President of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) Foundation
Peace Education: Definition, Approaches, and Future Directions
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR AUTHOR:
Ian Harris, Department of Educational policy and Community Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201,USA; Tel: 1+ (414) 229-2326; fax: 1+ (414) 229-3700; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Harris is Chairman of the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and President of the International Peace Research Association Foundation.He is author ofPeace Education (McFarland Inc, 1988); Messages Men Hear (Taylor and Francis, 1998); Peacebuilding for Adolescents (with Linda Forcey) (Peter Lang, 1999); and Peace Education 2nd edition (with Mary Lee Morrrison) (McFarland Inc, 2003).
KEYWORDS:Peace education, peacebuilding, strategies for peace, environmental education, human rights education, development education, conflict resolution education, international education
LIST OF CONTENTS:
1.What is Peace Education?
2.Goals for Peace Education
3.History of Peace Education
4.Difference between Peace Education and Peace Studies
5.Peace Education as a Strategy to Achieve peace
6.Peace Education for the Twenty-First Century
The achievement of peace represents a humanizing process whereby individuals manage their violent tendencies.Peace educators contribute to this process by teaching about peace—what it is, why it doesn’t exist, and how to achieve it. They use their educational skills to teach about how to create peaceful conditions.In schools and community settings peace educators impart the values of planetary stewardship, global citizenship, and human relations.Peace educators teach about how conflicts get started, the effects of violent solutions to conflict, and alternatives to violent behavior.Peace education students learn how to resolve disputes nonviolently.Students also learn in peace education classes about peace strategies that may be used at both micro and macro levels to reduce suffering caused by a multitude of different forms of violence – wars, ethnic conflicts, structural domestic and civil violence, as well as environmental destruction.All these different forms of violence threaten human existence.
Peace education has both short and long term goals.Peace educators address the sources of immediate conflicts and give their students knowledge about strategies they can use to stop the violence. In the long term they hope to build in students’ minds a commitment to nonviolence and provide knowledge about nonviolent alternatives, so that when faced with conflicts they will choose to behave peacefully.In this way peace education tries to build peace into the minds of its students. Such efforts attempt to counteract violent images in popular culture and the bellicose behavior of politicians.
Peace education has taken place informally throughout history as various cultures pass on to their progeny understandings about the ways of peace. Every major religion has a peace message.In the twentieth century formal peace education programs have been introduced into schools and colleges.
Peace education has taken different shapes as it has developed around the world.At the beginning of the twentieth century in the United States and Europe people concerned about the advent of mechanized warfare began to educate the population in those countries about ways that war could be outlawed through the League of Nations and other international agreements. Educators in countries in the South, more concerned about the structural violence and poverty, have promoted a variety of peace education known as development education to improve the quality of living in poor countries. Towards the end of the twentieth century people throughout the world concerned about the suffering of minority groups began to see that human rights education could engender respect for principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.Educators concerned about ecological catastrophe have developed a type of peace education known as environmental education that explains the principles of living sustainably on this planet. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, peace educators concerned about civil and domestic forms of violence have developed a new form of peace education known as conflict resolution education.All these different forms of peace education have in common teaching and learning about the roots of violence and strategies for peace.
Conflict resolution education:Teaching and learning about alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and interpersonal peacemaking
Development education:Teaching and learning about structural oppression and strategies to provide just social institutions and equitable economic arrangements
Environmental education:Teaching and learning about environmental destruction, ecological security, and sustainable development.
Human rights education:Teaching and learning about the inherent dignity of all people, legal means to preserve their rights, and appreciation for difference.
International education:Teaching and learning about global conflicts and how to resolve them.
Peacebuilding:A long term strategy for peace that removes causes for violence.
Peacekeeping:Stopping violence by using force or deterrence.
Peacemaking:Resolving conflict through communication.
Peace education: Teaching and learning about the roots of violence and strategies for peace.
Peace studies:The study ofconflicts and strategies to resolve them.
What is Peace Education?
Peace education hopes to create in the human consciousness a commitment to the ways of peace.Just as a doctor learns in medical school how to minister to the sick, students in peace education classes learn how to solve problems caused by violence. Social violence and warfare can be described as a form of pathology, a disease.Peace education tries to inoculate students against the evil effects of violence by teaching skills to manage conflicts nonviolently and by creating a desire to seek peaceful resolutions of conflicts.Societies spend money and resources training doctors to heal the ill.Why should not they also educate their citizens to conduct affairs nonviolently? Peace educators use teaching skills to stop violence by developing a peace consciousness that can provide the basis for a just and sustainable future.
The word ‘education’ comes from the Latin word ‘educare,’ to draw or lead out.Peace education draws out from people their instincts to live peacefully with others and emphasizes peaceful values upon which society should be based. Educators, from early childhood to adult, can use their professional skills to tell their students about peace.The study of peace attempts to nourish those energies and impulses that make possible a meaningful and life enhancing existence.
Peace educators address the violent nature of society, and ask, “Must it be this way?”Aren't there nonviolent ways that human beings can solve their conflicts?How do we get to these other ways? Just as war has its adherents and its schools, peace can be taught and promoted so that it becomes active in the mind of citizens and world leaders.Traditional education glorifies established power to legitimize its authority. History books praise military heroes and ignore the contributions of peace makers.Violence, carried out by governments waging war and repressing civil rights, also appears in homes where physical and psychological assaults confront conflict, disobedience, anger, and frustration.Children too often learn in school to respect the military and to support those structures that contribute to violence, like violent forms of popular entertainment.They also learn not to question violent political and social behavior.Peace educators question the structures of violence that dominate everyday life and try to create a peaceful disposition in their students to counteract the omnipotent values of militarism.
A European peace educator has defined peace education as: "The initiation of learning processes aiming at the actualization and rational resolution of conflicts regarding man as subject of action." (vor Staehr, 1974: 296) According to this definition, peace educators teach peacemaking skills.A Japanese peace educator states that peace education is concerned with peaceless situations (Mushakoji, 1974: 3). These include struggles for power and resources, ethnic conflicts in local communities, child abuse, and wars.Students in peace education classes study institutions that create violence as well as the values that give credibility to those structures.An American peace educator, Betty Reardon, defines peace education as "learning intended to prepare the learners to contribute toward the achievement of peace” (Reardon, 1982: 38). She goes on to state that peace education "might be education for authentic security,” (Reardon, 1982: 40) where a need for security motivates humans to form communities and nations.
Because individuals disagree about how to achieve security, there are many different paths to peace.An Israeli educator (Salomon, 2002) has stated that peace education programs take different forms because of the wide variety of conflicts that plague human existence. Each different form of violence requires a unique peace education strategy to resolve its conflicts. Peace education in intense conflicts attempts to demystify enemy images and urges combatants to withdraw from warlike behavior.Peace education in regions of interethnic tension relies upon an awareness about the sufferings of the various groups involved in the conflict to reduce hostilities and promote empathy for the pain of others.Peace educators in areas free from collective physical violence teach about oppression within that society, explain the causes of domestic and civil violence, and develop a respect for global issues, environmental sustainability, and the power of nonviolence.
In addition to providing knowledge about how to achieve peace, peace educators promote a pedagogy based upon modeling peaceful democratic classroom practices.They share a hope that through education people can develop certain thoughts and dispositions that will lead to peaceful behavior. Key aspects of this disposition include kindness, critical thinking, and cooperation (Harris and Morrison, 2003). Developing such virtues is an important part of peace education.However, it is not the complete picture.The struggle to achieve peace takes place at both individual and social levels. Peace educators work with individuals to point how the root problems of violence lie in broader social forces and institutions that must be addressed in order to achieve peace.
Peace activists use community education to alert people about the horrors of violence. Working through non-governmental organizations they use public relations techniques – guest speakers, press releases, media interviews, and newsletters – to provide awareness about nonviolent solutions to conflict.Educators from many different academic disciplines also practice peace education. Sociologists in college classrooms talk about violence in civil society. Political scientists describe world order models meant to manage global conflicts.Psychologists explain the structures in the human psyche that lead to violent behavior.Anthropologists debate about violent and peaceful tendencies of collective human behavior. Historians write about the history of peace movements. Literature professors review works of art devoted to peace. Professional teachers in primary and secondary schools teach about peace in many settings, from early childhood to high school.Most infuse peace themes into their curriculum while some organize peace studies programs that provide a more comprehensive overview of peace strategies.
Goals for Peace Education
Educational activity is purposeful. Peace education has short- and long-term goals. Peace educators respond to immediately threatening situations like ethnic and religious forms of violence in places like Northern Ireland, providing insights into how conflicts can be managed less violently.The longer term goals are to create in human consciousness the permanent structures that desire peaceful existence and hence transform human values to promote nonviolence.
A good illustration of the relationship between these short and long-term goals of peace education has been provided by a Romanian peace educator, Adrian Nastase. Quoting the French philosopher Pascal, Nastase observes that human beings are "running carelessly towards a precipice after having put something in front of us to hinder us from seeing it.” (Nastase, 1984: 185) Drawing from this analogy, he suggests that the immediate goals of peace education are to discover ‘the precipice’ and to understand the perilous state of the present conditions. As H.G. Wells has pointed out: human beings are embarked upon "a race between education and catastrophe." (1927: 43)
Whether working to achieve immediate or long range objectives peace education may be said to contain at least ten main goals: (1) to appreciate the richness of the concept of peace, (2) to address fears, (3) to provide information about security, (4) to understand war behavior, (5) to develop intercultural understanding, (6) to provide a ‘futures’ orientation, (7) to teach peace as a process, (8) to promote a concept of peace accompanied by social justice, (9) to stimulate a respect for life, and (10) to manage conflicts nonviolently (Harris, 1988). These goals include both a philosophic orientation toward peace and information about skills and institutions that people need to live together peacefully and sustainably on this planet. There are many topics included within the purview of educating for peace. These ten goals provide a framework for planning educational activities involved in educating for and about peace.
(1) Peace education provides in students' minds a dynamic vision of peace to counteract the violent images that dominate popular culture.Examples of this come from arts and literature as well as history—the film Gandhi, the etchings of Goya, novels like War and Peace and Fail Safe, and religious texts.Drawing upon history provides examples of how peace has stimulated human imagination throughout different historical epochs.Every major religion promotes peace.Peace educators teach about past, present and proposed future efforts to achieve peace and justice.Art can be an important part of that effort, allowing students to express their deepest wishes for peace.
(2) Peace educators address people's fears.Children are abused at home.Citizens fear being attacked on streets.Suicide bombers have spawned deep fears of terrorist attacks. Biochemical warfare poses threats.Violence permeates schools.Increases in teenage suicide have been linked to despair about future.People upset about violent situations often have strong emotions.Citizens grieve about violence and fear conflict. Addressing concerns about violence can relieve anxiety in young people and help them focus on their school lessons.In this way peace education has the potential to improve academic achievement in schools.
(3) Citizens need information about how best to achieve security.The notion of collective security implies that nations build weapons and create armies, navies, and air forces to protect them from attack.Citizens need to know what goes into these systems, the implications of developing and depending upon them, and their cost.Many nations shroud security operations in secrecy.Peace educators demystify the public structures created to provide security and give citizens information they need to make informed choices about the best way to achieve peace.
4) Students in peace education classes study the causes of violence and war.Why are human beings so violent?Throughout recorded history there have been many instances of violent, armed conflict, but anthropologists have located on this planet at least 47 relatively peaceful societies (Banta, 1993). A review of the literature of cultures that have achieved peace is summarized in the following statement:
First, there are no cultures that wholly eliminate the possibility of interpersonal violence.Second, a good number of societies, especially those at the simplest socioeconomic level, appear to have successfully avoided organized violence, that is war.This is a significant accomplishment.
(Gregor, 1996: xvi)
Is aggression a natural part of human nature or is it learned through socialization?Individuals such as Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Hitler have played a strong role in promoting wars, but some believe that we all have destructive fantasies. Why do some resort to violence while others do not?Peace educators provide their students with an understanding of how different individuals, cultures and political systems satisfy or frustrate human needs.
(5) Since wars occur as a result of conflicts between different groupings of human individuals, peace education promotes respect for different cultures and helps students appreciate the diversity of the human community.Intercultural understanding provides an important aspect of any peace education endeavor.In order to appreciate the perilousness of human existence, students learn about the interrelatedness of human beings on this planet.Survival depends upon cooperation.In this sense peace education resembles another recent education reform, multicultural education, that teaches respect for differences and understanding of ‘the other.’
(6) Peace education, by providing students with a ‘futures’ orientation, strives to recreate society as it should be.In a violent world, children can often become enmeshed in despair.Future studies attempts to provide young people with positive images of the future and to give them reason to hope (Hutchinson, 1996). Students in peace studies classes imagine what they would like the future to be like and then discuss what can be done to create a peaceful future.Peace education includes discussions that provide different possibilities for life on this planet to stimulate students to think about less violent ways of managing human behavior.
(7) As important as it is to emphasize an understanding of peace strategies, peace education also teaches skills.To move the world away from violence will require change.How can we bring peace to the world if we can't even create it in our own personal lives?Peace education focuses on strategies to achieve both individual and societal change.Peacemaking is a process that must be taught if human beings are to alter their violent behavior.People wishing to achieve peace understand that peace is a process that transforms their own lives as they start personifying their visions of the future.In peace education classes students examine how their daily actions and beliefs contribute to the perpetration of injustice and/or the development of war.They learn strategies to deal with aggressive behaviors and concrete skills that will help them become effective peace makers.
(8) Because the struggle for peace embraces justice, peace education students learn about the challenges of human rights and justice.They should understand that the absence of war does not necessarily bring peace or harmony.With this emphasis peace educators do not focus solely on national security issues but also include the study of social justice, human rights, development, feminism, racism, nonviolence, and strategies for social change. Jaime Diaz writes: “To facilitate education for justice and peace, one must, above all, believe: believe that justice and peace are possible believe that each and every one of us can do something to bring justice and peace into being.” (Diaz, 1979: 375). Peace educators often focus on structural oppression and use this knowledge to empower others to struggle against institutions that are dominant and coercive.
(9) Peace educators teach a respect for all forms of life. Peace education contributes to the social growth of all children if it helps them develop characteristics essential for the attainment of peace—a sense of dignity and self-worth, a sense of responsibility for self and others, a capacity to trust others, a caring for the well-being of the natural world, a confidence to question their values, communication skills, an ethical awareness, and an empathy for others:
To prevent future upheavals human beings must be lifted from their selfish natural state to the social and finally to the moral state.Education must help the people regain their sense of moral independence and inner security.This training should be extended to all children, and should be rooted in love.
(Renna, 1980: 63)
Peace educators teach caring and empathy, not just a rational understanding of problems faced by others.This caring applies to all creatures on the planet with an appreciation of the ecological balances that support life.Students must experience the sound of the earth crying, the pain of people who suffer in war, and the agony of people repressed by militarism.In this way peace education emphasizes the sacredness of all life.
(10) The ultimate goal of peace education is to provide people with skills to manage conflicts nonviolently.The world is consumed with violent behavior.Street crime, war, domestic quarrels, ethnic conflicts and poverty result in millions of people having to live in violent conditions where they have little or no security and struggle to survive. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.6 million people on this planet died violently during 2000. Of these deaths 31.3% were homicides, 49.1% were suicides, and 18.6% were war-related (2002: 10). All these deaths are potentially preventable.Until violence is curtailed, human beings will not be able to achieve their full potential.
History of Peace Education
Throughout history humans have taught each other ways to manage conflicts so they don’t erupt into violence. The world’s religions--following the teaching of such prophets as Buddha, Baha’u’llah, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Moses, and Lao Tse--have specific scriptures that advance peace.Such teachings promote peace through personal transformation, whereby, if individuals adopt pacifist values, based upon nonviolence and compassion, they will avoid the pitfalls of violent conflict.
One of the first Europeans who used the written word to espouse peace education was Comenius, (1642/1969) the Czech educator, who in the seventeenth century saw that the road to peace was through universally shared knowledge.This approach to peace assumes that an understanding of others and shared values will overcome hostilities that lead to conflict.Immanuel Kant in his book Perpetual Peace (1795/1970) established the liberal notion that humans could achieve peace by constructing legal systems with laws, treaties, and checks and balances – courts, trials, and jails that have been used to moderate civil violence.This approach to peace, known as peace through politics, rests upon the notion that humans have rational minds capable of creating laws that treat people fairly.
