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PEACE in Action

Supporting Peace Education Worldwide


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Building a Culture of Peace
Supporting Peace Education Worldwide

This article introduces three interrelated global initiatives in peace education coordinated by Global Education Associates:

  • The International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE),
  • Community-based Institutes on Peace Education (CIPE), and
  • the Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE).

International Institute on Peace Education

The International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) was founded in 1982 and has since been held annually in different parts of the world. The first IIPE was held at Teachers College, Columbia University and organized by Professors Betty A. Reardon, Willard Jacobson and Douglas Sloan in cooperation with the United Ministries in Education.

The IIPE is a multicultural and cooperative learning opportunity that has brought together educators and professionals from around the world to learn with and from each other in short-term learning communities that model principles of critical, participatory, peace pedagogy. The Institute is an opportunity for networking and community building, and it has spawned a variety of collaborative research projects and peace education initiatives at the local, regional, and international levels. The International Peace Bureau, in nominating IIPE for the 2005 UNESCO Peace Education Prize described it as “probably the most effective agent for the introduction of peace education to more educators than any other single non-governmental agency.”

The objectives of each particular institute are rooted in the needs and transformational concerns of the host region. More widely, the social purposes of the IIPE are directed toward the development of the field of peace education in theory, practice, and advocacy. The purposes of the IIPE are threefold:

  1. To aid in the development of the substance of peace education through exploration of new and challenging themes to contribute to the on-going development of the field;
  2. To build strategic international institutional alliances among NGOs, universities and agencies involved in peace education, increasing the benefits of shared expertise on substance and practice, as well as advancing educational reform initiatives; and
  3. To encourage regional cooperation toward the maximization of resources, cooperation in pedagogical and substantive developments, and increasing regional perspectives on the global issues that comprise the content of peace education.

In August 2007 the IIPE celebrated its 25 th anniversary with a special symposium held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This symposium was an opportunity to reflect upon the past 25 years of the development of peace education around the world, and to discuss what we need to learn and do in the next 25 years to realize some of the changes we wish to see in the world.

The symposium featured demonstrations of lessons learned, developed and practiced by IIPE participants and others. It was attended by more than 400 formal and non-formal educators, as well as UN and NGO personnel. One of the featured prominent speakers, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, commented in her opening address “your mission to use education for peace in its broadest sense reflects the evolution that has taken place over the past few decades in the way we define collective security.”

In 2008, the IIPE will be held in Haifa, Israel hosted by the Jewish-Arab Center and the Center for Research on Peace Education (CERPE) of the University of Haifa and the Center of Critical Pedagogy of Kibbutzim College of Education.

IIPE 2008 will explore the theme of "Critical Pedagogy: Educating for Justice and Peace." It will deal with issues of dialogical education for social change and the intersection of peace education and critical pedagogy. Participants will be asked to examine the complexity of peace education issues in an unequal society. The theme will strive to explore goals of equal education, schooling despite the pressure of violent conflict, economic justice, the challenges of environmental violence, structural violence, and ties of politics and education. The IIPE core inquiry will focus on the concept of education for a culture of peace and the social change needed to achieve it.

Community-Based Institutes on Peace Education

The Community-Based Institutes on Peace Education (CIPE) initiative was developed in 2005 to address the lack of formal peace education training opportunities, and to increase locally based support for educators and educational planners to serve the growing demand for the type of learning that the IIPE offers for educators from all sectors of society. Over the years, the IIPE has been successful at nurturing peace education learning communities; however, as an internationally based program, it is not adequately designed to meet local needs.

Thus, CIPEs were established as sustainable and recurring learning opportunities that enable formal and non-formal educators in local communities to learn with and from each other about "the role and possibilities for education in the prevention of deadly conflict; the rethinking of global security; preparing individuals for engaged, democratic citizenship; and the realization of human rights, social justice, and ecological balance." (CIPE Organizer's Manual, p. 14). The CIPE has six interrelated strategic goals:

  • Prepare educators in culturally and contextually relevant knowledge and methodologies for teaching for peace and security;
  • Provide community building opportunities and support for formal and non-formal peace educators, grassroots initiatives and educational policy reforms;
  • Provide opportunities for local peace educators to dialogue with the global community;
  • Increase opportunities for formal research on the impact of peace education teacher training, initiatives and interventions; and
  • Encourage global dialogue and resource sharing through an interactive website (Peace Education Online Community), thereby connecting local learning communities with the existing global networks of peace education professionals.

