EDUCATION FOR PEACE:  TOWARDS A MILLENNIUM OF WELL-BEING

 Toh Swee-Hin (S.H.Toh)
Director, Centre for International Education & Development
Faculty of Education, University of  Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Paper for the Working Document of the International Conference on Culture of Peace and Governance (Maputo, Mozambique, 1-4 September, 1997)

Introduction: A Global Yearning for Peace

Amidst the pain , suffering and hardships  endured by  billions of human beings on planet Earth today,  countless voices   can still be heard and  many inspiring actions witnessed that collectively reflect a global yearning for peace. Exemplars in recent times include [1]:

• the patient but courageous efforts of   ordinary Filipino peoples to create zones of peace free from  armed conflicts between the Government and armed insurgent groups;

• the building of grassroots communities  among rural and urban poor  to meet the goals of  self-reliant, just and sustainable development  that would provide    alternatives to the dominant inequitable, unsustainable and growth-fixated modernization paradigm;

• women in Asia, Africa and Latin/Central America struggling for their human rights and for  gender -empowered development that overcomes traditional or modernization-imposed inequities advantaging   male counterparts;

• teachers, parents, citizens and students in North and increasingly South contexts advocating and building  school environments free from  violence;

• peace activists and educators in South Africa who were already  reconciling conflicting socio-political groups and after apartheid continued to heal the inherited bitter inter-racial divisions;

• Kayapo  tribal peoples in the Amazon, as well as indigenous peoples movements worldwide, struggling for their  rights to self-determination, autonomy and above all cultural survival in the face of development aggression;

• the collaboration of  workers, educators, social activists,  and  concerned citizens from Mexico, USA and Canada to lobby governments and corporations to improve working conditions, human rights and environmental impact of  industries in the  export-processing zones spawned by NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association).

 As the world approaches the beginning of a new millennium, these exemplars  clearly show that the human spirit  remains undiminished in the face of  multiple conflicts and challenges steeped in all forms of violence and peacelessness. Indeed, concomitant with the globalization  of world economics, politics and social order controlled by powerful   states and organizations,  there is an emergent global network and comunity  struggling for a globalization from below. Such an alternative globalization speaks not in the language of growth, global competitiveness, transnational investments, free trade, and other neoliberal axioms, but rather in terms of  an empowered civil society of active citizens,  people-centred development, sustainability, global democracy, human rights, intercultural respect/harmony,  and a simple quality of life. Thus whether at the Rio Environment and Development Conference, the Social Summit on Development in Copenhagen, the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights,  the Fourth Women’s World Conference in Beijing, the G7 Summit in Denver,  or the APEC summit in  Manila, the peoples’ voices are simultaneously heard through the parallel NGO and peoples’ organizations (POs) meetings. Furthermore, consistent with their charters,   United Nations agencies such as UNESCO, UNDP , UNICEF, ILO , UNCHR and many others actively promote avenues for developing consensus on peacebuilding and for concrete programs or projects that seek to support this global yearning for peace. As this and  earlier UNESCO international forums [2] symbolize and advocate, a culture of peace is slowly being weaved and nurtured across the world.   And in this process of weaving a culture of peace, the role of education is  undoubtedly vital   as this paper will endeavour to clarify and justify.

 Peace Education: A Holistic Paradigm

 In trying to conceptualize peace education, it is useful at the outset to acknowledge its complexity and multidimensionality. The complex and multiple meanings,goals and purposes of  peace education   are rooted in the great variety of sources of inspiration, role-models and practices located in specific historical, social, cultural, economic and political contexts  [3]. Thus, a major strand has as its focus the long-standing albeit increasingly destructive problem of militarization and militarism [4].  The various peace or more specifically disarmament movements    across continents seek to build a world free from arms and where nations or groups  can learn to live together in relationships and structures based on values and principles of  nonviolence. Often, such movements can draw on local or indigenous belief or values systems (faith, spirituality) for guidance and inspiration.

 Another  long-standing expression of  educating and acting for a more peaceful  planet  is anchored in the concept of human rights  [5]. Although   it faces continual elaboration, a significant theory-practice gap and frequent challenge as to its validity,  humans rights received a strong affirmation of  its universality at the 1993 Vienna world conference,  While the Declaration noted the need to take into account specific social and cultural conditions, it is understood  that  cultural or social practices cannot justify human rights violations. Peace surely also means that the rights, dignities and freedoms inherent in all human beings be respected and promoted.

 A third substantive inspiration for peace education has emerged from the global struggles for peoples in both South and North against structural violence [6].  Unless the paradigm of development ensures that   peoples’ basic needs and quality of life are met under conditions of justice, equity, participation and sustainability, then a vast majority of human beings will  live marginalized and hence non-peaceful existences.  Peace as is often said, is not just the absence of war, although development educators clearly see the negative impact of  militarization on authentic human development.

 A fourth general  source for  peace education theory and practice is found in the broadly labeled field of international education [7], although a more focused term would be intercultural education. Through the work of United Nations and other educational and professional agencies., the goal of  building  more peaceful societies and international/ global order  is in part met by improving understanding and respect between and among diverse cultures/ethnic groups or nations. Eliminating racial, ethnic and cultural discrimination and intolerances  lays some essential bases for peaceful and harmonious relationships between peoples and nations.

 Last but not least, the vigorous environmental movement since the 70s has challenged all of humanity to live more peacefully with our natural environment [8].  Personal and social practices that inflict ecological destruction can only  undermine human survival in the present and among future generations. Indeed, conflicts arising out of  the competitive control, use and distribution of  environmental resources portent a new wave of peacelessness in the world today ruled by the logic of  growth and globalized competition.

 Each of these fields or movements dedicated to building  more peaceful futures for humanity and mother earth inevitably  have their own dynamics and “autonomy” in terms of   theory and practice, including  an educational dimension (viz disarmament education, education for nonviolence, human rights education, development education or education for social justice, education for international understanding, intercultural education, nonracist education, environmental education or education for sustainable development etc).   Each clearly has contributed to the overall vision and mission  of peace education. However, over time, there is also increasing recognition and consensus-building on the value of  sharing ideas and strategies, especially given the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of  the diversity of  problems and issues of  violence, conflicts and peacelessness.  Thus, educating for saving the  environment necessarily raises problems of  “development” which not only unsustainably exploits natural resources but also magnifies structural violence against vulnerable peoples , notably, the poor, women, children and indigenous peoples.  Education for disarmament  integrally overlaps with human rights education as militarized contexts usually violates the rights of diverse groups, not least civilians caught in the middle of armed conflicts or peoples living under repressive regimes. Education against discrimination of all forms need to understand the  multiple sources for the discrimination in terms of societal or even international injustices, human rights exclusions (e.g.women, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities), and modes of   “development” displacements.

