Category Archives: EDUCATION FOR PEACE

South Korea: Artists, activists to promote peace in Cheongju

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by You Soo-sun in Peace News

An international event will bring 500 cultural activists to Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, Friday [November 10].

Under the theme “Designing a Culture of Empathy, Culture of Peace,” artists, experts and activists representing 50 countries including the U.S. , Yemen, Japan, Rwanda and France will gather for the three-day event, Better Together 2017.


The event is being run by World Culture Open (WCO), an international network of global activists, and is funded by North Chungcheong Province and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Since 1999, WCO has initiated numerous projects with the aim of bringing the world closer together.

The network has invited over 500 people from various fields including the arts, humanities, science, education and environment to share how they have utilized their talents to improve the global community.

Read the whole story in Artists, activists to promote peace in Cheongju | Korea Times.

Question for this article:

Peru: Launch of the national extrajudicial conciliation campaign

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from La Republica

The national mega-campaign of the “Week of Extrajudicial Conciliation” began yesterday [November 13]. The purpose of the campaign is to promote and disseminate out-of-court conciliation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism of the General Directorate of Public Defense and access to Justice in Tacna.

“This is a tool that encourages and forms the culture of peace in our country,” said Christian Fernández, general secretary of the Free Conciliation Center of the Justice Ministry of Tacna.

He also said that the main mission of this process is for the parties involved in a conflict to reach consensual solutions, which are recorded in an act that has a value similar to a judicial decision.

During the week various activities will be carried out to promote this campaign.

(click here for the Spanish version)

Question for this article:

Mexico: Marcos Aguilar Inaugurates Forum “Towards a Culture of Peace”

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from the Diario de Querétaro

The municipal president of Querétaro, Marcos Aguilar Vega, inaugurated the first forum of community mediation “Towards a culture of peace” Fortaseg 2017, where state and municipal public servants will learn to promote a social transformation through mediation.


Marcos Aguilar inaugurated the first Community Mediation Forum “Towards a Culture of Peace”, FORTASEG 2017. Photos: Yolanda Longino

After seeing a protest at the first Community Mediation Committee of the Felipe Carrillo Puerto delegation, the mayor said that lack of communication is one of the most recurrent causes of conflicts and crimes that put people’s lives and assets at risk.

The mayor said that if we achieve an assertive communication, that puts the accent on the collective benefit, we will achieve a definitive step for social cohesion and the strengthening of the Rule of Law.

The mayor said that if we achieve an assertive communication, that puts the accent on the collective benefit, we will achieve a definitive step for social cohesion and the strengthening of the Rule of Law.

He said that the objective of the Community Mediation Committee is that citizens on an equal basis have the means to peacefully resolve their conflicts, without jeopardizing the fundamental principles of coexistence and mutual respect.

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(click here for the Spanish version)

Question for this article:

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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He said that this government’s commitment is to trust citizens; “To understand each other as fellow citizens is the only way to build a friendly, just and prosperous city.”

“Today more than ever we need a united society that forms a common front against the evils that threaten our well-being such as crime, corruption and the deterioration of the social fabric,” he said.

He pointed out that governments come and go, but citizen initiatives remain; He asserted that a culture of peace will be achieved if each citizen, neighborhood, colony and community live by the fundamental principles that govern the culture of peace.

The Municipal Public Security Secretary, Juan Luis Ferrusca Ortiz said that community mediation is a new way of approaching psychosocial problems; it privileges neighborhood leadership through the creation of committees that promote alternative spaces for peaceful conflict resolution.

He reported that the community mediation model, whose investment is 980 thousand pesos from the resources of Fortaseg 2017, began in several areas of the Felipe Carrillo Puerto delegation.

He said that this model will also be taken to other of the six remaining municipal delegations, encouraging participation in community mediation committees.

Adriana Báez Sosa, who is responsible for the program, stressed that the capital will be a pioneer in the practice of community mediation, which is committed to strengthening the exercise of citizenship.

“This is a great step forward in the municipality of Queretaro, since it recognizes the importance of the community, as well as generating citizen participation, as they are key elements for the solution of conflicts in the community,” she acknowledged.

She indicated that this project started with a diagnosis, followed by the creation of a committee of citizens interested in contributing their time to the community, followed by a process of training, dissemination and operation of these areas.

