Youth Knowledge & Interest in Peace Education
In April 2021, the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE) conducted a youth-focused survey to better understand awareness of and interest in peace and social justice education among high-school and college-age youth. This report is the result of the Global Campaign’s findings and analysis. Ultimately, GCPE hopes that this report will provide insight into youth awareness of and interest in peace education in an attempt to increase youth engagement.
The Youth Survey on Peace and Social Justice Education was conducted by the Global Campaign for Peace Education Youth Team, composed primarily of students in the Justice and Peace Studies Program at Georgetown University. Team members include: Keaton Nara, Caelan Johnston, Maude Peters, Heather Huang, and Gabby Smiley. The report and analysis was supervised by Micaela Segal de la Garza, Program Manager, and Tony Jenkins, Coordinator of the Global Campaign for Peace Education.
The Global Campaign for Peace Education Youth Team is following up with survey respondents to explore the development of a peace education youth network.
Key findings and recommendations are reproduced below. For additional details and analysis, download the complete report.
- In terms of existing peace education projects and programs, respondents demonstrated the highest levels of interest in violence prevention, human rights, global development, global citizenship, and gender violence.
- Respondents demonstrated the least amount of awareness in meditation and restorative practices.
- There was a strong interest in social justice, specifically in regard to issues of gender violence, terrorism, and racial violence, all of which were identified as significant subjects across demographic groups.
- For world college-age demographics – both enrolled and not enrolled in peace studies programs – political polarization was the top-rated subject for interest in social justice projects and programs.
- In gauging interest in youth-focused training, the survey found that respondents demonstrated, on average, the highest level of interest in creative outlets (i.e. opportunities to bring in new ideas through creative expression)
- The majority of respondents, regardless of age, location, or enrollment in peace studies programs, learned about peace education programs and projects outside of school. There is a distinct lack of formal peace education in schools despite marked interest.
Recommendation: Support the development of peace education opportunities in schools that address students’ interests; capacitate students with skills so they may advocate for peace education programming (something respondents showed strong interest in).
- Peace education is inherently community-driven, and it is precisely that communal aspect that youth seem to be most interested in.
Recommendation: Create clubs in schools that educate students about peace education and simultaneously create a space to forge community ties; bring peace education to community centers; provide peace education after-school programs.
- Providing opportunities for youth to be active participants in their education is of the utmost importance.
Recommendation: Peace education programming and content should be derived from and designed to meet students’ social justice interests and not just the interests of teachers/faculty.
- Social media platforms are incredibly important for youth programming and community engagement. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and newsletters emerged as the most used tools among respondents.
Recommendation: Create social media platforms that engage youth; create posts that appeal to the specific topics within peace education that they express interest in; respondents demonstrated, on average, the highest level of interest in creative outlets for youth-focused training, and social media is an excellent medium for this.
- Many respondents demonstrated interest in a new youth focused network, though enrollment in a peace studies program generally indicates a higher level of interest.
Recommendation: Develop a new youth focused network for those who are interested to become involved and make connections with one another.
Peace Education Advocacy
The GCPE has a particular interest in students being able to advocate for their own curriculum and education. Youth inclusion in decision making is of the utmost importance, which is why respondents were asked about their interest in learning skills to advocate for peace education in their schools and communities. In general, respondents demonstrated high levels of interest in learning peace education advocacy skills with the average response across groups being 3.6 with 5 being the highest level of interest. These trends are demonstrated in the below graph: