Peace Education: A Year in Review & Reflection (2021)

Dear Global Campaign for Peace Education members, friends, and supporters,

Thank you for being by our side in 2021. It has not been an easy year for any of us.  Being in community with our global network of peace educators has made navigating the multiple crises and the ongoing traumas exacerbated by the pandemic just a little bit easier. We are grateful to have had several opportunities to share, connect, learn, grow, and heal together.  And, coincidentally, along the way we’ve also accomplished a lot!   Looking back and reflecting on the accomplishments of 2021 gives me great hope in knowing that we can, together, rise up to confront threats to peace and build a more peaceful world together through education.

Below is a brief report of some of our collective efforts to advance peace education as well as an overview of some of the significant activities that the Global Campaign for Peace Education conducted or contributed to in 2021.

-Tony Jenkins, PhD
Coordinator, Global Campaign for Peace Education

Quick Stats: Growing Participation and Engagement

The GCPE community has grown bigger and stronger in 2021.  Nearly 200,000 people, from every country in the world, visited the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE) website this year.  That’s nearly double the number of visitors from 2020.   Thousands more interact with the GCPE via social media and other platforms.  We also sent more than 184,945 emails over the past 12 months!  Furthermore, the GCPE posted nearly 200 articles of peace education-related news, research, analysis, and events from approximately 50 countries in 2021.  (If news from your country isn’t included, we always welcome submissions via our online portal.) Our organizational & institutional coalition members now number 270, a significant growth from 2021 (if your organization isn’t already a member, please consider joining here).

Policy & Legislative Advancements

In November, the UNESCO General Conference officially approved a proposal to revise the 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (referred to as the 1974 Recommendation).  The Recommendation is an important tool for monitoring the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The revised Recommendation will reflect evolved understandings of education, as well as address new threats to peace, toward providing international standards for the promotion of peace through education. Tony Jenkins, Coordinator of the GCPE, is supporting the revision process by contributing to the development of a technical note that will be utilized as the basis of consultations with experts and Member State representatives.  Learn more about this significant effort here.

At the heart of the Global Campaign is our mission to build public awareness and political support for the introduction of peace education into all spheres of education, including non-formal education, in all schools throughout the world.  In 2021 we’ve witnessed several significant country-level policy efforts to strengthen, support, and institute peace education in schools, including efforts in Ethiopia, Malawi, the Philippines, Spain, South Sudan, and Uganda.  In addition, in August, the Japan Teachers Union (JTU), China’s National Committee of the Educational, Scientific, Cultural, Health and Sports Workers’ Union, and the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU) agreed on the importance of peace education as vital to international understanding and cooperation in a region of increasing tensions.

New Peace Education Resources Developed

The Peace Education Global Knowledge Clearinghouse.  Launched in early 2021, the Clearinghouse is a searchable database (with more than 2000 entries) of peace education curricula, news, research, reports, and analysis from around the world curated by the GCPE.  This is quickly becoming a go-to source for knowledge in peace education.

Mapping Peace Education. A global research initiative of the GCPE conducted in partnership with several leading organizations engaged in peace education research and practice, this dynamic online resource provides country-level documentation and analysis of peace education efforts around the world. The project was launched with a virtual forum on October 9, featuring a dialogue between Tony Jenkins, Coordinator of the Global Campaign, and Cecilia Barbieri, Chief of the UNESCO Section of Global Citizenship and Peace Education (you can view a video from the forum here). In addition to the creation of a new research tool, the project has helped to establish a vital new research coalition.

People of Peace Education.  A joint project of The Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR) and the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE), with the support of the Global Campaign, People of Peace Education is a publication and website that elevates the work of peace education to the general public by providing glimpses of the lives and work of peace educators from all around the world.  Modeled after the widely acclaimed Humans of New York project, the project features profiles exploring the motivations, challenges, successes, and insights of peace educators working in different contexts.

Corona Connections: Learning for a Renewed WorldSince the beginning of the pandemic, the Global Campaign has sought to approach the crisis as an opportunity to explore new forms of learning and to elicit visions and plans for a preferred world. With this vision in mind, we’ve curated a series of more than 40, mostly original articles offering analysis and learning in support of transformative responses to injustices revealed by the pandemic as well as the full range of threats to our planet.

In Memoriam

Our global community lost several pioneering educators, activists and advocates in 2021, amongst them: Abdul Aziz Said (USA/Syria), Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr (Mindanao, Philippines), Shulamith Koenig (USA), Phyllis Kotite (Lebanon/USA/France); bell hooks (USA), and Olga Vorkunova (Russia).

Monthly Highlights

Following are some of the highlight activities and efforts of the GCPE and its community of partners in 2021.

January

In January, Tony Jenkins, GCPE Coordinator, participated in the webinar “Peace education in formal schools: Why is it important and how can it be done?”  Organized by International Alert, the British Council, and the Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group, the event explored the findings of a new research report by the same name. The report discusses what peace education in schools looks like, its potential impact, and how it might be realized in practice. The report and recording of the event are available here.

February

The Global Campaign was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.  The nomination recognized the campaign as “the world’s most dynamic, influential, and far-reaching project in peace education, the sine qua non for disarmament and the abolition of war.” The GCPE was jointly recognized by three nominators: The Honorable Marilou McPhedran, Senator, Canada; Prof. Anita Yudkin, University of Puerto Rico; and Prof. Kozue Akibayashi, Doshisha University, Japan. While we didn’t win the prize, we see the nomination as a beacon of hope, providing acknowledgment of the tireless and courageous efforts of campaign members around the world who pursue the often invisible, transformative work of peace education.

