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Peace Education

Peace education can occur in the home, at school, through religious practice and in the community. Nonetheless, children often have difficulty making the link between what peaceful behavior is and how to act for a more peaceful world. Thus, it is imperative that children engage in activities that support their creativity and give them a voice in building cultures of peace. For this reason, it is essential that teachers, parents, community and religious leaders support their children in the peace education process. This can be done by teaching values and attitudes consistent with peace education, brainstorming about the many meanings of peace, developing ideas with children about how peace can be built by people like themselves and allowing children to have practical experiences with peace and peace education.

More Background

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated the decade of 2001 to 2010 as the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence. According to the UN, building a culture of peace has been defined as “developing and adopting a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations” (UN Resolutions A/RES/52/13 : Culture of Peace and A/RES/53/243, Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace). UNESCO stresses that peace and building cultures of peace are critical areas of study for both children and adolescents. Accordingly, UNESCO and the Hague Appeal for Peace have called for a global commitment to peace education in both formal and non-formal environments.
Children around the world are constantly being confronted with images and experiences of conflict, war and violence and are not exposed enough to the idea of peace and non-violence. Peace education seeks to bridge this gap and “does not simply mean learning about conflicts and how to resolve them peacefully, but involves learning methods which are participatory and encourages young people to express their own ideas and cooperate with each other to achieve common goals” (National Peace Council, UK).

Websites for Peace Education and Lesson Plan Suggestions

The United Nations “CyberSchoolBus” gives a good overview on the aims, means and tools of peace education and offers age specific lesson plans.

“Culture of Peace: A Declaration on a Culture of Peace”

UNESCO’s Culture of Peace Program

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, available in English and German.

Hague Appeal for Peace - Youth-links to resources and materials on peace education including Time to Abolish War: a youth agenda for peace and justice.

International Peace Bureau’s Global Campaign for Peace Education

Teaching Tolerance - Links to several practical projects, which can be implemented in schools worldwide.

Betterworldlinks.org - Peace education resource with links to many other websites and resources available in English and German.

The Strange War - Stories for a Culture of Peace. Links to a number of stories written by Martin Auer, available in both English and German.

Please Contribute
If You would like to contribute lesson plans or links on peace education to this section, please contact peacetreasury@peaceinaction.net!

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Pia Purzel