The United States Institute of Peace developed several civic education programs for Iraq and Sudan. This report describes those programs and discusses challenges civic education programs face in postconflict environments and their potential solutions.
Despite the 1998 Good Friday accords encouraging the creation of schools integrating the two communities, more than 20 years on from the ceasefire agreement that brought a fragile peace to Northern Ireland (NI), at least 90% of children still attend schools segregated on religious lines, according to recent official data.
Proponents of Critical Peace Education seek to empower individuals, to enable voices and boost the participation and agency of the marginalized. They promote taking the other’s perspective and recognizing other historical narratives as important requirements to develop students’ critical consciousness, to enable them to explore contradictions in their social, political and economic realm, and prepare them to act against such contradictions.
In recent years, it has become common practice within post-conflict countries to introduce peace education or human rights courses into the school curricula. Unfortunately teachers in post-conflict situations may carry deep psychological scars and prejudices. Unless they are given the necessary support to deal with these issues they are unlikely to be effective in implementing a peace education course.
Negotiations between the state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the possibility of signing an agreement – and, thus, of opening a post-conflict era – have made many of us in Colombia dream of a new country. To accomplish this dream, much hope has often been placed in education. But when it comes to proposing a clear path for education in the post-conflict era, more questions than answer arise. How can education contribute to the negotiated settlement of the conflict and to achieving a stable and lasting peace in Colombia?