Monday, May 23, 2011

Definitions of Peace education - My Reflections

Though the various definitions may differ in terms of choice of language, scope and proffered mode of delivery; they are all built on the same universally accepted necessity of infusing knowledge about the need for and advantages of peaceful coexistence into the educational system, with the aim of ensuring students, youths and in fact, the society as a whole, learns to adopt a more tolerant, cooperative and compassionate attitude towards one another.

An educator’s definition like Dewey’s (which i actually find most self explanatory), looked at peace education from the view of bringing up children ingrained with feelings of mutual respect and friendliness for all peoples of the world no matter their ethnic backgrounds or religious beliefs. This definition, which focuses on guiding youths to grow up accepting, respecting all peoples of the world as joint stake-holders in ensuring our world remains a peaceful place to live in.
Being a living witness to the carnage that can ensue from lack of understanding among people of diverse cultures/beliefs, I totally subscribe to Dewey’s definition.

UNICEF’s definition goes one step further by including the various levels of human relations that need to be affected by an effective peace education programme. Peace at an intra-personal level is highly important for successful living and without a person being able to achieve a reasonable level of personal harmony in his/her activities, it would be very hard for that person to initiate and maintain a conflict-free relationship with others.

Even within the same geographical borders, various types of conflicts can crop of due to misrepresentations, misunderstandings and lack of effective peaceful conflict resolution mechanisms. An effective Peace education programme in such a society must certainly be tailored accommodate the various points of conflicts to ensure peaceful coexistence.

Considering the conceptual nature of peace education, I will not like to take a judgmental view of the definitions. Instead, I will consider each to be addressing a certain part of the whole  based on the outlook of the author of the definition. A definition that considers Peace education in terms of  intrapersonal relations, is not in any way deficient to one that defines Peace education in a globalist light.

At every level of human interaction, peace education has a vital role to play and if we are able to fashion out our educational systems around the main theme of learning about peace so as to achieve sustainable peace at every level, then the goal of every definition will have been met.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ibrahim,
    I appreciated your perspective on the definitions - rather than taking a judgemental view, to rather see what each definition has to offer to this vast field. Like you said, each definition has value.

    If you had to define peace education, how would you define it?


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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.