On April 13, 2020, the International Institute on Peace Education and Global Campaign for Peace Education hosted a zoom webinar on “Peace Education and the Pandemic: Global Perspectives.” More than 550 people from 72 different countries registered for the event, which was also live-streamed on Facebook. A dozen acclaimed peace educators from around the world shared unique perspectives on the systemic violence and injustices COVID-19 has revealed and how they are using peace education to respond to these and other critical issues (a list of the speakers, their bios, and topics can be found below).
The webinar explored two broad agendas. First, it presented an opportunity to hear how peace educators around the world are responding in the moment. How are peace educators facilitating the much-needed learning required for self-care, resilience, and adaptation to a changing reality? How are we adapting pedagogically to online learning spaces such as zoom (and what new social injustices have these rapid transitions revealed related to educational inequity)? How are we keeping safe physical distance while maintaining social connections? How are we navigating the trauma, anxiety, and fear caused by a pandemic that exposes our somatic vulnerability, as well as the vulnerability of our social, political and economic systems?
The webinar also presented an opportunity to collectively rethink urgent future agendas for peace education. This global pandemic has brought into sharp focus many of the concerns, possibilities, and challenges that peace education has been pursuing for decades. Presenters shared critical perspectives and developed clear connections between COVID-19 and “other pandemics” including war, poverty, patriarchy, and nationalism. All presenters explored the role of peace education in addressing these issues. Most importantly, most addressed how peace education might prepare citizens with the knowledge, capacities, and skills to envision, design, a build preferred social, political, and economic systems.
Watch the video of the webinar below:
- Tony Jenkins – (host – USA/Global Citizen)
“Peace education and the pandemic”
Tony Jenkins, PhD is the Managing Director of the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) and Coordinator of the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE). He is also a full-time Lecturer in the Program on Justice and Peace Studies at Georgetown University.
- Werner Wintersteiner (Austria)
“Corona shows us the state of our world: globalization without global solidarity?”
Werner Wintersteiner, Ph. D., is a retired Professor of German Didactics of Klagenfurt University, Austria. From 2005 to 2016, he was the founding director of the Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education. He remains a member of the steering committee of the University Master Programme on “Global Citizenship Education.” His main research interest is developing the cultural dimensions of peace research, including literature and the arts, cultural studies in general, as well as peace education and global citizenship education. A special focus of his work is the transnational border situation in the so-called Alps-Adriatic region, the triangle between Austria, Italy, and Slovenia.
- Anita Yudkin (Puerto Rico)
“How this pandemia makes evident and worsens human rights situations, especially strained by undemocratic policies and colonial status of Puerto Rico”
Anita Yudkin is Coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Peace, and Professor at the Educational Foundations Department, University of Puerto Rico. She is an educator who strives to promote critical and transformative pedagogies, children’s rights, human rights, and peace education. She works on teacher professional development, educational initiatives with NGOs, and participates in the UNESCO Chairs Network on Human Rights. She has published extensively and has been invited speaker in Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the United States. She holds Ph.D and M.A. degrees in Educational Psychology, and a B.A. in Education from the University of Michigan.
- Bernedette Muthien (S Africa)
“Intersectional human rights for peace education in post-Apartheid South Africa during COVID”
Bernedette Muthien is an activist, poet, and educator. Her life’s work has been directed toward increasing access to basic social institutions that have long excluded women, and in particular women of color, in South Africa. She is the co-founder and director of Engender, an NGO which works in the intersectional areas of genders & sexualities, human rights, justice & peace.
- Janet Gerson (USA)
“It takes a virus: the political implications of our interdependence”
Janet Gerson (Ed.D.), political theorist, peace educator; Education Director, International Institute on Peace Education; former Co-Director, Peace Education Center, Teachers College, Columbia University; 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, Human Dignity & Humiliation Studies; 2014 Peace & Justice Studies Association Award, Public Deliberation on Global Justice: The World Tribunal on Iraq. Forthcoming book: Reclaimative Post Conflict Justice: Democratizing Justice in the World Tribunal in Iraq, co-authored with Dale Snauwaert.
