Education, Telecommunications and the Arts

Article excerpt

"The power of creation seems to favor human beings who love life unconditionally, and I am certainly one who does!" Arthur Rubinstein

Education provides an important context and channel for the respect and love of humankind and of life. The dilemmas that face the education system are a microcosm of the contradictions and struggles of the whole of society, and the attitude towards education has an important effect on society as a whole. In the light of the recent increase of fundamentalism, terrorism and suicide bombings that we are witnessing in various parts of the world, the promotion of the "unconditional" love of life and of humanity through education, is of central importance.

In trying to establish the dynamics that mark the interplay between education and society, we have to take into consideration that for this symbiotic interplay to take place fruitfully, a transformation of some of the aims and methods of traditional education is needed. The major one is the creation and establishment of an effective global peace culture through all the channels and levels of education that would stress the humane aspects of respect and love of life and humankind. Schools and colleges are suitable forums where ideals, culture, identity, ideologies and world views are formed. Curricula should reflect and explore the central wends and events that mark our era, in the light of a broad and deep ethical and humanistic peace culture education.

Culture has in large been transnational, and it is likely to become more so as high technology communication links improve and travel increases. The innovations that are rapidly transforming the techniques of the arts, have gained a tremendous boost with the use of the television, satellite, Internet, and the computer. These communication tools are indeed bringing about new changes in the very definition and conception of the arts, culture and literature, and they can become a major force in "unviolencing" the global village.

Several of the various educational trends and programs in many parts of the world, reflect the tension between preservation of traditional values on the one hand, and the need for change, on the other. They also often reflect a struggle over what forces, ideologies, and religious influences, shall establish leadership over the new generation, and over how one is to define and assert national identity in the face of the new trends of globalization. Colleges and universities in some parts of the world are ideal recruiting grounds for fundamentalist extremists. However, if colleges and universities become open and attuned to developing "Peace Studies" and "Peace Culture" curricula, fundamentalist influences and violent trends, could be abated and in time would disappear. This needed ethical and humanistic influence to counteract the propagation of fundamentalist attitudes and ideologies, could be greatly helped by the active and consistent use of telecommunications. Educational peace culture satellites could greatly help in getting to the minds of the would be suicide bombers and introducing harmonious peace culture values before and instead of extremist views and notions that are anti-life and anti--humanity.

Culture involves and addresses all ages and all classes all over the globe. Even when the cultures vary widely, there are always some common desirable humanistic peace values and features that apply to most of them. One of the most important things in the teaching of pluralism and in the introduction of multiculturalism in education, at all levels, is for the teachers and parents to deeply understand the crucial necessity of establishing an educational cultural peace agenda that excludes violence, extremism and fundamentalism. This would promote the crucial necessity of the creation of a solid humanistic culture of peace that would counteract terrorism since the 11th September horrific tragedy, and would ensure the sustainability of humankind and of the earth. …