The twentieth century has seen considerable growth in peace education efforts and theory.At the beginning of the century peace educators warned about the scourge of war.Europeans and Americans formed peace societies and lobbied their governments against the saber rattling that eventually led to World War I. In 1912 a School Peace League had chapters in nearly every state in the United States that were “promoting through the schools …the interests of international justice and fraternity.” (Scanlon, 1959: 214)
In the interbellum period between the First and Second World Wars, social studies teachers in many different countries started teaching international relations so that their students wouldn’t want to wage war against foreigners.They emphasized teaching certain content, e.g. an understanding of peoples in the world that would develop in the minds of citizens an outlook of tolerance that would contribute to peace. Educators thought that studying the international system could contribute toward a more cooperative peaceful world.Convinced that schools had encouraged and enabled war by indoctrinating youth into nationalism, peace educators participated in progressive education reforms that tried to promote social progress by providing students with knowledge about global conflicts.
At this time Maria Montessori was traveling throughout Europe urging teachers to abandon authoritarian pedagogies, replacing them with a dynamic curriculum from which pupils could choose what to study.She reasoned that children who didn’t automatically follow authoritarian teachers would not necessarily obey rulers urging them to war.She saw that the construction of peace depends upon an education that would free the child’s spirit, promote love of others, and remove blind obedience to authority.She set up a school in a slum in Italy where teachers were encouraged to use their capacity for love to help students prosper in the midst of extreme poverty.Maria Montessori emphasized that a teacher’s method or pedagogy could contribute towards building a peaceful world.The whole school should reflect the nurturing characteristics of a healthy family (Montessori, 1946/1974).
The horrors of World War II created a new interest in ‘Education for World Citizenship.’Fifty-five years ago Herbert Read (1949) argued for the marriage of art and peace education to help provide images that would motivate people to promote peace. He argued that humans could use their creative capacities to escape the pitfalls of destructive violence.
The first academic peace studies program at the college level was established in 1948 at Manchester College, in North Manchester, Indiana in the United States. The Vietnam War stimulated more university and college programs that had a focus upon imperialism.In the 1980s the threat of nuclear war became a catalyst for peace studies courses at all educational levels, as educators all around the world tried to warn of impending devastation.
This expansion of peace education at this time period points to an important symbiotic relationship between peace movements, peace research, and peace education. The activists lead, developing strategies to deal with violence, whether it be wars between nations, colonial aggression, cultural, domestic, or structural violence.Academics studying these developments further the field of peace research.The activists, seeking a way to broaden their message, seek to educate through peace education.Teachers observing these activities promote peace studies courses and programs in schools and colleges to provide awareness of the challenges of war and peace in their classrooms.This creative recycling of insights into the causes of violence and the conditions for peace through peace action and research provides dynamism for peace education, as teachers explain in diverse settings the complexities of conflicts and the challenges of peace.
In the 1980s three books were produced that represent the highlight of an era acutely concerned about the threat of nuclear annihilation.They are: Education for Peace by a Norwegian, Birgit Brocke-Utne, (1985) Comprehensive Peace Education by Betty Reardon (1988) and Peace Education by Ian Harris (1988)--both citizens of the United States. Brocke-Utne pointed out the devastation that militarism, war, and male violence wrecks upon females and argued that feminism is the starting point for effective disarmament.She demonstrated that societies not at war were not necessarily peaceful because they still had considerable domestic violence. Reardon argued that the core values of schooling should be care, concern, and commitment, and the key concepts of peace education should be planetary stewardship, global citizenship, and humane relationships.Harris prescribed ten goals for peace education described above. He also emphasized that a peaceful pedagogy must belong to any attempt to teach about peace.The key ingredients of such a pedagogy are cooperative learning, democratic community, moral sensitivity, and critical thinking.
At the beginning of the 1980s the globalists lost some of their hold on the domain of peace education and the humanists took over.Peace educators became more concerned about civil, domestic, cultural, and ethnic forms of violence, trying to heal some of the wounds of pupils who have been raised in violent cultures.They began to teach conflict resolution in schools. Based upon the work of Carl Rogers (1942), a popular psychology movement known as ‘new age healing’ has encouraged people to examine deep seated psychic phenomena that contribute to violent behavior.This movement has influenced peace educators whose goal is to heal wounds that create huge pools of rage in the psyche. At the end of the twentieth century a variation of this approach to peace education is violence prevention education that attempts to develop resilience skills in young people so that they avoid drugs, sex, and violence in interpersonal relations. A further form of peace education adopted in countries experiencing extreme forms of religious and ethnic violence is multicultural education where teachers attempt to break down stereotypes and hostile images of ‘the other.’
At the beginning of the twenty-first century peace education has expanded the study of wars in history classes to a type of curriculum that helps children manage their conflicts without resorting to violence.This growth in peace education in primary and secondary schools can be seen by a 1974 Quaker Project on Community Conflict in New York which published The Friendly Classroom for a Small Planet, (Prutzman, Stern, Burger, and Bodenhamer, 1998) a curriculum for teachers of young children who wanted to enable students to develop a sense of self-worth, build community, and acquire the skills of creative conflict resolution.It is being used extensively in schools in El Salvador, as well as fifty other countries.
Difference between Peace Education and Peace Studies
There is an important distinction between peace studies and peace education.
Peace studies, the study of peace processes, began as a formal discipline in colleges and universities after the Second World War.Peace studies scholars seek to analyze human conflicts in order to find the most peaceful ways to turn resolve them. Their investigations often have a geo-political focus. Peace studies depends upon peace research, an academic field that developed as a ‘science of peace’ in the 1950s to counteract the science of war that had produced so much mass killing.