 In sum, it is advocated here that a holistic paradigm of peace education is meaningfully built on the insights, analysis, practices and role-models that can be drawn from the diverse and increasingly convergent or at least consensus-building fields or movements of local, national and global transformation.  Today, when networks or communities of peace educators gather  whether at the grassroots or in international forums, there is a healthy dialogue and openness to an ever spiraling and complex framework of peace education [9]. A conception of the goals and purposes of peace education that is underpinned by the preferential option of  “unity in diversity” may therefore by stated as follows;

 Recognizing the interelatedness, interconnectedness and indivisibility of   a multidimensional  concept of peace, peace education   seeks through appropriate educational processes  to

• promote a critical understanding of the root causes of conflicts, violence and peacelessness in the world  across the full  diversity of issues and problems and from macro (national, regional, international, global) to micro ( local, interpersonal, personal) levels of life;

•and simultaneously develop an  empowered commitment to values, attitudes and skills for translating that understanding into  individual and societal action to transform  selves, families, communities, institutions, nations and world from a culture of war, violence and peacelessness to a  culture of peace and active nonviolence.

 Furthermore, as will be clarified through numerous exemplars, peace education   like its related movements and sources, is being  practiced in   all  contexts and levels of life. Educating for peace is  just as relevant and essential in formal classrooms of  basic level schools and tertiary or higher institutions of learning, as in nonformal or community contexts.  Indeed, as is argued later, both context or modes of peace education need to be seen as complementary and mutually reinforcing.  To express the legitimate wish that  today’s children  should from   the earliest age  form values and grow up to be adults oriented towards a culture of peace, should not however overlook the realities  that it is today’s adults (the parents and elders of  our youth) who are making and implementing policies which  often lay the seeds of  conflicts, violence and peacelessness.

 Likewise, peace education  needs to be   well spread among all sectors and levels of society and the global community (“world order”) if it is to be holistic in advocacy and transformation. It is true that those most marginalized by  violence and peacelessness need empowerment processes to understand their realities and to be motivated to peacefully transform their conditions and lives.  Yet, those not so marginalized and even those in positions of power need to be also reached by peace education, and hopefully their minds, heart and spirit also oriented toward  a culture of peace.   So with differences among sectors of societies , from women to men, from indigenous peoples or ethnic minorities  to  majority cultures, and from rural to urban groups, or across societies and civilizations (north, south, east ,west). Increasingly, too, peace education would endorse the efforts of  nongovernmental and peoples organizations to engage critically with official agencies including the political and bureaucratic sectors of government from local and national to international and global levels (e.g. IMF, World Bank and other aid agencies).  Such engagement if vigilant against the possibilities of co-optation, can play an educational and advocacy role in transforming official policies towards supporting  a culture of peace.

 Finally, conceptualizing peace education needs to  acknowledge the vital role played by those identified as being in peace research and peace action.   Through research, important data and analysis can emerge to give peace educators relevant knowledge for the   processes of education. This is not to imply of course that peace educators do not       research in their own right,  Peace education research  also provides useful understandings for more effective   educational    work.    On the other hand, peace action often does not happen without appropriate educational processes in line with the adage that good practice relies on good theory. At the same time, peace education as explained below needs to motivate learners towards action and transformation.  In a holistic paradigm, peace education  cannot simply divorce itself from   active nonviolent change.  Last but not least, peace education at its best is also action by virtue of its role in raising critical awareness in an empowering way.  Thinking critically and dialogically is   hence  seen not as passive learning but as  an active reconstruction of one’s understanding of the world as a prelude to transformation.

 Living with Justice and Compassion [10]

 Since the beginning of the modern era propelled by the industrial, technological and lately the information revolution, the dominant voices about human “progress” have envisioned and implemented  the concept of  “development” in  very specific ways.   While acknowledging the changing economic , political, social and even cultural conditions of nations and the world community over time and space, this modernization paradigm of “development” embraces some basic uninterrupted assumptions and themes , namely;  (a) the faith that economic growth especially via the free-market system is central to national and international development, producing goods and services that will trickle down to all citizens; (b)  the primary goal of  “development” is for all societies to catch up and become like the advanced industrialized mass-consumerist  nations of the North;  (c)  the “lack of development” in South societies  is largely   due to internal deficiencies such as the lack of capital, thriving free markets, modern infrastructures, advanced technologies, expertise, educated and skilled human resources, and even modern values rooted in individual entrepreneuralism , social mobility and modern democratic political systems;  and (d) the North can help the South overcome these deficiencies through channels of aid, trade and investments which collectively  integrate the South in the  growth-centred   global economy, marketplace and political order.  In recent years, these modernization themes have been  boosted even more vigorously by the forces of globalization and liberalization controlled by the powerful nation-states , transnational corporations and international agencies or regimes (e.g. IMF, World Bank, GATT/World Trade Organization, APEC, NAFTA) . 

 Yet, after several decades of “development” under the aegis of   the modernization paradigm,  the   realities of the heralded “progress” raise serious questions  about theory and practice.  As   the countless voices of ordinary peoples in marginalized and vulnerable contexts worldwide have passionately  revealed, together with the validating evidence of successive United Nations Human Development index reports and the work of grassroots NGOs and people’s organizations, that modernization and globalization have accentuated structural violence against the poor majorities. A number of modernization successes, especially the NICs, may be cited , but  within most societies, the income-wealth gaps have worsened between the economic, social and usually political elites and the marginalized sectors (peasants, fisherfolk, industrial and service labourers,  urban poor, child labour, indigenous peoples).  Structural injustices and economic exploitation have combined with undemocratic and elite-controlled political systems to undermine entitlements and  opportunities for the majorities to meet even their basic needs, resulting in needless hunger, ill-health, low life expectancy, homelessness, landlessness, un- or under-employment,  oppressive labour conditions and illiteracy. These structures and relationships of internal inequities within the South (and increasingly North as well) are interconnected  simultaneously with international and global structures of injustices whereby the North disproportionately benefit from  regimes of trade, investment and even aid.  A plethora of  global agencies (especially the IMF and World Bank system, transnational corporations and trading/financial regimes) nowadays support  North-South inequities with policies of structural adjustment, inequitable trading/financial  relationships and the crippling debt trap.

 Confronted with these realities of  a structurally violent paradigm of  “development”, ordinary peoples , NGOs, peoples organizations, social institutions (e.g. religious, education),  global networks of advocates, and some critical political and governmental representatives  have been mobilizing and implementing alternative thinking and strategies for a development paradigm that one acronym PEACE refers to as participatory, equitable, appropriate (in values and technology), critically empowering (conscientizing) and ecologically sustainable.  Education for such more peaceful development that meets as its central priority the basic needs of    all citizens and rethinks the goals of high consumerist technologically advanced “progress” is clearly a major pillar of peace education as seen in the following selected exemplars from diverse regions: 

 • Since 1972, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee(BRAC) has grown to become the largest NGO in the country, involving some 350,000 poor landless rural peoples in 3,200 villages. Through conscientization processes, BRAC has empowered its members to develop self-reliant income-generating projects, primary healthcare services and practices, functional adult literacy and nonformal primary education programs,    paralegal skills, and credit cooperatives.

• Initially in Burkina Faso and later in Senegal and Togo, the Six S’s(Se Servir de la Saison Seche en Savanne et au Sahel) NGO has educated and motivated poor farmers to draw on local and appropriate modern knowledge and resources to cooperate in   developing small-scale irrigation, erosion-control, fruit orchards, and  village grain facilities.

• Through critical education and organizing projects, poor Filipino ricefarmers and fisherfolk have empowered themselves via the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement(PRRM) to substitute ecologically destructive farming or fishing methods and inequitable economic relationships with  sustainable techiques and just sharing of benefits (e.g. organic inputs, mangrove reforestation, artificial coral reefs, cooperative marketing).

•In India, the Working Women’s Forum has facilitated over 150,000 poor women workers to form a grassroots union to overcome moneylender  and employer exploitation, as well as gender and caste discrimination.  Using strategies of empowerment education, people-controlled credit and health  services,   mass demonstrations and political lobbying, the WWF  presents a counter to top-down “development” strategies that often end up benefiting local and national elites, or males as a social group.

• In the Philippines, the Freedom from Debt NGO has helped to raise consciousness of Filipino peoples to their nation’s entrapment in the global debt machinery, including IMF structural adjustment programs, and to lobby for policies of debt-cancellation or at least debt-capping to free up the national budget for meeting the basic needs of Filipinos.  Other networks of Filipino NGOs and POs (e.g. National Peace Conference, CODE-NGO) similarly educate and empower citizens to challenge Government and politicians to design and implement  not just growth-first  and globalization policies but also a  “social reform agenda” that  delivers social and economic justice to all marginalized sectors.

• In many North societies, a whole spectrum of  aid and development NGOs have grown over the decades to promote links of solidarity with South peoples, NGOs and POs engaged in grassroots peace-oriented development; to advocate for alternative aid, trade and other foreign policies of their Governments that would reverse North-South inequities; and to challenge global organizations and globalization forces (IMF, TNCs, WTO, trade blocs)  that  further marginalize poor and vulnerable majorities. The development/global education being undertaken by such North-based NGOs raise critical consciousness of North peoples about their responsibilities and accountabilities in world poverty and underdevelopment, including rethinking unsustainable consumerist lifestyles. I n some cases, official aid agencies have also supported NGOs in development education work as well as grassroots empowerment projects.

• In formal educational   systems worldwide, especially in North contexts, programs and projects have infused  curricula and pedagogies with structural violence issues and problems  and to critically empower teachers and learners to participate in North-South solidarity activities and actions for building a just and sustainable  world system. One Canadian high-school youth, Craig Keilburger, for instance, has initiated a student-centred awareness and action project to advocate for governmental, corporate and consumer  policies which would overcome the exploitative conditions of millions of child labourers.

 The above exemplars of  peace education focus most directly on the peacelessness, structural violence and conflicts stemming from the dominant modernization paradigm of “development”.   They demonstrate well the hopeful signs that many human beings in both marginalized and advantaged positions in life can  be moved by  critical education to  challenge unjust societal, international and global orders and to try to create alternative more peaceful paradigms of  living and inter-relating within and across nations.  They also reflect the need to seek allies within official and government circles who may be empathetic to transformation towards a culture of peace.

 Dismantling the Culture of War [11]

 In the post-Cold War era, where a  “peace dividend” was  supposedly to be reaped from the reduction in superpower tensions and arms race, nevertheless tragic symptoms of a culture of war  abound  yielding  untold suffering, hardships, pain and death .  Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Chechyna, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Liberia,  Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Peru , Columbia, and again  Cambodia, are but some grim reminders of the willingness and ease by which  nations and especially groups within nations resort to armed violence to settle conflicts and disputes. As the latest UN Human Development Report noted, such predominantly internally-based armed conflicts(civil wars, guerrilla wars, separatist movements, ethnic violence over government or territory) have caused the deaths of one million people in the past five years and of  some 2 million children in the past decade, and hundreds of  millions of  displaced peoples (46 million in 1995, including 16 million refugees ). Furthermore, 110 million deadly landmines remain undetonated in 68 countries.  Slowly, some societies are also painfully recovering from  the ravages of  internal wars and armed conflicts settled through negotiation and political settlement , although Cambodia’s present crisis and the troubled middle east peace process illustrates the difficulties of attaining  sustainable peace.

 Clearly, in the face of  these ongoing manifestations of a culture of war, there continues to be a great need for peace education     that  focuses on nonviolent resolution of armed conflicts and disputes. A specific dimension of such  disarmament education and advocacy lies in the campaign to abolish the arms trade that fuels the engines of wars while diverting scarce national resources into weapons instead into meeting basic human needs. Furthermore, the culture of war not only persists in such “macro” contexts, but  also in the more “micro” spheres of life in all societies. Domestic violence and physically harmful practices at interpersonal, familial, institutional and community levels have also been challenged by nonformal and formal educational campaigns and programs, as has the proliferation of gun ownership and a deepening vigilante mentality in many North societies.   The role of media, other cultural and social agencies (e.g. entertainment, schooling) and even the toy industry likewise  are demystified by peace educators for their  explicit or indirect support of  a culture of war and physical violence.   As the following exemplars show, the task of dismantling a culture of war is both complex and challenging,  but nevertheless project hopeful signposts for  nonviolent  futures:

 • While governments and combatant parties  at national and international levels have shown some willingness to negotiate peace settlements to end wars and armed conflicts, the increasing role of citizen peacemakers in the peaceful resolution and transformation of conflicts needs to be acknowledged as inspiring role-models in peace education. Whether it be the Buddhist-inspired 1993 Walk for Peace and Reconciliation in Cambodia to empower Cambodians to work towards a peaceful post-civil war future; or  the Coalition for Peace and other  Philippines peacebuilding networks that worked with grassroots peoples initiatives in creating peace zones as well in advocating for peacetalks between Government and the National Democratic Front; mediation efforts to resolve armed conflicts in Sudan or Kenya or inter-communal dialogues in Israel and Northern Ireland; and the vital role of peoples’ participation in shaping national peace accords in South Africa or Nicaragua -- critical education and empowerment of ordinary citizens to be active in the peacebuilding process has been  vital in the successful steps towards building nonviolent societies.

• Project Ploughshares and other NGO-led campaigns to abolish the arms trade have educated and mobilized citizens in some arms-producing societies to demand policies from their governments and industries for reducing and eliminating the sale of weapons across  borders. Rather than  reinforce a culture of death and violence, countries should be investing in life and nonviolence (e.g. conversion of arms industries to civilian production; total ban on production and sale of landmines; other arms reduction treaties; control of  horizontal nuclear proliferation in the post-Cold war era);

• As armed conflicts and wars are being waged and even after cessation of hostilities, there is little doubt the one most severely affected sector are the children, innocently caught not only in the middle but increasingly recruited as child soldiers. A post-armed conflict challenge for peace education  is therefore not just the physical rehabilitation  of traumatized and scarred children  but also their psychological and emotional healing. In the Philippines, NGO-run children rehabilitation centers  seek to gently help children regain trust and faith in a culture of peace. On the other hand, armed forces personnel are increasingly educated to empathize with the suffering of children in the Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CISAC) educational program of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights. Likewise   through UNICEF auspices, school teachers have also received peace-oriented educational training for responding to the needs of CISAC.

• In  many formal schooling systems,  especially in North but also increasingly in South contexts, the integration of nonviolence principles in policies, programs, curricula and teaching-learning environments has expanded in recent decades. Responding to heightened concerns  over   attitudes, conduct  and  relationships among   members of school communities (students, teachers, administrators) which sanction a culture of violence (e.g. bullying, assaults, corporal punishment, “gang” fighting, teacher victimization,), these programs essentially promote values and practices of conflict resolution and violence-prevention (e.g. students skilled in peer mediation and conflict resolution interventions; school discipline,code of behavior, pedagogical  and other institutional policies that reflect nonviolent relationships among students, teachers and administrators; collaboration between schools and external agencies like police, justice, legal  and social services; teacher intervention in domestic violence against children ). Apart from the short-term outcome of schools becoming more peaceful and safe environments, the success of such school-based programs of education for nonviolence and conflict resolution  in turn hold positive implications in the years ahead. Hopefully,  children and youth will join the next generation of adults with internalized values and practices rooted in principles and norms of nonviolence.

• The intersection of  wider societal and institutional endeavours for dismantling a culture of war and violence is also seen in campaigns worldwide to transform the production and distribution of cultural , leisure and recreation  products/services (e.g. media, toys, entertainment). Through public and school-based critical literacy, adults and children are empowered to not consume media violence or war toys , while pressuring  governmental and private sectors to  enforce relevant policies and regulations.

 Lighting the Candles of Dignity [12]

 The  enormous challenges of  promoting and respecting human rights can be likened to trying to keep alight candles in the midst of   a storm, where the candles refer to the inherent dignities that all human beings deserve in the spirit of the Universal Declaration and successive covenants, conventions and charters.  However, the power  entrenched  in structures of state, private interests, socio-cultural systems and global agencies still blow strong winds trying to snuff out the light of  human rights and dignities. The risk-taking and dedicated work of human rights campaigners to educate and mobilize citizens and institutions to resist violations and to assert rights in all spheres and levels of life is surely a vital dimension of peace education. As ordinary peoples experience critical literacy and empower themselves to participate actively in building a strong civil society to which agencies of state and private power must be accountable in the spirit of  authentic democracy, so will their human rights be better protected and promoted. A proper recognition and affirmation of the role of human rights education in peacebuilding needs, however, to acknowledge the evolving complexity  and maturity in its theory and practice. Key themes in this emergent global consensus include the need to uphold the indivisibility and interrelateness of all rights, thereby avoiding earlier emphases on individual civil and political rights to the neglect of social, economic , cultural, group, peoples and solidarity rights;   to move beyond legal or juridical dimensions of human rights teaching; to legitimize the role of NGOs and POs in promoting human rights; to accord equitable space to South interpretations and voices albeit within a universalist consensus;  and to address root causes rather than symptoms of human rights violations.

 The following exemplars illustrate such current themes in human rights education as well as  how educating for human rights is also educating for a culture of peace:

 •In Bicol, one of the poorest  regions of the Philippines, a women-centred NGO  initiated project  infused issues of   women’s human rights into income-generating activities ,  reproductive health education and services, and their domestic empowerment vis-a-vis traditional  male-dominant gender roles and relationships. As the women’s economic independence  and health/reproductive literacy improved, they also developed confidence and assertiveness in building more equitable , less sexist domestic relationships in nonviolent ways.  Similar experiences have been found among women’s education and empowerment projects or programs in other South countries where the promotion of women’s human rights have created more just, sustainable and gender-fair development environments so fundamental to  personal and societal peace. Often,   women’s NGOs (e.g. DAWN -Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era; AAWORD -Association for African Women for Research & Development; AWHRC- Asian Women’s Human Rights Council) are assuming leadership in educating and acting for women’s human rights.

• In Asia, Latin America , Africa and increasingly in  North contexts, the expanding numbers of child labourers and the streetchildren phenomenon  has given impetus to the implementation of the historic Convention on the Rights of the Child.  NGOs have engaged in critical education and empowerment of the   child workers themselves, as well as of adult citizens including parents and policymakers, to defend children against  exploitation, marginalization and violence (economic, sexual, cultural, social, domestic). As structural violence intensifies with globalization, these efforts will need to  magnify as children increasingly fall below the social safety nets or are in  greater economic and social exploitative demand. It is indeed inspiring and hopeful to see streetchildren  acquiring alternative economic and social resources, or bonded child labourers organizing to assert their rights and freedoms.

• In formal educational institutions, the advocacy for  integrating human rights education into teaching and learning have borne fruit, not only in  North states where political systems are more disposed to notions of rights and freedoms.  No doubt, in some contexts, the ongoing debate over “universalism” versus “cultural relativism” pose barrier for such formal programs given the need for official endorsement. Nevertheless, where possible, both formal    and nonformal NGO-based educators have been able to justify spaces in various curricula for promoting student  awareness of  local, national and global realities of human rights, and catalyzing empowered action to protect and respect human rights in their societies or abroad.  From the    role-modeling of human rights in their own school institution to advocating for release of political prisoners (e.g. Amnesty International campaigns), abolition of the death penalty and improved rights of marginalized sectors (e.g. homeless poor suffering constant evictions; landless peasants; export processing workers; child labourers; indigenous peoples facing development aggression and the in justices of colonialism), students will hopefully embrace  a culture of human rights which in turn positively contributes to  a culture of peace.

•At  international and global levels,  there is emerging a critical mass of human rights workers and organizations that are collaborating in public education across regions and continents for a fuller implementation of human rights provisions that many Governments have   formally ratified.  Whether calling into question the human rights accountability of agencies/regimes  such as TNCs, IMF , APEC and NAFTA in their aggressive “development” paradigm, or lobbying governments to protect human rights and endorse human rights education as in specific cases (e.g. East Timor, Myanmmar, Tibet),  such inter-regional or international education-cum-advocacy efforts efforts also simultaneously contribute to local empowerment of  their civil societies.

 Caring for the Seven Generations [13]

 Even before the Rio Conference on Environment and Development, the impact of   the environmental movement on individual citizens , institutions and governments was clearly noticeable.  Mobilized by grassroots initiatives as in the famous Chipko campaign among tribal Indians to save their forests and hence their social, economic and cultural survival, or the highly publicized  strategies of Greenpeace and other global environmental NGOs against environmentally destruction (e.g. nuclear testing, deforestation, toxic waste dumping, reduction of biodiversity),  citizens in virtually all regions and countries have been empowered to speak out and act to live in peace with mother earth.  Many governments, states and even corporations are also adding their voices on behalf of environmental protection in response to the deepening  problems of global warming, ozone layer destruction, and other symptoms of the ecological crisis. Yet, as the Rio Conference outcomes and the 1997 Earth Summit  indicated, determined action by governments and private sector agencies to promote ecologically sustainable “development”  remain limited by the overriding principles of growth-centred globalization. 

 From the perspective of peace education , educating for saving the environment   go and for “sustainable development” needs therefore to go beyond individual and state action to recycle, limit greenhouse gases emission, efficient energy use, or save species from extinction.  Rather, as the wisdom of indigenous people worldwide advises, we need to live in ways that care for the seven generations. Unless human beings relate to the natural environment according to the ethic of inter-generational responsibility,  future generations will not be  able to survive.  Peace-oriented environmental education  hence raises basic questions of  over-materialist lifestyles and consumerist ideology propagated by the  dominant modernization paradigm.  Secondly, it must talk about green justice, so that environmentalist agendas simultaneously enable peoples to met their basic needs and rights free from structural violence.  Likewise, North-South relationships must also be just so that earthly resources can be sustainably used for improving the quality of life for all peoples rather than be accumulated by a few countries or elite sectors.  If “sustainable development” is conditioned to serve the unchanged goals of growth-centred globalization,  the roots of the ecological crisis will remain unshaken. As the following exemplars demonstrate, environmental education and action can decisively contribute to a culture of peace.

 •In Costa Rica,  ASACODE (San Miguel Association for Conservation and development) was formed in 1988 to educate and mobilize poor peasants to keep local forests under local control. Rejecting ecologically destructive timber firm logging, AASCODE  provides knowledge and incentives for peasants to harvest and process their wood sustainably using ecologically sound techniques and reaping higher prices. AASCODE has expanded into cooperative-managed native tree nurseries and educating neighbouring villages on their successful strategies for community-controlled and environmentally just development.  

•In many African countries, women in particular  who have borne the brunt of environmental degradation, have been empowered through critical education and organizing by NGOs and POs to save their local environment in order to better and sustainably meet the basic needs of their families and communities.  Examples like the green belt movement in Kenya or ORAP (Organization of Rural Associations for Progress) in Zimbabwe have enabled women to reverse ecological destruction and generate community controlled resources for equitable sharing. Similar stories of  how grassroots centred education and empowerment have drawn on women’s indigenous resources and wisdom  to   link environment with just development as well as women’s human rights abound in all South regions.

•In the Philippines,  massive ecological destruction  occurs through the greed and structural violence wielded by some economic and political elites, as seen in rapid depletion of forests, illegal and over-fishing, polluting industries, mining ,transportation and agribusines operations, and coral reef and mangrove destruction. In recent years, NGOs and POs have emerged to challenge this unsustainable and unjust environmental exploitation such as the Lianga Ecological Concerns Organization (LECO) in the southern island of  Mindanao. Conscientized through a basic ecclesial community seminar in ecology, the Lianga villagers organized LECO to educate and mobilize their communities in tree-planting, public information campaigns (despite intimidation by paramilitary personnel) , monitoring logging and illegal fishing activities (including gathering evidence for prosecuting offenders), lobbying for official closure of furniture firms using a protected hardwood species or preventing illegal conversion of mangroves into commercial fishponds, and alternative sustainable agricultural methods.  Underpinning LECO’s energies and dedication was not just the people’s assertion of their rights for just development, but a firm belief that they are stewards and caretakers of the “wholeness of creation”. Parallel tales of peace-oriented environmental education and action  can be told by the followers of  ecological martyr Chico Mendes and the indigenous peoples of the Amazon forests, the Chipko-inspired movements in India, social buddhist-led campaigns in Sri Lanka and Thailand, the severely repressed Ogoni peoples’ struggles for protection and compensation from the oil TNCs in Nigeria, and the struggles of the First Nations and aboriginal peoples in North context to save their ancestral domains.

•In most North and increasingly South formal educational systems, environmental education has become a regular theme in school curricula and pedagogy.    While initial emphasis has been placed on educating children to be personally and socially green and for schools to be environmentally friendly (e.g. recycle, reuse, reduce, save animal and plant species), there is a recognition that a holistic perspective  to environmental education must dig deep into the roots of the crisis. Hence, personal earth-caring must integrate principles of structural justice  and rights between groups and nations, challenge modernization ideals of growth and consumerism,  advocate voluntary simplicity in lifestyle and promote the concept of earth rights.

 Active Harmony  among Cultures [14]

 Conflicts between peoples of different cultures, ethnic/“racial” identities, while not new in human history,  are posing major problems of peacelessness and tragic violence in the context of a militarized and structurally  violent world. Often, contestation for resources and territories and for redressing historical injustices   are the underlying causes of such conflicts than cultural difference per se. And as earlier noted, the dominant modernization paradigm is    further marginalizing indigenous  or aboriginal peoples who are portrayed as standing in the way of “progress” as forests are logged, energy infrastructures constructed, mining proliferate to meet industrialization and consumerism, and agribusinesses expand i into the hinterlands.  Peace education  hence needs to grapple with the challenge of promoting cultural solidarity or what a Filipino-based inter-faith educator and activist has called “active harmony”.  Through critical dialogue and collaborative activities, conflicting or divided cultural /ethnic/racial groups, communities and nations are able to understand the root causes of their divisions, to cultivate respect of each other beliefs and traditions, and to seek reconciliation or healing of differences which may often   harbour deep and violent feelings of bitterness, enmity and revenge. In facilitating such intercultural  respect and ties of solidarity, peace education is not only building societal and global harmony, but simultaneously promoting culture-related provisions in the human rights conventions. As well, it contributes to a culture of nonviolence as it prevents   cultural conflicts from escalating  into violent “resolution”.  As the following exemplars illustrate, peace education to promote active harmony among cultures are as much needed in North as in South contexts.

 •In many North multicultural societies, formal school curricula and institutional environments have been integrating principles, values and strategies of intercultural education.  Through a more inclusive perspective of  their nation’s and world history , consciousness raising on cultural differences,  the need for all groups to receive equitable respect and non-discrimination, and skills training to   reconcile existing intercultural  conflicts nonviolently, such programs demonstrate that a peaceful world is not feasible without  the ability and willingness of all groups to live nonviolently  in unity amidst diversity.  Peace educators however are    also critical of versions of multicultural education that merely “celebrate” cultural differences in superficial ways without promoting critical understanding of and solidarity in resolving root causes of intercultural disharmony (e.g. racism, discrimination, structural injustices, historical oppression). In  this regard, First Nations or aboriginal educational movements also would not deem intercultural education valid if it does not actively promote their identity and wisdom traditions so crucial to their cultural survival in a world pushed by forces of  global “cultural homogenization”.

