(Reposted from: The Canadian Center of Science and Education. December 2020)
Basman-Mor, N. (2020). Saving peace education: The case of Israel. In Higher Education Studies; Vol. 11, No. 1.
By Nurit Basman-Mor
In the divided society of Israel, educators committed to the future and the well-being of young people should incorporate peace education in all the dimensions of doing and learning in the educational system. While the formal educational system does not have a peace education policy, throughout the country, many schools undertake diverse practices of peace education. However, these practices have neither succeeded in changing students’ attitudes and emotions about other groups members, nor have they succeeded in transforming conflictual relationships, between different social-ethnic-religious groups, into relationships of trust, understanding, and reciprocity. In this article, I review the accepted practices of peace education and suggest a potential explanation of the failure of these practices. The main purposes of the article are first to argue that many educators, who engage in peace education, aspire to cultivate tolerant, or even pluralistic relationships among the conflicting groups, while not engendering intercultural relationships that might ’endanger’ group identities. The second purpose is to suggest a possible solution, namely, to use humor. Using humor in peace education – in a way that is cognizant of the different cultural sensitivities – might lead to attentive dialogue among the groups and improve peace education’s effectiveness.