Colombia: Unesco recognizes schools in Norte de Santander for their work towards peace

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article from Compartir Palabra Maestra. (Reprinted according to the rules of Creative Commons Recognition-NoComercial-ShareIgual 4.0 International License)

During the National Educational Forum 2017 held in the capital of the country and encouraged by Unesco and the Ministry of Education, Norte de Santander was present this year with two proposals which were among the 12 best being recognized by the two organizing entities.

One of the proposals presented was that of the Cristo Obrero Educational Institution, located in the neighborhood of La Ermita de Cúcuta, who undertook a project called ‘School reconciliation, commitment of all for a culture of peace’ by which they promote healthy coexistence in the institution.

In total, 600 strategies were presented throughout Colombia, with initiatives focused on the search for a Colombia without conflicts. The presentations included topics such as reconciliation, democracy, reconstruction of historical memory, society, violence and human rights.

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(Click here for the original version of this article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

Peace Studies in School Curricula, What would it take to make it happen around the world?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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Ángel Ramiro Peñaranda, a teacher at the Cristo Obrero School who leads the Cucuteño project, indicated that this curriculum for peace “did not exist before.” It contains subject plans, parcelers and class preparers.

“I never thought that this could be an experience for the Ministry, but with the support of the rector of the school, it was presented in the forum,” the teacher told a media outlet in the city of Cúcuta.

The other educational center that represented the northern department of Santander was the La Salle School in Ocaña, with the demonstration of a pedagogical strategy to promote peace within the campus. The institution participated with the ‘Project of democracy, culture, peaceful experience and youth’.

“The project includes three lines of work. The student representative is responsible for raising awareness of the fulfillment of duties and promotion of rights by all students, leading to the adoption of a school peace manifesto,” he added.

He added, “this new achievement of the institution is a pride for Norte de Santander, because we can make it known not only to Colombia, but to the whole world, because teachers strengthen the construction of peace in our country through what we do pedagogically “.

 The two institutions are part of the 40 that make up the Nortesantandereana Network for a School without Violence that works day by day for better coexistence and relationships among citizens.

Gwangju, South Korea: The 1st Asian Literature Festival

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by Brother Anthony from the Korea Times

The vast, recently completed Asia Culture Center in the heart of Gwangju, South Jeolla Province, was the scene of Korea's first Asian Literature Festival last week, Nov. 1 to 4. It brought together writers from Asia and beyond, together with a number of Korean writers, for a time of sharing and encounters designed to establish stronger bonds between writers across the globe.


Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka from Nigeria speaks at Asian Literature Festival in Gwangju, Nov. 4. / Yonhap

In his opening remarks, the senior Korean poet, Ko Un, stressed until now the sheer size of the region known as "Asia," together with its linguistic diversity, have been a great obstacle to free communications between the writers of the region. Korean poets have remained unaware of and unable to read the poetry written in other countries and on other continents, and vice versa. Ko Un recalled how the Korean poet Oh Sang-sun wrote a poem titled "Asia's Night" in 1920, in the aftermath of Japan's suppression of the Korean March 1 Independence Movement. He proposed poets coming together now in friendship might be able to produce, nearly a century later, a response he called "Asia's Morning."

In his opening address, the 1986 Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka from Nigeria stressed that humanity today faces a vital choice between freedom and stagnation. Creativity, he said, is only possible in freedom and today, in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, fundamentalist religious intolerance is resulting not only in the destruction of many nations' artistic heritage but in the uprooting and scattering of whole populations. In response, he called for the festival's participants to work together to develop a new "Culture of Peace," binding "all peoples together from Africa to Korea and around the globe."

The Asia Culture Center was built around and under the former Jeolla Provincial Office and other buildings on Geumnam-ro Street, which today form a memorial complex to the victims of the 5.18 Democratic Uprising. It was the site of the final massacre of the civilian militia when the army retook control of the town in the early morning of May 27, 1980. President Roh Moo-hyun first suggested turning the site into a cultural center for the whole of Asia. It was only natural that the festival participants should begin by making a solemn visit to the May 18th National Cemetery, led by Ko Un, and together pay their respects to all who lived and died for Korea's democratization, in 1980 and also both before and since then. Ko Un paid special tribute to poets Kim Nam-ju and Jo Tae-il and activist Yun Han-bong. In the Memorial Hall at the cemetery the visitors saw a special display of poems selected from Ko Un's great "Maninbo" cycle, commemorating some of those who died in the Uprising.

