Peace Education Quotes & Memes

Welcome to our Directory of Quotes & Memes!

This directory is an edited collection of annotated quotes of perspectives on theory, practice, policy and pedagogy in peace education. The directory is designed as a general bibliographic resource as well as a tool for use in teacher training in peace education. Each quote is complemented by an artistic meme that we encourage you to download and spread via social media.

Do you have an inspiring and meaningful quote you'd like to see included? We invite and encourage you to submit quotes to help us expand our directory.

Submit your quotes using our online form here.

What's a meme?

What is a meme? In today’s world the meme has emerged as a powerful tool of expression to spread ideas (in the form of photos or videos) virally over social media. However, the meme is not a new concept. It was first introduced by Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene” (1976). While the gene is understood as the basic unit of biological evolution, the meme is the primary unit of sociocultural evolution. In sociocultural evolutionary terms we examine the contribution of social and cultural artifacts to change. Thus, social learning can be understood as the cultural analogue of genetic transmission.

So why all this fuss about memes? We believe education needs to evolve for the possibilities of peace and planetary survival. Peace education provides a critical, theoretical and pedagogical roadmap for that revolution. Unfortunately, the key concepts of peace education are not circulated among the mainstream. We encourage you to help us in this evolutionary effort by spreading these memes far and wide.

This directory is a project in partnership with Peace Master students at the Universitat Jaime I.


To access the full, annotated entry (and to download the meme) click on the author name or image.

Displaying 31 - 60 of 89

Author(s): Paulo Freire

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“If we think of education as an act of knowing, then reading has to do with knowing. The act of reading cannot be explained as merely reading words since every act of reading words implies a previous reading of the world and a subsequent rereading of the world. There is a permanent movement back and forth between "reading" reality and reading words - the spoken word too is our reading of the world. We can go further, however, and say that reading the word is not only preceded by reading the world, but also by a certain form of writing it or rewriting it. In other words, of transforming it by means of conscious practical action. For me, this dynamic movement is central to literacy.“

Author(s): Paulo Freire

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"I always say to the students with whom I work, 'Reading is not walking on the words; it's grasping the soul of them.'"

Author(s): Paulo Freire

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“The basis for critical reading in young children is their curiosity. Once again, teaching kids to read and write should be an artistic event. Instead, many teachers transform these experiences into a technical event, into something without emotions, without invention, without creativity - but with repetition. Many teachers work bureaucratically when they should work artistically. Teaching kids how to read words in the world is something which cannot really be put inside of a program. Normally, kids live imaginatively vis-a-vis reality, but they can feel guilty if they read this way within a technical, bureaucratic reading program and eventually can give up their imaginative, critical reading for a behavioristic process.”

Author(s): Paulo Freire

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"In problem-posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation."

Author(s): Paulo Freire

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"La concienciación implica una constante clarificación de lo que permanece oculto en el interior nuestro mientras circulamos por el mundo, aunque no estemos necesariamente percibiendo el mundo como objeto de nuestra percepción crítica."

English translation: "Conscientization thus implies a constant clarification of what remains hidden within us while we move about the world, though we are not necessarily regarding the world as the object of our critical reflection."

Author(s): Johan Galtung

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“Any educational form should be evaluated in terms of its structure and the following questions should always be asked: Does it permit feedback? Does it bring people together in a joint endeavor rather than keeping them apart? Does it permit general participation, and is the total form of education capable of self-generated change? In short, is there dialogue that engages learners, rather than simply a message conveyed in educational settings?”

Author(s): Johan Galtung

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“Traditional teaching of peace studies has been that of peaceful men -- Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, St. Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King Jr. being some of the prime examples -- often with a heavy emphasis on their beliefs and attitudes rather than their action and behavior. This approach tends to focus on actors rather than structures, and is unacceptable from the point of view of peace studies, which would argue for including both.”

Author(s): Mahatma Gandhi

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"If we are to teach real peace in the world... we shall have to begin with children.”

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"A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems; have the skills to resolve conflict constructively; know and live by international standards of human rights, gender and racial equality; appreciate cultural diversity; and respect the integrity of the Earth. Such learning can not be achieved without intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace."

Author(s): Maxine Greene

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"For me, the child is a veritable image of becoming, of possibility, poised to reach towards what is not yet, towards a growing that cannot be predetermined or prescribed. I see her and I fill the space with others like her, risking, straining, wanting to find out, to ask their own questions, to experience a world that is shared.”

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Critical peace education (CPE) seeks to disrupt asymmetrical power relationships and unpack their political, economic, social and historical roots.

Author(s): David Hicks

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“A futures perspective is crucial to effective teaching and learning in peace education. By enabling learners to think more critically and creatively about the forces that create probable and preferable futures, they are able to engage in more purposeful and focused action for change.”