•Increasingly, representatives of diverse faiths, religions and spiritual traditions are meeting to promote inter-faith, inter-religious or ecumenical dialogue deemed crucial to developing greater active harmony of peoples within and across societies. Thus in the Philippines,   the Silsilah NGO and the Catholic Bishops Conference have promoted peace education through dialogue between Muslims and Christians including the religious as a way to complement ongoing peace building processes and the recently signed Government-Moro National liberation front peace accord.   While the “Muslim-Christian” conflicts stem more from economic, political and social causes of territorial conquest and structural violence, there is also today a need to build harmony from a faith perspective, so that religious beliefs do not  become a motivating force for further violent divisions. Similar principles of peace education  through intercultural harmony are also evident in the Arab-Jewish conflict in the Middle East and  the long-standing conflict in Northern Ireland.  Likewise, on a global level the world Conference on Religions and Peace provide an educational and empowering forum for  diverse faith leaders and followers to work for nonviolent and just interfaith and intercultural relationships.

•Peace educators focusing on intercultural harmony are also acknowledging the vital role of indigenous or traditional social-cultural ways of resolving conflicts.   Kalinaw Mindanao, for example, promotes as part of its nonformal peace education activities in the Philippines a deep appreciation for indigenous or traditional strategies of nonviolent conflict resolution. In promoting respect among cultures, mutual learnings and adaptation of indigenous values and strategies can be most constructive to building a culture of peace. In a parallel spirit, spokespersons of major faiths (e.g.Dalai Lama, Fr.. Thomas Keating, Bro. Wayne Teasdale) have drafted a universal Declaration on Nonviolence to underpin a vision of  civilization in which organized violence is no longer tolerated.   

 Renewing Roots of Inner  Peace [15]

 While the multiple dimensions of  educating for peace  explored thus far   focuses on visible  relationships and structures of human life, there is a growing consensus that the inner dimensions and sources of peaceful values and practices should not be ignored.  In cultivating inner peace, peoples from diverse traditions, faiths and cultures are better prepared ethically, emotionally and spiritually to work for outer or societal peace. There is also a basic assumption here that core values and root principles of   diverse cultures and/or faiths provide guidance and inspiration for developing a culture of inner peace. As reflected in the holy texts, doctrines , oral wisdom and body of practices across many faiths  including  indigenous spiritualities and “new age” conceptions, it is through .a constant cultivation and renewal of such roots of inner peace that individuals can grow spiritually.

 It is important however to raise concerns over  some popular models of  education for inner or personal peace  which can limit   individuals or groups to be primarily   content with their progress in attaining personal peace.  Whether  through praying, meditating or other faith or spirituality activities,  the yardstick of   this paradigm of peace education is an individual’s or group’s feeling of  having attained greater personal peace, and of closer communion with one’s creator or god.  But from a holistic peace education framework,  is it meaningful or authentic to  feel inner peace    divorced from the multifold problems of outer peacelessness and violence?  Would this not then reduce inner peace to a self-centred over-individualistic  satisfaction , instead of an inner peace that  interacts dialogically  with  an aspiration to work simultaneously for societal and global peace.  For instance, a sense of “inner peace’ may motivate individuals in advantaged socio-economic positions to feel “pity” for the marginalized and to engage in acts of “pity” (e.g. charity).  But will this help to dismantle structures of violence and injustice?  Education that renews the roots of inner peace , while indeed essential, hence needs to integrally link with empowerment for structural transformation, as suggested by the following exemplars.

 •In the  grassroots Basic Christian or Ecclesial Communities that have emerged largely in South contexts under the inspiration of ‘‘liberation theology”,  members are motivated to develop deeper interiorization of  Christian values and principles so as to experience authentic inner transformation.  At the same time, such interiorization goes hand in hand with critical social analysis that challenges members to work for more peaceful, just communities and the larger society. 

•In Buddhist societies, there is a growing re-interpretation of the role of the clergy as well as Buddhist practices of  inner peace or the search for personal “enlightenment”.  Thus while the central principles and purposes of prayer and meditation practices towards self-enlightenment remain vital,  social Buddhism does not remain alienated from societal events, especially those promoting peacelessness.  Thus in Cambodia the 1993 Walk for peace and reconciliation was simultaneously an expression of  inner peace development through prayer and meditation for compassion, nonviolence, non-hatred, forgiveness and selflessness.  In Thailand and Sri Lanka, Buddhist inner cultivation also leads monks and followers to reflect on the deviations of  excessive materialism, consumerism, social injustices and ecological destruction spawned by the modernization paradigm from Buddhist principles of non-attachment to things and power, moderation in lifestyle, and compassion for all beings.

•In some programs of holistic peace education, the theme of inner peace is explored through exercises that challenge learners to examine meanings and implications of inner peace development across various levels of life:  the very personal and interpersonal; one’s work  and institutional environment; and a citizen’s place in society and world.  This approach reminds learners that the “inner” and the “personal” is infused with the social and structural, and  vice versa so that social action for peace draws deeply on inner peace values and spiritualities.  As the Buddhist teacher Thich Nat Hanh aptly reminds us, we are not just “being”; we are “inter-being”.

 In sum, as the foregoing discussion maintains, peace education can  find expression through specific movements to transform problems and issues of  peacelessness, conflicts and violence.  However, it is also suggested that an integrated or holistic framework of peace education which links together the broad range of issues has the advantage of not only drawing on the strengths of specific movements, but  reflects the realities of inter-relatedness of  different problems of peacelessness.  An integrated multidimensional framework of peace education hence is most relevant in catalyzing critical empowerment for  both individual and societal transformation, so that analysis of root causes or proposed solutions are not partial or superficial.  The experience of   Philippine peace education  especially in the Mindanao context , at both formal and nonformal levels, reflects this principle of integration in proposing a framework that interconnects issues of  militarization, structural violence, human rights, environmental care, cultural solidarity and personal peace.  

 Practising Peace Education

 As peace education is practiced via the  multiple specific dimensions  as well  as in integrated frameworks worldwide, lessons are being learnt in terms of  what might be consider appropriate and effective methodologies and procedures.  There needs to be of course sensitivity to specific local or indigenous social and cultural conditions   in the implementation of peace education programs, especially in hearing the peoples’ voices on their priorities for peace building and in drawing on the wisdom and  strengths of indigenous conflict resolution strategies.  Nevertheless, the increasing exchanges and sharings  among peace educators and those involved in other complementary empowerment movements show that some common pedagogical principles tend to be salient in educating for peace in its multiple dimensions, regardless of whether it is  in formal or nonformal education modes. Four such principles can be discerned [16]:

 Holism constitutes a first essential pedagogical principle, as earlier noted.   A holistic framework always tries to clarify possible inter-relationships between and among different problems of peacelessness , conflict and violence  in terms of root causes and resolutions.  Holism also applies in not isolating various levels and modes of peace education as being more superior or inferior. All modes and levels are equitably  valuable (e.g. formal, nonformal, children to adults,  social, economic and cultural groups) and most importantly, complement, sustain and support  each other.   For instance, formal peace education is strengthened by  linking students’ understanding to concrete realities and practices of peacelessness and peace building in the community and nonformal sectors. Alternatively, nonformal peace education  is facilitated if students in schools are empowered to show solidarity for societal transformation, while in the longer term, the present children and youth graduate from formal institutions to assume positions of influence in society with attitudes, knowledge and skills  supportive of peace building.  Peace education cannot also be limited to the very marginalized and oppressed; by reaching out to the non-poor, advantaged, governing and elite sectors of society, it may be possible to develop allies for transformation and reveal points of potential influence.

