Education as a means to world peace : the case of the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation

Education as a means to world peace : the case of the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation

By Kaisa Savolainen

Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, 2010, 262 p. (Jyväskylä Studies in Education, Psychology and Social Research ISSN 0075-4625; 398)

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How do culturally, politically, and economically different actors together define education as it relates to peace, and what is the outcome when education is a normative instrument of UNESCO? This question is explored through the case of the UNESCO 1974 Recommendation on Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, with the aim of increasing understanding of UNESCO and of similar work more generally. The text of the recommendation is analysed discursively, and five repertoires (instruction, principled, factual, stand-taking, and adjusting) and a wider discourse (the rational) are identified. The international political processes that led to it and the related follow-up, analysed using discourse theory, reveal how different actors, Member States, the UNESCO Secretariat and experts played a role in the processes and how they sought to reconcile particular positions with universal principles. In bringing together peace and human rights and fundamental freedoms as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) generally to education, using educational approaches that were advanced for their time, the 1974 Recommendation was a major achievement during the Cold War. The human rights and peace approaches promoted by the UN contributed to these processes. An integrated approach in the 1995 Guidelines added democracy to the components of peace and human rights, and included sustainable development as part of a culture of peace. Monitoring the implementation of the 1974 Recommendation is still actively being pursued, and whether the peace component is fading away or re-emerging within UNESCO is a topic to be explored in the future.

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