Supporting Peace Education and Promoting Religious Tolerance in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria

A project of the Permanent Peace Movement in Lebanon.

Through this project, teachers and community leaders will learn about the importance of religious freedom, generate context-specific strategies that protect religious freedom, and be empowered to resolve current and future conflicts across religions and groups.

Long-standing tensions between Lebanese religious sects, along with the arrival of more than 1.14 million Syrian refugees has led to negative conceptions of the “other” that span generations, survive and evolve for decades, and incite acts of sectarian violence.

This project will engage 30 teachers and 60 community leaders and members in strategically-sequenced workshops that ultimately empower men and women to collaboratively generate strategies and accords of behavior for the mitigation and resolution of future conflicts in their communities. Promoting equal participation among women and men in community engagement and decision making is critical to the peace process in Lebanon. 

PPM will select 30 teachers in the North and Mount Lebanon governorates to participate in training workshops on non-violent conflict mitigation, key religious community tensions, and ways to facilitate a classroom environment that promotes religious tolerance.  A follow up workshop with selected teachers will allow them to exchange ideas, best practices, and lessons learned in relation to promoting religious tolerance in the classroom and utilize this information to produce a booklet that participating teachers can use throughout the year to encourage them to continue utilizing these identified strategies.

Focus groups in 2016 with participating teachers will allow teachers to reflect on their experiences using the strategies and identify what changes they observed and the most beneficial strategies.  

PPM will also develop a curriculum on religious conflict. The curriculum will be taught to 60 religious leaders and community members from the North governorate which has experienced an increase in interreligious conflict in the past six months. The curriculum will be taught to participants through a series of five workshops, with each workshop’s content building upon the previous one.  In the final workshop, participants from communities in conflict will come together to share strategies which promote religious tolerance and commit to using these strategies to resolve future disputes.

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