CIPE learning communities are linked with each other to establish a more systematic, deliberate and vibrant peace education movement worldwide. Through the sustained engagement of these learning communities, and in solidarity with kindred groups, the creation of a more peaceful and just world is made more possible.

In 2007 the first CIPEs were officially organized by former hosts and participants of the IIPE, with assistance and cooperation from the IIPE Coordinators in their local communities. Each CIPE program was unique, designed to address locally relevant issues and concerns, drawing upon local human resources, enlisting the cooperation of local institutions, and conducted in the local language. CIPEs have thus far been established in Colombia, India, Peru, the Philippines, and the Ukraine.

“Learning Communities”

The IIPE and CIPEs are “learning communities.” Learning communities are intentionally designed spaces where people become engaged in learning toward a common purpose. They are a space in which we enter collectively into the common inquiry of how education may be an agent of social change.

In the space of these learning communities, we ask ourselves: What needs to be changed? How should that change take place? Who should be involved in making those changes? What do we need to learn to do it? What does that learning look like?

To answer these questions, the learning is conducted via a process of learning with and from one another. This idea seems simple enough, but it is a process foreign to most of our experiences. Consider how the problems of the world are typically solved. Politics usually has little interest in change, being conducted in a mode of competition, of winners and losers. The institution of politics has become one, if not the largest, contributor to the system of violence; it often exemplifies and magnifies all that is bad in our social relations, and it classifies citizenry into power relations, robbing individual citizens of their uniqueness and depriving them of their dignity.

Most of our formal educational experiences have prepared us to engage in the world in a similar fashion. The challenge we are confronted with is how to prepare people to conduct the politics of change in a different mode — in a learning mode. Nurturing a space for authentic community “learning” is how the CIPE approaches this problem because social change, we have observed, is a process best arrived at and sustained communally.

In the IIPE and CIPE communities we encourage the use of learning processes which help nurture individuals' capacities of reflection, openness, cooperation, listening, social & political engagement, empathy, and action. When people engage in this process of communal learning, they begin to challenge and inquire into their world views. The community finds new ways to communicate and new ways to relate to one another; new, collective forms of wisdom and knowledge often emerge.

Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE)

There is a constantly growing global network of peace educators who are participants in the Hague Appeal for Peace Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE). The GCPE was founded in 1999 as a result of the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference (see special section in this issue on the Hague Appeal for Peace). The GCPE is an international network that promotes peace education among schools, families and communities to transform the culture of violence into a culture of peace. The GCPE has two goals:

  1. to build public awareness and political support for the introduction of peace education into all spheres of education, including non-formal education, in all schools throughout the world, and
  2. to promote the education of all teachers to teach for peace.

The GCPE publishes a monthly email-based newsletter with articles and news as to how and where the GCPE network is active and growing. It includes a monthly introductory letter from a member of the GCPE; reports from the field chronicling successes and challenges; profiles of peace educators; listing of events, conferences, and trainings in peace education from around the world; new publications in the field; job postings; and occasional action alerts. In a separate article, we report on some peace education activities in various countries taken from the GCPE E-Newsletter.

Summary

The vision of the IIPE, CIPE, and GCPE are built upon the possibilities elicited through transformative learning and learning in community. There are many obstacles that impede the possibilities for the necessary preparation of educators who are desperately seeking the knowledge and skills to teach for peace in their communities. The CIPE, IIPE and GCPE seek to address these problems through fostering communities of learners who seek to realize their collective potential in working toward a common purpose. These communities are designed to help prepare educators with the knowledge, skills and capacities to engage in transforming the structural, cultural, political, and educational obstacles to peace at all levels of human interaction.

For more information about the IIPE and CIPE please visit [www.i-i-p-e.org]. To sign up to receive the Global Campaign for Peace Education monthly newsletter, sign up at: [www.tc.edu/PeaceEd/newsletter].

Tony Jenkins is Co-Director of the Peace Education Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, and Program Coordinator of the Global Education Associates.



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