In 1959 the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) was founded in Norway. This organization publishes two academic journals, Journal of Peace Research and Bulletin of Pace Proposals, that have helped develop the field of peace research.In Britain, the Lancaster Peace Research Center, later to become the Richardson Institute, was also formed in 1959.These inchoate efforts became the foundling infants for a new academic field, peace research, that blossomed during the 1960s and 1970s, an era when the world was focused on the injustice of the U.S. war in Vietnam.
Peace studies tend to focus on the causes of war and alternatives to war; whereas peace education is more generic, attempting to draw out of people their natural inclinations to live in peace.Peace researchers identify processes that promote peace; whereas peace educators use teaching skills to build a peace culture. Peace studies faculty, housed in political science or international relations university departments, offer courses on the causes of wars and ethnic conflicts, seeking ways to avoid them.Peace studies programs on college and university campuses vary from majors, to graduate concentrations, to certificate programs, to minors.They allow students to study peace.
Peace education has been practiced informally by generations of humans who want to avoid violence. As a formal course of study on college campuses, peace education courses located in schools of education train teachers to teach about peace. In a literal sense peace education refers to teaching others about peace—what it is, why it doesn’t exist, and how to achieve it. Peace education is carried out in a variety of contexts beyond college campuses. A peace educator can be a community activist trying to inform members of her community about nonviolent strategies.Peace educators play an important role in the evolution of peace studies, translating the findings of peace researchers about alternative ways the international state system can manage conflict through diplomatic relations (both formal and Track II, see Boulding, ). Peace educators try to get students to think of themselves as concerned global citizens willing to transcend national and ethnic differences in order to promote peace.They hope through the study of security systems to teach how to construct laws and institutions, like the United Nations, that will help humans avoid the terror of war.
Peace educators also teach peacemaking strategies to help children avoid violence by resolving interpersonal conflicts constructively.Primary and secondary educators bring conflict resolution programs into schools to address aspects of interpersonal violence, and to teach peacemaking skills like mediation, empathy, and alternative dispute resolution methods.School based peer mediation tries to resolve conflicts between students that may not be overtly violent.Peer mediation programs use a third party, a mediator, to help the parties in conflict resolve their differences.The mediator helps disputants reach a mutually agreed upon solution to their conflict.Mediation provides a vehicle for de-escalating violent behavior in schools.One study showed that fights were reduced as much as fifty percent in a school that adopted mediation (Lantieri & Patti, 1996, 138).Peace educators teaching peacemaking skills in order to reduce violence in schools may not discuss at all global tensions or other subtleties of peace research in their classes.
Peace Education as a Strategy to Achieve Peace
Peace education is not ‘pacifism education.’ The goal is not to make students and citizens quiet, complacent, and content. Peace educators point out the problems of violence that exist in society and then instruct their pupils about strategies that can be used to address those problems, hence empowering them to redress the circumstances that lead to violence. Mahatma Gandhi used insights he gained from a commitment to nonviolence to overthrow what was at that time the greatest force on earth (the British Empire).Community based strategies for justice and Dr. King’s use of nonviolence in the Civil Rights struggle are examples of the legacy peace educators draw upon in teaching youth how to strive nonviolently for their dreams.
Peace educators provide information about different ways to achieve peace-- negotiation, reconciliation, nonviolent struggle, the use of treaties, balance of power, and armed struggle.They also teach about different peace strategies and help their students to evaluate what are the best strategies to use in particular circumstances. One main goal of peace education is to provide positive images of peace, so that when people are faced with conflict, they will choose to be peaceful. Peace education, as a strategy for lasting peace on the macro level, relies on educating enough people within a given population to establish widespread support for peaceful policies.
Although most people desire peace, there exists within human communities considerable disagreement about how to achieve it.What particular approach to peace a given society uses depends upon the cultural traditions and the desires of those in power or upon well organized grass-roots peace movements who put pressure on the militarists to stop their slaughter. Peace educators distinguish between three different approaches to achieving peace:peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding. Peacekeeping’s aim is to respond to violence and stop it from escalating. on a micro level this might mean schools employing security guards to break up fights. on a more macro level, it implies the use of military force to quell violence in the world, an example being the use of force to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.Once the fighting has stopped, peacemaking strategies can be used to get the parties together to try to work out their differences. Peacemaking has as its aims the teaching of skills to resolve conflicts without the use of force.In order to prevent conflict, peacebuilding strategies are used to create a culture of peace that does not celebrate violence, but rather promotes nonviolence as a way to avoid the horror of war.
These different approaches to peace are not mutually exclusive.In fact, they can complement each other to help to overcome the complex sources of violence found in the postmodern world. In times when a country is not waging a war, a strategy for peace might involve constructing elaborate defenses against perceived enemies, or a literacy campaign to provide citizens with what they need to gain employment to satisfy basic needs.
Peace education is a peacebuilding strategy that attempts to transform society by creating a peaceful consciousness that condemns violent behavior.Parents can use nonviolent techniques to raise their children.Teachers can teach peacemaking skills to their students.Professors can teach about the problems of war and peace.Neighbors can advocate for recycling programs.Citizens can pressure their governments to adopt nonviolent policies towards other countries.And concerned residents can construct community education programs about specific peace issues as they attempt to educate the broader public about the value of peace policies.
A major disadvantage of peace education as a strategy to achieve peace is that it offers a long term solution to immediate threats.For peace education to be effective, it must transform ways of thinking and behaving that have been developed over the millennia of human history and those ways of thinking must lead to action to promote peace. Otherwise, all those learnings about peace just exist as thoughts in people’s brains.
