THE CULTURE OF PEACE DIALOGUES
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education that power comes from force
education for peace and nonviolence

Main Topic: Coordinator Comments

"Education is the principle means of promoting a culture of peace. This includes not only formal education in schools, but also informal and non-formal education in the full range of social institutions, including the family and the media. The very concept of power needs to be transformed - from the logic of force and fear to the force of reason and love. Education should be expanded so that basic literacy is joined by the 'second literacy' of 'learning to live together'.

"A global effort of education and training, supported by the United Nations, should empower people at all levels with the peace-making skills of dialogue, mediation, conflict transformation, consensus-building, cooperation and non-violent social change. This campaign should be based upon universal principles of human rights, democratic principles and social justice, and at the same time, build upon the unique peace-making traditions and experiences of each society.

"Solidarity, creativity, civic responsibility, gender sensitivity, the ability to resolve conflicts by non-violent means and critical skills should be learned through practice which involves the educational community in activities promoting a culture of "peace."

With these words, UNESCO introduced the programme area for culture of peace education in document A/53/370 sent to the United Nations General Assembly in 1998.

Extensive recommendations for culture of peace education were contained in the first Report of the Secretary-General on the Culture of Peace Decade in 2000. Among the recommendations were:

Training of Ministry of Education personnel, teacher trainers, school administrators, nongovernmental organizations, teachers, facilitators and youth leaders in the content, learning methods and skills needed to promote peace and non-violence, it being understood that such training should enable adults to create environments that not only teach about a culture of peace, but model it in the policies and practices of the classroom, the school and other learning environments;

Revision of curriculum materials, and particularly of history textbooks, to promote mutual understanding and strengthen social cohesion and to remove prejudices or stereotypes against certain groups;

Creation of new curriculum materials addressing peace, non-violence and human rights, where appropriate to the culture and the learning environment;

Production and dissemination of educational materials and textbooks on education for a culture of peace and human rights with a view to providing guidelines to teachers and educational personnel;

Provision of opportunities for all members of the school community or other context for learning (children, parents, teachers/facilitators, administrators) to participate in democratic decision-making and governance processes as appropriate.

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