- Rosie Chawla (China)
“How this global epidemic has created opportunities to humanize and discuss equality, vulnerability, identity and peace in China.”
Rosie Chawla has a master degree in Conflict Resolution & Negotiations from Columbia University, a business post graduate certification from Wharton Business School and bachelor degree in Finance from Temple University. Currently, her role in China is of a Global Projects Advisor in which she develops educational projects on Peace and Conflict thru global issues for educators, youth and community.
- Colins Imoh (Nigeria)
“Educating for peace in a frightened world”
Dr Colins Imoh is the convener of the Nigeria Network and Campaign for Peace Education. He obtained his doctoral degree from the Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership at the University of Toledo. He is currently an Adjunct Faculty in the Division of Criminal Justice at the California State University, Sacramento. His area of interest is social action, nonviolent movement, multicultural movement, sustainable development, diversity, and peacebuilding.
- Gail Frances R. Galang, Ph.D. (Philippines)
“From Breakdown to Breakthrough: insights and practical tips on building resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic”
Dr. Gail R. Galang is the Associate Director of Center for Peace Education at Miriam College in the Philippines. Using her expertise in Psychology and Education, Dr. Galang has been among the Center for Peace Education’s most active partners in bringing forward the Center’s mission of cultivating a culture of peace within the school and the larger community. She is also the Chair of the Family Studies program. Her areas of specialization include Child and Adolescent Psychology and Family Psychology.
- Gloria Maria Abarca Obregón (Mexico)
“Self-care in community”
Dr. Gloria Maria Abarca is a Professor of the Peace Education Course in the Master´s Degree in Peace, Conflict and Development. UJI, Spain. She holds a Master and PhD in Peace, Conflict and Development. Her principle research area is Peace Education, with a focus on Holistic Peace. She has coordinated several international peace education projects, including: “A World Painted by Peace,” “Burbujas de Ilusión,” “RadioMiniatura,” “Creando puentes,” and others. She is a professor, consultant and workshop leader of peace education in Mexico, Paraguay, Colombia, Spain and Morocco.
- Amada Benavides (Colombia)
“Pandemics, social conflict and armed conflict: How does the current situation of pandemic affect the less favored populations?”
Amada Benavides is a Colombian teacher with a degree in education, postgraduate studies in social sciences and international relations. She has worked in all levels of formal education, from high schools to postgraduate faculties. Since 2003, Amada has been president of the Peace Schools Foundation, and since 2011 fully dedicated to promoting cultures of peace through peace education in Colombia in formal and non-formal contexts. From 2004 -2011, she was a Member of the United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries, Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. She is now working in post-conflict territories occupied by the FARC, supporting teachers and youth in the implementation of the peace agreements.
- Alicia Cabezudo (Argentina – Central/S. America)
“Peace Education as a transformative alternative for a better World for All”
Professor Alicia Cabezudo, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus at the School of Education – University of Rosario, Argentina and at the UNESCO CHAIR on Culture of Peace and Human Rights, University of Buenos Aires. She is a Think Tank Member and Consultant on Global Education and Citizenship Education of the North South Centre of the Council of Europe. She is the former Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau. Mrs Cabezudo teaches at Latin American Universities and Research Centres in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, México, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Perú and Bolivia. She is living now in Colombia following the Havana Peace Agreements Process from the education perspective and teaching at the Colombian Peace Universities Network.
- Kevin Kester (S. Korea / USA)
“Truth, Post-truth, and COVID-19: Some Educational Responses.”
Kevin Kester is Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of International Education and Global Affairs cross-appointed to the College of Education, Graduate School of Education, and School of Global Affairs at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea. He researches and teaches the sociology and politics of education and global affairs. His latest book is The United Nations and Higher Education: Peacebuilding, Social Justice and Global Cooperation for the 21st Century.