At best peace education represents an indirect solution to the problems of violence.It depends upon millions of students being educated who must in turn work to change violent behavior.A teacher who teaches the topics of peace education has no guarantee that his or her students will either embrace peace or work to reduce violence.A teacher does not ultimately control what a pupil learns.Teachers lay the groundwork for learning, using their skills and knowledge to transmit messages to their pupils, who may ultimately develop behaviors and attitudes that shape cultural norms. Peace activists believe that the creation of peace requires more then education.It also demands action, and there is no guarantee that students who are learning about peace in an educational setting will become activists who advocate for peace.
Peace Education for the Twenty-first Century
Traditionally, peace education has focused on the causes of war, sometimes called ‘organized violence over territories.’ By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the domain of peace education has expanded from the study of wars to the study of domestic and interpersonal violence and environmental destruction.During the twentieth century there has been a growth in concern about horrific forms of violence, like ecocide, genocide, technological warfare, ethnic hatred, racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and a corresponding growth in the field of peace education.
At the beginning of the twenty-first century controversies surrounding the word ‘peace’ in conjunction with concerns about a multitude of different forms of violence have led to five separate types of peace education--international education, human rights education, development education, environmental education, and conflict resolution education. Each branch of this peace education family has different theoretical assumptions about the problems of violence it addresses, different peace strategies it recommends, and different goals it hopes to achieve.
Derek Heater (1984) has pointed out how important it is for peace studies students to understand the interstate system that so often leads to wars over territories and resources.Global peace educators provide an understanding of how nation states construct security for their citizens.This type of peace education is also known as world order studies.At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it includes helping students understand the positive and negative aspects of globalization, which has led to the erosion of power of national governments.There are three types of globalization: economic (particularly transnational corporations and the creation of a consumer-dominated global middle class), public order (governments working together on common problems such as health and environmental problems) and popular (campaigns by grass roots organizations such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Medecins sans Frontieres, etc).The reality is that globalization is taking place and cannot be reversed.The question peace educators should be asking is: How can we bring together all the parties to make sure that globalization benefits more people?
International education for peace has received considerable support from the United Nations system that has provided mandates and supported peace education efforts throughout the world.One example is the preamble to the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” Educators who teach about international issues try to stimulate in their students' minds a global identity and awareness of problems around the planet.They hope their students will think of themselves as compassionate global citizens who identify with people throughout the world struggling for peace.
Human Rights Education
Interest in human rights comes from attempts during the twentieth century to establish international organizations like the International Criminal Court that would address civil, domestic, cultural, and ethnic forms of violence, trying to heal some of the wounds of people who have been oppressed by violent cultures.This aspect of peace education has a literal and broad interpretation.Peace educators falling within this tradition are guided by the December 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights that provides a statement of values to be pursued in order to achieve economic, social, and political justice.
Various statements of human rights derive from concepts of natural law, a higher set of laws that are universally applicable and supercede governmental laws.Narrowly construed, the study of human rights is the study of treaties, global institutions, and domestic and international courts.This approach to peace, known as ‘peace through justice,’ rests upon the notion that humans have rational minds capable of creating laws that treat people fairly.People being persecuted by their governments for political beliefs can appeal to provisions of international law to gain support for their cause.Abuse of rights and the struggle to eliminate that abuse lie at the heart of many violent conflicts.Human rights institutions champion rights against discrimination based upon race, gender, religious beliefs, ethnicity, disability, national and sexual orientation., etc.
These approaches to peace education are concerned with the tendency to label others as enemies and to oppose or exclude them. Here conflict is identity based, where people hate others who belong to groups different than theirs, perceived as ‘the enemy.’ Peace educators in these contexts attempt to replace enemy images with understandings of common heritage and break through a process of numbing and denial about atrocities committed in intractable conflicts. In peace camps in the Middle East with Israeli and Palestinian children, and other places where people are attempting to transform ethnic, religious and racial hatred, this kind of education hopes to eliminate adversarial mindsets by challenging stereotypes to break down enemy images and by changing perceptions of and ways of relating to the other group.
Peace educators can teach about struggles for human rights in remote parts of the
world as well as get students to focus or the rights of minority groups within their own school communities. In the last decades of the twentieth century concern about underdevelopment in countries in the South led to a variety of peace education concerned with structural factors that inhibited the protection of human rights, led to inequitable economic development, and destroyed the integrity of the environment.
Peace educators use development studies to provide their students with insights into the various aspects of structural violence, focusing on social institutions with their hierarchies and propensities for dominance and oppression.Students in peace education classes study development issues to learn about the plight of the poor.The goal is to build peaceful communities by promoting an active democratic citizenry interested in equitably sharing the world's resources.This approach to peace education is controversial because it rests upon concepts of economic and social justice.
Development educators are concerned about the rush to modernity and its impact upon human communities.Rather than promoting top-down development strategies imposed by corporate elites who see ordinary people as ignorant and exploitable, peace educators promote poor people's involvement in planning, implementing, and controlling development schemes.They would like to see resources controlled equitably rather than monopolized by elites. Development education rests upon the work of a Brazilian educator, Paulo Friere, (1970) who developed an educational methodology to help people address the sources of their own oppression.He posited that humans need to understand how to overcome oppressive conditions in order to be fully free.This process of understanding or conscientization, leads to studying various forms of violence, developing nonviolent alternatives to replace violent institutions, and taking action to create more just social institutions.Although not known as a peace educator per se, Friere celebrated the human capacity for love that could help humans achieve freedom in a just and democratic society.He saw that the right kind of education could liberate people from structural violence.