A Path for Peacebuilding through Peace Education in Afghanistan. Tony Jenkins, GCPE Coordinator, moderated this special event hosted by Georgetown University’s MA in Conflict Resolution program.  The panel focused on the peacebuilding efforts that have taken place since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 2001 through peace education in forms of the formal education system, technology, and art. A recording of the webinar is available here.

Dialogue with Dr. Betty Reardon on Peace Education hosted by UNESCO APCEIU. The Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU), in partnership with the Korean Society of Education for International Understanding (KOSEIU), hosted a Dialogue with GCPE co-founder Dr. Betty Reardon on February 26. The forum was held on the occasion of the publication of the Korean version of Dr. Reardon’s book, Comprehensive Peace Education. A synopsis and video of the event can be found here.

April

In April 2021, the GCPE conducted a youth-focused survey to better understand awareness of and interest in peace and social justice education among high-school and college-age youth. The survey was conducted by the GCPE Youth Team, composed primarily of students in the Justice and Peace Studies Program at Georgetown University.  A report analyzing the survey findings will be published in early 2022. The GCPE intends to use the results of this survey to help shape future youth-oriented programming, resource development, and the possible creation of a youth network. The report is also intended to support educators and organizers in their own youth programming efforts.

May

When the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan was announced, the GCPE sprang to support an ongoing global effort to assure the human security of Afghan women, one of the most vulnerable populations impacted by the withdrawal. Leveraging UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security as a tool and norm of international law, a global coalition began lobbying US officials and the UN Security Council to help establish a ceasefire and to deploy peacekeepers to protect women. The GCPE promoted a number of petitions to support this effort and continues to encourage solidarity with Afghan women and educators impacted by the security void.  Learn more about Afghan solidarity efforts here.

Also in May, the GCPE participated in a conference organized by The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) and Quakers in Britain on the theme of “The Possibilities of Peace Education: Evidence and Opportunities.” The conference built upon “Peace Education: Making the Case,” a report published in 2020 by QCEA. The organizers produced a series of three videos to support the conference (1. Making the Case for Peace Education, 2. What needs to be done to make Peace Education a Priority? 3. What is Peace Education?).  You can watch these excellent videos here.

July

In July, the GCPE partnered with the International Institute on Peace Education (its sister initiative) in hosting the virtual learning event  IIPE Mexico PrepCom – Weaving Together Intercultural Peacelearning in a Pandemic Era.” The event explored the many challenges experienced by peace educators during the pandemic and how we’ve responded both personally and professionally.  The session also invited exploration of how we might build communities of care and solidarity necessary for healing from the multiple traumas induced by COVID-19. The event was conducted in preparation for IIPE Mexico (the International Institute on Peace Education that will take place in Mexico in the summer of 2022 – originally planned for 2021, but postponed due to the pandemic).  Learn more about IIPE Mexico here, where you can also watch a short summary video from the virtual event.

The GCPE also embarked upon a new partnership with the Center for Peace Education Manipur (India) to establish a campaign to plant more than 10,000 moringa trees in South East Asia and spread a vision of peace education.  Leban Serto, convenor of the campaign, has been a member of the GCPE since it was launched in 1999.  He dedicated the effort to the GCPE.  Given the success of this initial effort, a follow-up campaign was launched in October to plant Moringa trees and promote awareness of peace education in Africa.  The Shine Africa Campaign, coordinated by Mariana Price, includes plans for supporting the development of  Peace Education Centres in every country in Africa.

July was a busy month.  Our partners in Nigeria, The Centre for Social Transformation and Human Development (CHDST) in collaboration with the Nigeria Network and Campaign for Peace Education, established plans to organize the first Independent Talking Across Generations on Education (iTAGe) event in Africa. The focus on their dialogue, which took place in September, was on “Deepening a Culture of Peace and Democracy through Education.” Our partners in Colombia, Fundación Escuelas de Paz, also organized an iTAGe event focused on the role of education in promoting youth participation and a culture of peace in Colombia, as well as implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security.  The Talking Across Generations on Education (TAGe) initiative is an effort of UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP).

September

In September, the GCPE participated in the Peace Education Day Virtual Conference. One of the goals of the conference was to establish a United Nations Peace Education Day.

October

In October, the GCPE participated in the 2nd World Peace Congress of the International Peace Bureau.  The GCPE supported peace education-related programming and participated in a peace education panel session.  You can watch GCPE Coordinator Tony Jenkins’ recorded presentation here.

November

In November we released the 2021 edition of GCPE co-founder Betty Reardon’s seminal work Comprehensive Peace Education: Educating for Global Responsibility (2021 Edition).  The book is published by Peace Knowledge Press, a new publishing effort of the GCPE and International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE). All net proceeds from Peace Knowledge Press benefit the IIPE & GCPE.

The GCPE also participated in a special panel November virtual panel exploring Knowledge for a complex world: Rethinking the roles of peace research and peace education.” Organized by the Berghof Foundation and the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH), the event brought together peace education experts and peace researchers to dialogue on how both disciplines can find joint ways to cope with 21st century challenges. A video of the panel can be found here.

 

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