A number of poets from across the world spoke during the festival. The great Spanish poet Antonio Colinas said, in particular, "The poems and prose of the East possess literary and vital roots, about which we still need to learn, of which we must perform a radical reading to escape the chaos toward which we are heading." He concluded, "The poetry of the past has lasted and must endure today in the face of the uniformity and chaos that foments global dehumanization. This was possible because the poetry of the past has been faithful to its primary mission, to go beyond words."

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Question for this article:

Poetry to promote a culture of peace

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French poet Claude Mouchard evoked his encounter with a homeless Sudanese refugee in France; finally that man lived for eight years in his home and they struggled to communicate despite the language barriers. Mouchard took scraps of their shared conversations and turned them into poetry. The man one day died of a heart attack in the poet's arms, but his words remain, noted by the poet as "perhaps poems." American poet Zack Rogow traced the influence of Asian poetry and art, especially that of Japan, to the writers and artists of France and Russia.

That evening, Ko Un and singer Na Yoon-sun joined forces in a concert, Ko Un's dramatic readings of his poems alternating with the vibrant voice of the immensely popular singer before a packed theater. Ko Un's manner of reading his poems has long made him a celebrity in literary festivals across the globe and at 84 he continues to impress and deeply move audiences.

At the heart of the festival were poets and novelists from a number of Asian countries: Ayu Utami from Indonesia, Damdinsuren Uriankhai from Mongolia, Duo Duo from China, Sagawa Aki from Japan and Shams Langeroodi from Iran, as well as a dozen writers, mostly poets, from Korea. Each of the overseas guests was accompanied by a personal interpreter to facilitate communication. During visits to the top of Mount Mudeung, to the bamboo groves and a traditional garden in Damyang, freewheeling exchanges formed the essence of the festival, as poet met poet across the barriers of distance and language. One literary translator spoke on the last day to stress the essential role of the translator in enabling multiple local literatures written in so many mutually incomprehensible languages to cross all frontiers and become truly "Asian literature" and "world literature."

A jury had screened in advance the work of the foreign participants and the first Asian Literary Award was given to Damdinsuren Uriankhai from Mongolia, whose work combines traditional nomadic poetry with modern, more universal features in a remarkable way. Always dressed in traditional Mongolian robes, his calm smile and warm presence were especially impressive throughout the festival. He received his award from the hands of the poet Do Jong-hwan, who is the current minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The climax of the festival came with the keynote speech by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on Saturday afternoon. In it he said, "We know that when we set out into the realms of imagination, we experience liberation at its most unsullied. We are not only free, we see humanity as the very repository and expression of freedom, beyond doctrine and politics." He evoked the many ways in which power has always felt threatened by the freedom of creativity, and striven to crush it, whether in the Chinese Cultural Revolution or the Spanish Inquisition or in the Stalinist USSR, and especially pointed at the current wave of Islamic violence, including in his own land of Nigeria. He paid tribute to the young Kenyan poet Kofi Awoonor who was killed in a terrorist attack on a Nairobi shopping mall. "Poetry is the antithesis of power, and negation of boundaries, not merely physical boundaries but frontiers of thought and imagination that run contrary to our human avocation. Border crossing is the very condition of true explorers." He quoted lines by an ancient Japanese poet, by British, American poets, Sylvia Plath and Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer, before widening his references to ask, "Do you know Tierno Bokar, the Sage of Bandiagara? Do you know the Ozidi Epic? Do you even know the Legend of Shaka Zulu or indeed the narratives of Fagumwa? Do you know of the compendium of Ifa oracular poetry? The lamp of the voyager, however luminous, must submit to the sunrise of universal Enlightenment. The ecumenical spirit of poetry urges on the explorer in all creatures endowed with the power of imagination."

To conclude, the participants issued a Declaration "The Morning of Asia: For the Furtherance of Democracy, Human Rights, and Peace" affirming the vital role of literature in the construction of a world of peace, free of discrimination and violence.

The writer is a professor emeritus at Sogang University.