 Secondly, peace education emphasizes the crucial role of  values  formation through its pedagogical processes.  Recognizing that all knowledge is never free of values, the peace educator constantly encourages learners to surface innermost values that shape their understanding of realities and their actions in the world.  Clearly, peace education needs to be very explicit about its preferred values, such as compassion, justice, equity; gender-fairness,  caring for life, sharing, reconciliation, integrity, hope and active nonviolence. Commitment to nonviolence needs to be active, not passive,  so that we are indeed moved to transform a culture of violence. Hope is vital , otherwise we can begin to feel overwhelmed into a sense of helplessness or powerlessness as we confront the massive problems of peacelessness and violence. A strong indicator of  peaceful pedagogy   is that it  stirs hopefulness, a faith that ordinary peoples can exercise patience, commitment and courage in transforming their realities. In this regard, the interest and support of Asia-Pacific governments in a values education emphasis in peace education under UNESCO auspices suggests a creative strategy for building a culture of peace in the region (Pombejr,1966).

 A third important pedagogical principle of peace education  rests on the value and strategy of dialogue.  It would be a contradiction if educating for peace becomes an exercise in “banking” , as teachers assume the role of  authoritarian “experts” and learners become passive imbibers of   peace knowledge.  A dialogical strategy however cultivates a more horizontal teacher-learner relationship in which both dialogically educate and learn from each other.  The realities and voices of learners  yield essential inputs into the learning process, and  collaborative analysis  between and among teachers and learners create opportunities for critical reflection leading to a self-reliant political position in relation to transformation. Among even peace educators, and peacebuilders, the processes of dialogue are crucial to build stronger consensual positions on the whys, whats and hows of transforming towards a culture of peace.   Dialogue also is very necessary in the efforts of peace educators to influence especially official and powerful private agencies and institutions. As experiences in the Philippines and other South or North contexts demonstrate, creating and sustaining dialogue with  state, political and bureaucratic representatives is never an easy task,  For example, Filipino NGOs and POs involved in moving Government to agree to a Social Reform Agenda in 1993, recently had to publicly critique the slow pace of implementation of reforms whilst still willing to engage in critical dialogue with government agencies about the directions of societal transformation.  At the global level, similar concerns have been raised about the sincerity of  international agencies (e.g. World Bank, IMF) in implementing the outcomes of dialogue between them and NGOs/POs as in the consultative working committees. The success of formal peace educators in integrating peace and development education in the Philippine higher education system may be attributed in part to their  patient lobbying of government departments and authorities.

 A fourth vital principle for practicing peace education  is critical empowerment or in Freirean language, conscientization.  While dialogical , participatory and non-banking pedagogies and methodologies are crucial, they are not sufficient. Thus  if peace education is not able or willing to try to move not just minds but also hearts and spirits into personal and social action for peacebuilding,   it will remain emasculated , a largely “academic” exercise even in the nonformal context.  It may    then also be co-optable by forces      interested in preserving the status quo.  In short, educating for peace is educating for critical empowerment through which we develop a critical consciousness that actively seeks to transform the realities of a culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and nonviolence.  While the nonformal community sector is often seen as the “natural” sites for critical empowerment, the formal education institutions should also challenge learners towards transformation. In the Philippines, for example, schools and universities link formal curriculum in peace education to advocacy activities and projects, such as the “bury war toys” campaign; peace marches and vigils for a culture of peace and for a gunless society; lobbying Congress to pass peace-oriented legislation; declaring schools and neigbouring communities as peace zones; peace fairs and public exhibitions of children’s painting for peace; petitions to Government in solidarity of grassroots actions for  justice and human rights. 

 More generally, the global experiences of peace educators indicate that these pedagogical principles are more effectively fulfilled when creative and participatory teaching-learning strategies are used. This mode optimizes cooperative opportunities for learners to first voice their realities, experiences, understandings, biases, commitments, hopes, despairs and dreams, which are then facilitated by the teachers to critically engage with a range of  alternative paradigms or perspectives on the issues under consideration.  The learning processes thus simultaneously surface personal commitments and state of awareness, while offering possibilities for dialogue within a “learning community” and critical analysis leading to self-reliant choices  about peaceful transformation. Exemplars of such participatory   teaching-learning strategies include; • popular theatre and other role-playing or simulation techniques;•webcharting and brainstorming methods • song and dance compositions •poetry  and story  writing •imaging and other futures  exercises •poster drawing • mural painting • participatory action research projects •dialogical lectures •media and textual content analysis •cooperative games •political and social advocacy projects (e.g. petitions, letter writing campaigns, rallies, vigils, caravans, nonviolent civil disobedience, peace zone declaration)  •field exposures •peace museums •peace fairs and exhibits •peace conferences and forums •opening classrooms to learn about peoples’and policymakers’ perspectives .   Clearly, such participatory strategies in peace education needs to be relevant to  specific social and cultural conditions, but increasingly the global evidence is that they work across many different regions and cultures. Quite often, the constraints against their use seems to be less in  cultural differences as in some mainstream norms about “good” teaching practices in the dominant modernized educational systems that virtually all countries have adopted into their societal fabric.

 But apart from the requirement of  educating for peace in pedagogically consistent ways, there is of course the basic challenge of educating the peace educators, or peace promoters.  In this regard, there are some differences in needs and outcomes for  peace educators/promoters in formal and nonformal contexts. For   peace education work in nonformal environments, there is already an advantage in that  grassroots NGO and PO  organizers and workers often  already have values, skills and critical awareness appropriate for empowering  community citizens. As the many exemplars illustrate, critically empowered action for transformation is the hallmark of  peace-oriented NGOs and POs [17]. This is not to imply however that all NGO or PO  organizers necessarily understand alternative paradigms of  development, human rights, intercultural relationships and other culture of peace issues. But the realities of their community-based  responsibilities  provide a rich and direct source of concerns  for the ‘training” to proceed in a deep and immediately relevant way.  Furthermore, given the specific focus of  many current nonformal peace educators (e.g. development, human rights, disarmament), an essential aspect of their formation will be a need to see the interconnectedness of  the multiple dimensions of  a holistic peace education framework.  This need is already been realized in the Philippines, for example, by the way in which the National Peace Conference has been able to bring together multiple sectors of NGOs and POs to share a unified position on building a culture of peace.

