peace and conflict resolution education into school curriculum. With this goal in mind, WFD NGO is implementing the “Peace and Conflict Resolution Education in Armenian Schools” project.
The revolutionary concept of free, nonsectarian public schools spread across America in the 19th century. By 1970, America had the world’s leading educational system, and until 1990 the gap between minority and white students, while clear, was narrowing. But educational gains in this country have plateaued since then, and the gap between white and minority students has proven stubbornly difficult to close, says Ronald Ferguson, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and faculty director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative. That gap extends along class lines as well. By eighth grade, Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. noted last year, only 44 percent of American students are proficient in reading and math. The proficiency of African-American students, many of them in underperforming schools, is even lower. “The position of U.S. black students is truly alarming,” wrote Fryer, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics, who used the OECD rankings as a metaphor for minority standing educationally. “If they were to be considered a country, they would rank just below Mexico in last place.” Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Dean James E. Ryan, a former public interest lawyer, says geography has immense power in determining educational opportunity in America. As a scholar, he has studied how policies and the law affect learning, and how conditions are often vastly unequal. His book “Five Miles Away, A World Apart” (2010) is a case study of the disparity of opportunity in two Richmond, Va., schools, one grimly urban and the other richly suburban. Geography, he says, mirrors achievement levels.