South Korea: Busan Film Festival and creation of world culture

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by Park Sang-seek published by the Korea Herald (reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher)

I attended as an invited guest the opening ceremony of the 22nd Busan International Film Festival on Oct. 12. I immensely enjoyed the whole ceremony and the reception. It reminded me of the 10th Singapore International Film Festival in April 1997 I attended when I served as Korean ambassador to Singapore.


Photo from the 2016 Busan festival.

After the event in Singapore I wrote an article on the SIFF in the Strait Times in which I emphasized that nations can cope with deepening racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts through cultural exchange and cooperation despite, and because of, rapid economic and social globalization.

BIFF has made me reconfirm my belief. It is ironic that economic and social globalization has actually resuscitated racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts. The reason is that the more people contact each other, the less they understand each other.

When different races develop different cultures, they become divided into different ethnic groups. Different ethnic groups form their own states (nation-states). There are also multiethnic states, but they are in general more conflict-ridden than homogeneous nation-states.

Cultural exchanges in general are more likely to promote peace among states than any other exchanges, because economic exchanges rather strengthen nationalism, while social exchange can increase immigration and migration, which in turn create racial, ethnic and cultural conflicts within a state. We are eyewitnesses to such conflicts in multiracial, multiethnic and multireligious states in both the West and non-West.

Why can cultural exchanges promote mutual understanding and empathy better among different racial, ethnic and religious peoples?

My answer is that culture is more likely to activate empathy in the human heart than any other human activity. Empathy is the main source of peace. Some scholars believe that reason is the strongest source, but empathy is more prevalent and stronger than reason in the average human.

How would an average person react to foreign cultures? She may dislike or like them. But art performances transform them into emotional panaceas and invoke empathy in audiences. Among all art forms, film is the best to build empathy because it is an integrated art form (an amalgamation of novel, poetry, music, dancing, drama, sculpture and painting) and can affect every sensual organ of the human.

Whenever I see movies, my racial, national, ethnic, educational, family and ideological backgrounds suddenly disappear and I become a primordial human being and begin to empathize with any other kind of human being.

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Question for this article:

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

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When I watched the Iranian movie “Gabbeh,” I thought I was living with a tribe in Iran and experienced the love of mankind. I had the same experience as I had at SIFF when I saw the “Glass Garden” (a profound anatomy of human nature) showcased at BIFF. When I watched a physically handicapped girl, my psyche became instantly connected to hers, my mind melded into hers and I shared my life with her.

Film is one of the most effective and inexpensive means of promoting empathy among all humans and consequently to create a culture of peace. According to the preamble of the UNESCO constitution, “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

UNESCO believes a culture of peace can be built through education, interstate cultural exchanges and the preservation of national cultural heritage and diversity. But it has been proven that member states have been using UNESCO for the preservation of their own cultures, not for the creation of a universal culture. I personally observed this during my tenure as South Korean ambassador to UNESCO in the early 1990s.

Since UNESCO which was created to promote world culture has been unable to fulfill its objective, some other international organizations and activities have to undertake this role. BIFF and other similar organizations worldwide are most well-suited for it. I have become more convinced of this after I attended the activities of BIFF this year. BIFF may make small contributions to the creation of world culture, but its small step will lead to a giant step for humankind toward the ultimate goal.

However, it will be practically impossible to build the foundation of world culture without going through an intermediate stage: a regional stage to provide a bridge to a world culture.

Therefore, each region should establish its own regional organization for cultural cooperation. I had this in mind when I proposed a Pacific Cultural and Information Organization at a conference hosted by the Korean Commission for UNESCO in the mid-1980s. Nation-states create a regional culture in their respective regions first and work toward the creation of a global culture next. It is encouraging to note that regional film festivals are also held in all regions.

The freedom of filmmaking is one of the most important human rights. It is not surprising that dictatorships take filmmaking under state control.

BIFF can contribute to the creation of peace and global culture while promoting human exchanges better than any other cultural organization, activity or diplomacy.

After I attended the festival, I thought the programs of BIFF could be improved.

One important shortcoming of the festival is that some programs are not well internationalized. For a lack of funds, the organizer uses many university students as volunteer workers and guides, interpreters or desk workers. But they are not quite familiar with Western culture and protocol. International conferences and events are held according to Western protocol and rules of conduct and therefore BIFF should also be held according to them.

