Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Higher Education and Peace

Magazine article UNESCO Courier

Higher Education and Peace

Article excerpt

Higher education and peace THE risk of a nuclear conflict is the over-riding problem facing humanity today and efforts to prevent nuclear annihilation should be the first priority of peace and disarmament education.

These were two of the major points that emerged from a recent International Consultation on ways of improving higher education in the field of peace and respect for human rights and the rights of peoples. Organized by Unesco and the Greek National Commission for Unesco, the meeting was held in Athens from 20 to 24 January 1986, and was attended by leading scientists, specialists in the social and human sciences, and in higher education from 17 countries of Unesco's European region, Latin America, Africa, the Arab Region and Asia.

The participants, among whom was Professor Bernard Lown (Nobel Peace Prize 1985; see article opposite page), described experiences in their countries and exchanged views on ways of informing students about problems relating to peace. They discussed how to teach about the dangers of a nuclear war, the arms race, and military uses of science and technology, as well as how to increase the role that students, future researchers and decision-makers should play in finding solutions to problems in these areas.

It was pointed out that the risks of nuclear war and the consequences of the arms race extend to the developing world: some Third World countries already have nuclear weapons, while others are afraid of countries which possess them. At the same time there have been many wars since 1945 using conventional weapons, and the prevention of such wars and the constant violations of human rights should also remain priority areas. The reduction of military arsenals is a prerequisite for economic and social development for mankind as a whole and especially for Third World countries.

Stressing the urgent need for radical improvements in higher education on these issues, participants made a number of suggestions about the general approach, aims, content and forms of international education. …

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