Peace Education: The Concept, Principles, and Practices around the World

Peace Education: The Concept, Principles, and Practices around the World

Peace Education: The Concept, Principles, and Practices around the World

Peace Education: The Concept, Principles, and Practices around the World

Synopsis

Peace Education:

• presents views on the nature of peace education, its history, and relationships to neighboring fields;

• examines relevant psychological and pedagogical principles, such as the contact experience, conciliation through personal story telling, reckoning with traumatic memories, body-work, and the socio-emotional aspects of reconciliation; and

• introduces an array of international examples from countries, such as Croatia, Northern Ireland, Israel, South Africa, Rwanda, and the United States in order to generalize lessons learned.

A "must have" for all those thinking, planning, conducting, and studying peace education programs, it is intended for scholars, students, and researchers interested in peace and conflict resolution in higher education and volunteer and public organizations. Its cross disciplinary approach will appeal to those in social and political psychology, communication, education, religion, political science, sociology, and philosophy.

Excerpt

The many local wars, conflicts, and intergroup religious, ethnic, and tribal tensions among different groups are said to be the sign of our times. These wars and conflicts have at least two major components—the political-economical and the psychosocial. These two components are in a tight reciprocal relationship, affecting each other and providing meaning for each other. One cannot think of political tensions and conflicts without their psychosocial underpinnings of collective hatred, distrust, fear, and hope. It would be equally difficult to think of the latter without understanding the historical, economical, and political aspects of a conflict, including adversaries' desires to reach independence, claims for land, struggle for self-determination, or fight for equality.

While politicians and civil leaders are struggling, for better or worse, with the political-economical aspects of conflicts, educators, psychologists, clergymen, and other concerned individuals address themselves to the human-psychological sides of conflicts. Employing a variety of means and approaches that range from shared seminars to courses on peace and from collaborative artistic projects to joint soul- searching encounters, they try to cultivate understanding between adversaries, reconciliation, mutual tolerance, skills and dispositions of conflict resolution, and the healing of past wounds. Indeed, the field—often called Peace Education—is very active all over the world, involving large numbers of both school children and adults, professionals (teachers, social workers), and political leaders.

However, although very active, particularly in regions of continuous conflict such as Northern Ireland or Israel, the scholarly aspects of the field of peace education lag somewhat behind practice. As Galtung, one of the founders of the field, once commented, there is more research on peace than peace action, but when it comes to peace education, the converse is the case: There is more action, all over the world and under a range of labels, accompanied by what appears to be insufficient scholarship.

This relative paucity of scholarship results, first, in some conceptual confusion: what is peace education and how does it differ from its next of kin such as conflict resolution or multicultural education? Second, insufficient scholarship is often reflected in well-intended but not very clear goals for peace education: What should its attainable goals be ? What can realistically be attained and what conditions have . . .

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