Author(s): bell hooks

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“We were simply trying to change the way we went about our everyday lives so that our values and habits of being would reflect our commitment to freedom.”

Author(s): bell hooks

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The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.

Author(s): bell hooks

To be truly visionary we have to root our imagination in our concrete reality while simultaneously imagining possibilities beyond that reality.

Author(s): bell hooks

I entered the classroom with the conviction that it was crucial for me and every other student to be an active participant, not a passive consumer...education as the practice of freedom.... education that connects the will to know with the will to become. Learning is a place where paradise can be created.

Author(s): bell hooks

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My hope emerges from those places of struggle where I witness individuals positively transforming their lives and the world around them. Educating is a vocation rooted in hopefulness. As teachers we believe that learning is possible, that nothing can keep an open mind from seeking after knowledge and finding a way to know.

Author(s): bell hooks

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All of us in the academy and in the culture as a whole are called to renew our minds if we are to transform educational institutions-and society-so that the way we live, teach, and work can reflect our joy in cultural diversity, our passion for justice, and our love of freedom.

Author(s): bell hooks

To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.

Author(s): bell hooks

For people like me, what is important and vital is to keep that education for critical consciousness around intersectionalities, so that people are able to not focus on one thing and blame one group, but be able to look holistically at the way intersectionality informs all of us: whiteness, gender, sexual preferences, etc. Only then can we have a realistic handle on the political and cultural world we live within.

Author(s): Janet Hudgins

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"We have never learned how to share the planet or to protect it from ourselves, and we must. We teach war—an anomaly—and its boot camp complete with propaganda and screaming sergeants, but nothing to mitigate the culture of conflict as a solution. Surely, in this and many other ages of enlightenment, a grown up society would have taught peace, because of the desperate need and because we could and should."

Author(s): Daisaku Ikeda

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"Education must cultivate the wisdom to reject and resist violence in all its forms. It must foster people who intuitively understand and know--in their minds, in their hearts, with their entire being--the irreplaceable value of human beings and the natural world. I believe such education embodies the timeless struggle of human civilization to create an unerring path to peace."

Author(s): Tony Jenkins

Ultimately, personal and social transformation – a range of which is sought through peace studies – is a radical endeavor. Transformation requires a complete reorientation of self and society; as such transformation is not achieved by simply exchanging old parts with new. Transformation, as outlined here, is pursued through critical, reflective inquiry and requires an inclusive-holistic understanding of the relationship of knowledge, learning, and action. This orientation may seem to extend a superhuman standard to the expected learning outcomes of a student of peace studies: to be rooted in a Meta consciousness while simultaneously engaged in the micro details of peacebuilding work. To be in all places at once means one is never fully present in the moment. A more human goal is the development of reflective, critical, and transformative praxis. Such a praxis establishes a bridge between the false divides of the inner and the outer, the principled and the strategic, and helps the peacebuilder/peacelearner to see, imagine and construct the whole.

Author(s): Tony Jenkins

Students trained in a hierarchal knowledge paradigm are tacitly aware that any response they provide to an inquiry from an academic authority is a reflection on their self as rooted in their experience of the world. If the authority responds in the negative, it can be invalidating of existence and can turn-off a student’s desire to learn.

Author(s): Tony Jenkins

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Political agency is generated internally. We take external action upon those things that we hold dear and meaningful. Justice and peace, learned as abstract concepts and goals, will not be acted upon. Peacelearning pedagogy is pursued through inquiry that connects abstract concepts to the learner’s experience of the world.

Author(s): Tony Jenkins

Finally, transformative peace pedagogy, as liberating praxis, is not possible without action. Without action, peace education is merely an intellectual and speculative exercise. The true substance of peace education is the subjective reality of the learner and their pursuit of authentic peace and freedom. Thus action, and reflection on that action, is essential to transformation.

Author(s): Tony Jenkins

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As education both about and for peace, the substance of peace education (past, present, future) cannot be separated from the reality of the learner.

Author(s): Tony Jenkins

The classroom is an imagined space, based on a social invention, created by those in power who envisioned formal education as a socializing tool to prepare citizens to participate in a world designed by others. Peace education calls for a different vision, one in which the classroom is seen as a space for freedom pursued through open and authentic inquiry. A space where students find meaning and are invited to co-create their future. We need a paradigm shift in the classroom that supports a shift to a peace paradigm outside the classroom.

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"The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals."

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"La educación para la paz debe plantear y promover, como pauta primordial para la construcción de un sistema de seguridad cualitativamente más real y no-armado, dos elementos: la convicción profunda de la gente de que es necesario un cambio de sistema para resolver nuestros conflictos a escala internacional, y el compromiso de trabajar eficazmente para abolir la guerra y su preparación."

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