 In the case of formal peace educators, however, the challenges are great in that firstly, those already teaching will need  adequate inservice education that challenge, enskill and empower them to rethink established knowledge, understanding, skills, and teaching strategies.  At the same time, the new generation of teachers will  also need appropriate education  to  prepare them for the tasks of integrating peace education into their curricula and pedagogies. Worldwide, there is a consensus that rather than confining peace education to a separate subject, the infusion or integration of peace perspectives across the whole curriculum  (including extracurricular activities e.g. sports, students clubs) is the preferred strategy. In both cases, there are two vital supportive pillars for such education/training of  formal peace educators/promoters to successfully bear fruit:  the provision of relevant  curriculum and teaching resources (e.,g. texts, kits, audiovisuals), and most importantly the understanding and support of school administrators without which peace educators will be constrained, discouraged and as  experience shows, even repressed.

 Depending on the levels at which the formal peace educators or promoters are working, the requirements for teacher-education will place demands on different agencies. Thus, for school-based teaching, the Colleges and  Faculties of Education will need to be committed to integrating peace education into their undergraduate curriculum.  At tertiary levels, peace education will need to be infused in graduate studies and research programs, so that future  professors or lecturers can integrate culture of peace perspectives into their own  teaching. In this regard,  tertiary institutions are responsible for   producing many of the highly credentialled citizens  likely to play significant leadership and implementation roles in  society (including political positions). The constructive role which can be played by encouraging student extra-curriculum activities (e.g. outreach immersion programs among marginalized communities; UNESCO  Associated Schools projects; human rights groups etc.) must also be fostered.

 Thus, peace education  if generalized and systematic, can enhance the capacity of colleges and universities to increase the pool of future societal leaders committed to transformation and peacebuilding. But in general, whether at school-based or tertiary levels,   the expansion of programs for formation of peace educators/promoters inevitably need to overcome some institutional barriers [18]:  mainstream norms of what is regarded as “good” teaching, purposes of schooling, and “academic” expectations of  stakeholders (e.g.government, parents, administrators, even teachers);  threats perceived by powerful groups to the status quo  from the explicit transformative values and principles of peace education;  a lack of institutional resources to support adequate re-orientation ;  established school organizations which sustain a culture of violence; the marginalization that the teaching profession already face in many South contexts(e.g. human rights violations; lack of  profession al autonomy); and current state and elite expectations that formal education must closely fit the   goals of growth-centred globalization that as noted earlier, tends to nurture more  a culture of violence.

 Yet, notwithstanding such obstacles, peace educators in diverse regions have been  willing and able to engage critically with government and official (e.g.aid) agencies. Drawing on allies within bureaucracy and political circles, they have gained official support to create some spaces for building a culture of peace within mainstream educational systems.   In contrast to strictly oppositional politics, many NGOs and POs see the value of  not assuming government to be monolithic in preserving the status quo, and to critically work (albeit without co-optation) with official institutions to pursue goals of peacebuilding and transformation. 

 Signs of Hope: A Concluding Reflection

 This essay  on the broad but increasingly coherent concept of  peace education   has hopefully not projected only signals of   complexities, challenges, and barriers to quick  progress.  To be cognizant of  obstacles, uncertainties and problems as we embark on a journey of building a culture of peace is constructive in that we can prepare  as the Daoist sages advice, to go around or wear down the hardest rocks.  The task and responsibilities of the educational dimension in all aspects of peacebuilding are vital so that people can be critically empowered to participate in civil society and in transformation to overcome the hurdles of violence and peacelessness.  My personal experiences in   peace education  in various national and global contexts, and especially the Philippines for over the last decade reflect, amidst occasional feelings of frustration, impatience and pessimism, many more positive signs of hope. The exemplars of education for peace, human rights, democracy and sustainabily drawn upon in my reflections similarly are sources of inspiration. Despite significant obstacles, ordinary peoples everywhere are  empowering themselves as active citizens entitled to shape how their communities, societies and even the world order ought to be shaped to promote the rights, freedoms and basic dignities of all living beings. 

 Given the powerful forces that “nourish” the culture of war and violence, it is not surprising that building a culture of peace will be a slow and uneven journey. Still enough peace educators/advocates continue to struggle , often  invisibly or at times unrecognized, and  sufficient manifestations of local, national or global successes and small steps forwards  are witnessed or experienced, that  education and transformation for  a culture of peace,   constitutes a  challenge -- a challenge worth accepting  and a responsibility  inspired by the vision of a  millennium of well-being  for all of humanity and for all of creation.

 

 NOTES

 [1]  See for e.g. Garcia(1994); Elkins(1992); Archer & Costello(1990); Timberlake (1987);                 Dankelman & Davidson(1988).

[2]  UNESCO (1994, 1997)

[3]  Aspeslagh & Burns (1996); Alger & Stohl(1988)

[4]  Haavelsrud (1981, 1994)

[5]  Starkey (1991); ; Eide(1983)

[6]  Toh(1987); Ten Days for World Development(1993)

[7]  Sleeter &   Grant (1993);  Graves, Dunlop & Tarney-Purta(1984)

[8]  Fien (1993) ; Mische(1987)

[9]  Toh & Floresca-Cawagas(1990); Burns & Aspeslagh(1996); Reardon(1988);  Boulding (1988); Pike & Selby (1988); Boanas(1989); Bjerstedt(1993)

[10] United Nations (1997); Korten(1995); Instituto del tercer mundo(1995); Clark(1991); Toh(1987);  Elkins (1992); Barrett & Cavanagh (1994);  Fein & Gerber(1985); Calder & Smith(1990); New internationalist (1995,1993); Gran (1986)

[11] Garcia(1995); Lim & Deutsch (1996); Bretherton(1996); Merryfield & Remy(1995); Contreres (1995); Asva-Asanga(1991); Project Ploughshares(n.d.)           

[12] United Nations(1993);  Lee-Wright(1990);  Toh(1996)

[13] Durning(1992); Myers(1993); Timberlake(1987); McDonagh(1995); Reardon & Nordland(1994); Brown(1997); Shiva(1986)

[14]  Miller (1993);Sleeter & Grant (1993); Lamy(1978);  Thomas(1993); Fitzgerald & Caspar(1992)

[15]  Fox(1990);  Haim & Grob(1987);  Dalai Lama(1995); Thich (1991)

[16]  Toh & Floresca-Cawagas(1991); Reardon(1988);  Burns & Aspeslagh(1996); Ake(1995); Quisumbing (1996); Shor & Freire(1987); Freire(1990); Arnold(1991); Hmpton & Whalen(1993); Hicks(1988); Fisher & Hicks(1985); Steiner(1995)

[17]  Clark(1991);   Asia-Pacific NGO Symposium (1994) ;Muluyurgi(1990) ; Lakey(1987); National Peace Conference(1993).

[18]  Toh(1988), Hicks(1988); Toh, Floresca-Cawagas & Durante (1992); Moncada-Davidson(1995)

 

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