Peace Education Training Manual for GPPAC (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict) Southeast Asia
By Loreta Castro
“To reach peace, teach peace.” Peace Education is an important pathway toward attaining a culture of peace and an important strategy toward preventing violent conflict. Hence, there is a need to educate the educators, both those in the formal school system and those serving in community-based education programs, about the fundamentals of peace education, to enable them to serve as change agents who can help transform mindsets, hearts and wills. Educators are at the heart of the learning process and have a crucial role in building a critical mass of people who will reject violence as a means of resolving conflicts and who will uphold values of respect for human dignity, justice, tolerance, interfaith and intercultural understanding and cooperation.
The main purpose of this training manual is to introduce the training participants (Ps) to the fundamentals of Peace Education- its basic knowledge base as well as the skills and values that need to be cultivated. Inasmuch as this is only an introductory manual, it will not be able to delve deeply on the various aspects related to the field. Rather, the thrust and specific objective of this manual would be to introduce the following:
- a holistic understanding of peace and violence,
- the essential purpose and key themes of peace education
- the attributes of a peace educator, and
- pointers for peace advocacy
In May 1999, a very important civil society conference, the Hague Appeal for Peace opened a crucial door to help us respond to the challenge of building a global culture of peace. Among the key initiatives of this conference is the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE) whose main goal is to facilitate the introduction of peace education in all educational institutions. The GCPE believes that “A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflicts and struggle for justice non-violently, live by international standards of human rights and equity, appreciate cultural diversity, respect the Earth and each other. Such learning can only be achieved with systematic education for peace.”
The urgency and necessity of peace education was also acknowledged by member states of UNESCO in 1974 and re-affirmed in UNESCO’s Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action in Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy in 1995. Both UNESCO and the Hague Appeal for Peace have argued that the coming generations deserve a radically different education, one that rejects violence in all its forms and one that educates for peace.
A significant development in 2005 was the launching of the Global Action Agenda by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). In the said agenda, Peace Education was recognized as a way “to generate a sustainable culture of peace… essential for questioning and weakening the sources of violence.”