Peace educators question dominant patterns of development that have preoccupied the West for the past millennium. They decry the poverty and misery produced by an advanced capitalist economic order where an elite minority benefits from the suffering of a vast majority of people on this planet.They see that the path to peace comes from getting people mobilized into movements to protect human rights and the environment.They seek structural solutions to social conditions that cause violence.
Another peace education thread that developed at the end of the twentieth century is environmental education.Environmentalists see that the greatest threat to modern life is destruction of the natural habitat.In the immortal words T.S. Eliot, “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper (1936: 107).” Environmental educators help young people become aware of the ecological crisis, give them tools to create environmental sustainability, and teach them to use resources in a renewable way. They argue that the deepest foundations for peaceful existence are rooted in environmental health.
Historically, peace educators concerned about the dangers of war, have ignored the environmental crisis.With the rise of global warming, rapid species extinction, and the adverse effects of pollution, they are starting to realize that it is not sufficient just to talk about military security, as in protecting the citizens of a country from a foreign threat, but it is also necessary to promote a concept of peace based upon ecological security, where humans are protected and nourished by natural processes (Mische, 1989).
Bowers (1993) has raised a devastating critique of Western notions of progress that assume that the natural environment is an infinite resource that humans can use for their enjoyment without regarding the consequences of environmental despoliation. Scientific growth based upon rational modes of problem solving has created a damaged Earth that is losing many of its creatures to extinction.Instead of anthropocentric culture, with autonomous individuals at the center of the universe, teachers concerned about problems of violence caused by the destruction of natural systems promote a way of life that acknowledges the important values of traditional (native) cultures that encourage humans to revere rather than despoil the natural world.Environmental peace educators give more emphasis to ecologically sound folk practices rather than unlimited consumer cultures based upon exploitation of natural resources and human capital.
Peace educators concerned about environmental destruction teach about conservation, appropriate technology, and environmental literacy.They emphasize the role of treaties like the Law of the Sea Treaty or the Kyoto Accord that attempt to preserve environmental resources.Many claim that the solution lies in sustainable development. The study of the environment lends to holistic thinking about how natural and human systems interrelate. Such studies can contribute to an ecological world outlook that contains basic knowledge of the environment, develops strong personal convictions about protecting natural resources, and provides dynamic experiences conserving natural resources.
Conflict Resolution Education
At the beginning of the new millennium conflict resolution education is one of the fastest growing school reforms in the West.Conflict resolution educators provide basic communications skills necessary for survival in a postmodern world by helping individuals understand conflict dynamics and empowering them to use communication skills to manage peaceful relationships.Here the focus is upon interpersonal relations and systems that help disputing parties resolve their differences with the help of a third party.Approximately ten percent of schools in the United States have some sort of peer mediation program (Sandy, 2001). Conflict resolution educators teach human relations skills such as anger management, impulse control, emotional awareness, empathy development, assertiveness, and problem solving.Conflict resolution education provides students with peacemaking skills that they can use to manage their interpersonal conflicts but does not necessarily address the various kinds of civil, cultural, environmental, and global violence that take place outside schools.
Research studies conducted on conflict resolution education in the United States show that it can have a positive impact on school climate (Johnson & Johnson, 1991) and achievement (Bickmore, 2001).Studies have reported a decrease in aggressiveness, violence, dropout rates, student suspensions, and victimized behavior (Jones & Kmitta, 2000).Conflict resolution education results include improved academic performance, increased cooperation, and positive attitudes toward school (Bodine & Crawford, 1999).
A recent variation of this approach to peace education is violence prevention education, whose goal is to get youth to understand that anger is a normal emotion that can be handled positively.To counter hostile behaviors learned in the broader culture, peace educators teach anger management techniques that help students avoid fights and resolve angry disputes in their immediate lives. Cultural images of violence in the mass media are both disturbing and intriguing to young people, many of whom live in homes that are violent. Strong research connects the viewing of violence on television and higher rates of aggressive and violent behavior (Bok, 1998).Violent behavior patterns are learned in families that practice corporal punishment and are neglectful of children. Peace educators use violence prevention programs to teach students how to manage their anger and how to assert themselves to avoid becoming bullies or victims.The prime generator of these programs, Prothrow-Stith, describes them, “The point of the violence prevention course is to provide these young people with alternatives to fighting.The first three lessons of the ten-session curriculum provide adolescents with information about violence and homicide.”(1991: 176)
During the twentieth century peace education grew and expanded beyond an initial concern about the horrors of modern warfare.At the beginning of the twenty-first century various forms of peace education are practiced widely in schools and colleges.Scientists teach about environmental conservation.Historians discuss the impact of peace movements upon history.Teachers at secondary and tertiary levels teach about global order and disorder.Primary and secondary schools have adopted various aspects of conflict resolution education to create safe school environments and give their pupils important skills to help them manage their anger. Teachers are also using dialogue groups, retreats, and exchange programs to educate their students about different cultures and inculcate tolerant attitudes towards the ‘other.’School psychologists are trying to help children in war torn areas and violent neighborhoods recover fro posttraumatic stress disorders.All these different educational efforts are attempting to cure the sickness and pain caused by violent human behavior.
These different approaches to peace education— international education, human rights education, development education, environmental education, and conflict resolution education-- are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can complement each other, so that a teacher concerned about the destruction of the Amazon rain forest could teach about the rights of the indigenous people living there, and the problems of structural poverty that require people to cut down trees in order to make a living.That teacher could also point to the role of international non-government organizations in bringing awareness of these problems to the minds of political leaders and their constituents.
