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Georg Arnhold International Summer Conference: Decolonizing Peace Education

August 29 - September 2




In the spirit of positive peace, embracing diverse and generating new knowledge paradigms, connective relationships, participatory institutional processes, and equity-minded social structures have been deemed imperative for co-creating a sustainable future. This is often subsumed under the term “decolonization,” referring not only to overcoming the vestiges of physical geopolitical colonialism itself but also to other sociopolitical and cultural structures built around a white, Euro- or Americentric hegemony, including some academic research. In this light, this year’s conference inquires as to the particularities and conditions for a critical readdressing of the field of peace education in the context of decolonialization discourse. Significant points of departure have been identified, such as critical and creative education research, policy, and practices that include and embrace the voices, perspectives, worldviews, and ways of knowing of scholars from hitherto marginalized and/or excluded groups. Epistemologies from multiple cultures around the world can diversify and influence peace education research, policy, and practice toward equity and inclusion, as well as institutional processes that support equity and help to right historical injustices and harm.

Decolonizing peace education is part of a larger critical social theory project. Contemporary critical theory, through the lens of intersectionality, aims to describe, critique, and deconstruct power dynamics, systems, policies, and practices that impose or sustain barriers to access, meaningful participation, engagement, and freedom. Yet deconstructing system dynamics and how power, oppression, and privilege operate within those systems is only part of the critical theory project. For transformational change, critique – on individual, institutional, societal, structural, and systems levels – is only the first step and paves the way for ongoing action.

The concepts of structural and cultural violence (Galtung) are central to the debate on decolonizing peace education. These kinds of violence refer to the domination-based structures that still permeate educational research, policy, practice, and learning processes, often referred to as colonial power dynamics. The conference seeks to problematize knowledge production and ways of knowing that have emerged from such structures. Alongside the physical violence inherent in militarized domination and economic dependence, for instance, education systems in particular were/are used as means of coercive assimilation through ideological imposition and cultural assimilation practices. Ongoing and continued resistance to such forces of colonized education is manifest in cultural survival, resistance, and language revitalization, to name but a few.
Decolonizing peace education research, policy, and practice can be conceived of via Bryan Brayboy’s concept of “right relations”: the centering of scholarship from marginalized and/or excluded groups, and the questioning and destabilizing of other power and dominance dynamics.

We invite abstracts that explore these aspects, if relevant including and not limited to the following subthemes, taking into account the author’s own positionality and a decolonizing of “self”:

  • Critiquing colonial power dynamics in education policy, peace pedagogy and educational practice, drawing on critical peace education and critical pedagogy of place;
  • Deconstructing whiteness, Eurocentrism, and Amero-centrism in peace education theory, research, and practice, and embracing knowledge systems and practices of hitherto marginalized and/or excluded groups;
  • Decolonizing peace research methodologies and their assumptions and foundations (epistemology, ontology, axiology, teleology);
  • Intersectionality in peace education research, policy, and practice;
  • Decolonizing knowledge production and dissemination, perhaps including a critique of top-down structures emerging from many international organizations; similarly considering critical human rights education, and/or alternatives to UN/internationalist paradigms;
  • Sustainability and sustainable peace leadership;
  • Understandings of peace and violence in conflict societies´
  • Practical examples of non-Eurocentric epistemologies and pedagogies, and how they differ from what are labelled Euro-or Americentric;
  • The issues involved in replacing secular ethics with localized/indigenous religious or folk beliefs about morality in peace education, or justifications for violence;
  • Links to other relevant critical education fields, such as critical terrorism studies;
  • And finally, critiquing the decolonization thesis itself – which pitfalls and ironies present themselves?

Applicants are requested to explain how their proposal addresses the theme of the Summer Conference as outlined above.

Workshop – The IRC Incubator

Part of the Summer Conference is a workshop organized and facilitated by the Airbel Impact Lab, which is the research and innovation arm of the International Rescue Committee (IRC). During the workshop, conference participants will use design methods and mindsets to think through practical ways of improving the impact of their work and/or increasing its application.
Following the summer conference, up to 5 individuals will be selected to undertake fellowships with the IRC. These individuals will work closely with IRC staff to undertake work which furthers both the IRC’s and the fellows’ interests.
All attendees of the Summer Conference will be welcome to join the incubator and will be eligible for selection to participate in this fellowship with the IRC.


The Summer Conference primarily welcomes applications from academic experts, post-doctoral scholars and doctoral candidates from the humanities and social sciences, particularly education, history, political sciences, sociology, law, anthropology, and psychology. Practitioners working for international organizations and NGOs in the relevant fields are also welcome to apply. Applications from students enrolled in a master’s program and recent graduates with a master’s degree will be considered in exceptional cases.

Submit your application via the online application form at our website.

The deadline for completed applications is April 23, 2022. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of May.
The working language of the Summer Conference will be English. Due to the current circumstances this year’s conference will take place online entirely.

The GEI plans to publish the proceedings of the Summer Conference and will ask participants and experts to submit articles for publication based on their presentations.


Katharina Baier
Coordinator of the Georg Arnhold Program
Education for Sustainable Peace
Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute
Freisestr. 1, D-38118 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 (0)531 59099-226
E-mail: summerconference[at]gei.de
Website: www.leibniz-gei.de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgEckertInstitut
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Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute (GEI), Braunschweig, Germany
Freisestr. 1
Braunschweig, Lower Saxony D-38118 Germany
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+49 (0)531 59099-226
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