Summary: Working Group on Peace and Disarmament
Education for peace
||18 July 2002, 14:00-15:30
Moderator(s):|| • Mr. Ian Hill, International Baccalauréate Organisation (IBO)|
Presenters/ Participants:|| • Mr. Ade Adenekan Pan, Pan-African Peace and Reconciliation Council|
• Ms. Nava Sonnenschein, Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salaam
• Ms. Olivia Martin, Hague Appeal for Peace
||Ashleigh Arledge (International Peace Bureau), Yasmine El Rifai
||Jan Philippe Roos
||peace education, education, youth, Israel, Palestine, peace, conflict resolution
This session on Education for Peace was particularly interesting and enriching. The panelists tackled the subject with varying perspectives. Each highlighted a different aspect:
Ms. Olivia Martin of the Global Campaign for Peace Education focused on the role of youth in the field,
Mr. Ade Adenekan of the Pan African Peace and Reconciliation Council talked about the objectives and needs of peace education activities within the African context, and
Ms. Nava Sonnenschein from Neve Shalom - Wahat El Salam contributed a very specific viewpoint, that of peace education as means of conflict resolution.
Ms. Olivia Martin, started by underlining the impact of September 11th in the revival of Youth Peace Movements. Countering the US military response, peace movements around the world have been calling for a peaceful and just
response, as violence is not the solution and will only be transmitted to future generations. To give an example of such movements, the 'International Youth Declaration', an initiative of the Hague Appeal for Peace, pledged for a non-violent, just response and was signed by 400 youth organizations representing more than half a million young people around the world.
Mr. Martin pointed out that youth activists, and specifically student movements, started raising awareness about the need to address the roots of
conflicts, xenophobia, etc. They use original ideas and techniques like peer education, online discussions, workshops, informal
One interesting idea that was highlighted was the fact that peace education, with its very broad dimension (i.e. educating on human rights, sustainable development, conflict resolution, etc.), has a double aim. On one hand, it acts as an antidote to the dangerous attitude of apathy. On the other hand, it inspires and
provokes critical thinking and reflection. Some of the success stories of youth initiatives were presented to the audience.
Ms. Martin concluded by reminding the audience of the opportunity given to the young people today by the extraordinary development of ICTs, allowing an idealist and dynamic youth to communicate, network and access
information in an unprecedented way.
Mr. Ade Adenekan of the Pan African Peace and Reconciliation Council,
pointed out the importance of peace education within the context of Africa, and
specially Nigeria, as it has its share of youth-led violence. And from such violence comes the need for civil society to develop peace education and
conflict prevention skills, using traditional methods of Africa. He underlined the importance of communication technology, curricula, educational networks, and teacher' training outreach. He then explained the goals and activities of his center and their efforts in the field of peace education and the promotion of a culture of
The third panelist, Nava Sonnenschein from the Neve Shalom – Wahat Al Salam in Israel,
presented the community she comes from, which is the only community in Israel where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side. This 'Oasis of Peace', as it is called, has founded the school for peace, where Israeli and Arab pupils have the chance to engage in dialogue through the conflict management workshops,
a speciality of the school. The speaker discussed the method used in these workshops, focused at the
inter-group level. The major goals of the school are to develop the awareness
of participants of their own role in the conflict, as well as to break down stereotypes. This is facilitated through the structure of the program (two facilitators, one of each country, both Hebrew and Arab are official languages, etc.). Through
its experience, the school noticed a pattern of evolution of dialogue. Participants generally
pass through the following five
- Stage one is characterized by the politeness and hesitancy of both parties.
- Stage two is characterized by the empowerment of the Palestinian party.
- The reaction comes in stage three, as the Israelis try to resume their power.
- Stage four is the deadlock, both parties tend to have a very strong experiences of pain and anger.
- Finally, the stage five occurs when the Israeli parties begin to take responsibility
for the their part in the injustices, and are then able to start a more equal dialogue.
One very interesting idea that was brought up by the speaker was the similarity between this pattern on the
micro level of the workshops and on the macro level of the two nations, the current stage being that of the deadlock.
During the discussion that followed the presentation, a question was raised whether it is better for peace education to be taught as an
independent subject or for it to be integrated into all of the current standard subjects.
Ms. Martin clarified that this is an ongoing debate. On one hand, peace issues are more a question of attitudes, state of mind and openness to the world that can be highlighted in all subjects, like history, geography, etc. But on the other hand, the danger remains that the holistic notion of peace and the importance of the issue itself can be lost if it is so thinly spread and is not taught as an
independent and specific subject.
At the end of the session, the participants seemed to agree on some essential and pragmatic ideas. The first is the need to introduce peace education in the schools, in all countries and all levels, whether it is introduced as an
independent subject or not. The second idea was the importance of investing in young people. The third networking, particularly networking between young people and youth organizations, as building networks can be much more empowering and enriching.
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