The path to civilization requires more than the acquisition of material goods.Advanced industrial nations may provide riches to the privileged few, but that standard of living is based upon a history of conquest, wars and violence against nature.The effects of this destruction are being felt throughout this world where societies are grappling with deep-rooted conflicts, in poor countries like Sri Lanka, torn by ethnic strife, and in wealthy countries like Germany, dealing with racial hatreds. Perhaps citizens in these countries are so violent because they do not know about the various theories about peace that have been developed within the growing field of peace studies with its many branches.Schools that teach a history based upon military conquest are not providing students with sophisticated knowledge of peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding strategies.
Peace education addresses one of the most difficult human dilemmas: How can people live in peace? Throughout this past century peace educators have created academic content, practical skills, and peaceful pedagogies that could help the citizens of the world produce peace. In spite of these efforts, not all schools and colleges embrace the study of peace. Pressured to produce well educated students who can compete in competitive corporate cultures, many educators ignore one of the greatest challenges that face the human race: How to live peacefully and environmentally responsibly on planet Earth? Peace education has found a niche in some schools because of the practical approach peace educators offer to the problems of violence in schools. Under the leadership of academics concerned about rising levels of violence in the postmodern world, peace education is taught on some college campuses. It is also embraced by peace movement activists eager to challenge the structures of militarism that cause so much suffering in this world.
Banta, B. (1993). Peaceful Peoples: An Annotated Bibliography. (Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press). [This book summarizes research studies on peaceful societies.]
Bickmore, K. (2002). Good training is not enough: Research on peer mediation program implementation. In I. Harris & J. Synott (Eds.), Social Alternatives: Peace Education for a New Century (special edition), 21(1), 33-38. [This article describes a research study in the Cleveland Public Schools that had a positive effect in reducing violence in schools that had adopted conflict resolution education programs.)
Bodine, R., & Crawford, D. (1999).The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: A Guide to Building Quality Programs in Schools.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. [This book is meant for teachers, providing descriptions of how and why they should implement conflict resolution programs in schools.]
Bok, S. (1998).Mayhem: Violence as Public Entertainment.Reading, MA: Perseus Books. [This book presents complex perspectives on the impact of media violence.]
Boulding, E. (2000) Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. [This book describes utopian efforts to create peaceful communities and families.]
Bowers, C. A. (1993).Education, Cultural Myths, and the Ecological Crisis.Albany, NY: SUNY Press. [This book contains a radical critique of western education that takes promotes destruction of the environment.]
Comenius, J. (1642/1969).A Reformation of Schools (S. Harlif, Trans.).Menston (Yorks): Scholar Press. [This book presents an approach to education that promotes universal knowledge in vernacular schools.]
Diaz, J. C. (1979). “Reflections on Education for Justice and Peace.” Bulletin of Peace Proposals, Vol. 10, no. 4: 374- 381. [This article argues that peace education should address unjust situations and not just be concerned with the elimination of war.]
Gregor, T. (1996). “Introduction” In Thomas Gregor, ed.A Natural History of Peace (pp.ix-xxiii). Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. [This article summarizes the content of a book that overviews anthropologists’ understandings about the human struggle to achieve and maintain peaceful societies.]
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Jones, T., & Kmitta, D. (2000).Does it Work: The Case for Conflict Resolution Education in our Nation's Schools.Washington, DC: CREnet. [This collection of essays describes the state of the art of evaluation of conflict resolution education programs at the end of the twentieth century.]
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Lantieri, L. and Patti, J. (1996) Waging Peace in our Schools. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. [This book provides arguments for using conflict resolution in urban schools.]
Mische, P. (1989). Ecological security and the need to reconceptualize sovereignty. Alternatives, XIV(4), 389-428. [This article criticizes overemphasis upon using military forces to achieve security and argues for an alternative approach to security based upon environmental sustainability.]
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Mushakoji, K. (1974). “Peace Research and Education in a Global Perspective.”In Christolph Wulf, ed. Handbook on Peace Education (pp. 300-314). Germany: Frankfurt/Main: International Peace Research Association. [This article argues for understanding the global system as a way to achieve peace.]
Nastase, A. (1982). “Education for Disarmament: A Topical Necessity” Teachers College Record, Vol. 84, no. 1: 184-192. [This article argues for peace education as a way to convince people about the dangers of the arms race during the Cold War between the United states and the Soviet Union.]
Prothrow-Stith, D. (1991).Deadly Consequences.New York: Harper Collins. [This book by a health educator argues for teaching anger management skills to young people as a way of preventing adolescent violence.]
Reardon, B. (1982).Militarism, Security and Peace Education: A guide for concerned citizens Valley Forge, PA: United Ministries in Education. [This book urges opposition to patriarchal policies that lead to war and destruction.]
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Salomon, G. (2002).The nature of peace education: Not all programs are created equal. In G. Salomon & B. Nevo (Eds.), Peace Education: The Concepts, Principles, and Practices around the World. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. [This article argues for an approach to peace education based upon breaking down enemy images.]
Sandy, S. (2001).Conflict resolution in schools: "Getting there."Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 19(2), 237-250. [This article provides an overview of the development of conflict resolution education programs in the United States.]
vor Staehr, G. (1974). Education for Peace and Social Justice.In Christolph Wulf, ed. Handbook on Peace Education (pp. 295-311). Germany: Frankfurt/Main: International Peace Research Association. [This article defines early peace education programs in Scandinavian countries.]
Wells, H.G.(1927). Outline of History. New York: MacMillan Press. [These two volumes describe how violent humans have been.]
World Health Organization (2002). World Report on Violence and Health. www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention. [This book describes some dominant health challenges throughout the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century.]