I also believe BIFF should be completely depoliticized. Otherwise, the very purpose of BIFF, the creation of a culture of peace, will never be realized.

[Publisher’s note: The author, Park Sang-seek, is a former rector at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University and the author of “Globalized Korea and Localized Globe.”]

Colombia: Envigado inaugurates mediation center for the community

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from 360 Radio (translated by CPNN)

The Personería Municipal [municipal ombudsman] of Envigado, headed by Virginia López Flórez, inaugurated the new mediation center for the community, with which they will seek to provide greater solutions when resolving conflicts between citizens.

“The Center contributes to a culture of peace and tolerance, so that people settle their disputes in a peaceful and respectful way, returning to dialogue and dignified treatment with the help of an impartial third-person mediator. We seek to serve people from strata 1 and 2 who do not have the resources to pay a mediator in a private center,” according to a municipal representative.

The Mayor of Envigado, Raúl Cardona, who supported the initiative, was also present at the inauguration. “Now, the Envigadeños have another place to reconcile which is totally free. Obviously this will greatly improve relations and coexistence and make it easier to solve problems,” the Mayor told 360 Radio.

“We are the second municipality in the Aburrá Valley that has such a center and one of 8 at a national level. This helps ensure that small conflicts do not go to the judicial system and delay it. Whether we like the peace process or not, the country has to start to change and prevent conflicts from escalating into violence,” said Jorge Correa, president of the Envigado Council.

(click here for the original Spanish version)

Question for this article:

Challenge in Colombia: Peace displacing violence as inspiration for the arts

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article By Camila Pinzón Mendoza for Huffington Post (translated by CPNN and reprinted according to the principles of “fair use”)

Colombian artists, filmmakers, musicians, playwrights and writers have a new challenge: to create peace instead of violence. At least if the agreements between the government and the guerrillas are complied with and respected. This is an interval of time without precedient for the Colombians for which they are not only witnesses but also creators. Two centuries of violence have defined their ways of feeling, thinking, living and inspired some of their best works of art, but today is a new time, the time of post-agreement .


Scene from the official trailer at El Fin de la Guerra

Living in a country without war brings to Colombians new ways of thinking, of narrating and of living. It’s a paradigm shift since the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC, on November 24, 2016, a transit scenario. This will be explored and reflected in the Neiva Cinexcusa Film Festival between the 23rd and 27th of October. It is the most important cinematographic and cultural meeting of the department of Huila and southern Colombia, a multidisciplinary event that involves literature, music, journalism and social sciences.

“We came from an overdose of film about drug trafficking and characters built in molds and clichés,” says Luis Eduardo Manrique Rivas, director of Cinexcusa. “Maybe,” he adds, “this is the time to tell stories with more real and current characters in more intimate environments that generate identification.” In this direction, the film Pariente, which will premiere at the Festival, will represent Colombia at the Oscars of 2018. The film talks about the enemies of peace. It tells the story of Willington’s love for Mariana while the rumor of a thief in the streets and a series of violent deaths bring back the memories of fear through “rural characters who are complex, contradictory and in dispute about the lack of love and of course, violence.”

“The territory of literature exists between history and myth,” reflects Daniel Ferreira (Colombia, 1981), a guest writer at the Festival. For the writer, “the torn opening of reality allows the past to become central, ordering the past and its contradictions with another sense in a distanced way that provides clairvoyance for the future”. Ferreira is the author of the novel, Viaje al interior de un gota de sangre (Alfaguara, 2017), recently published, in which he reconstructs a massacre through the voices of the victims and for whom “there are no collective, only individual truths”.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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For twelve years now, Cinexcusa has addressed through the arts, the social and political problems of Colombia and the world, such as mistreatment of women, Nazism and the armed conflict of the country. Through Cinexcusa have passed authors like the Colombian Alfredo Molano, who has dedicated his life to narrate the history of violence in Colombia in books such as “Los años del tropel: relatos de la violencia,” “Trochas y fusiles,” and his most recent, “A lomo de mula.” Last year, the Argentinean Andrés Neuman, was invited and he brought the individual and collective experiences that he explores in”Una vez Argentina”. Two years ago the guest was the Argentine chronicler Josefina Licitra, who has narrated the memory of the devastated of the tragedy of Epecué in his book, “El agua mala, un episodio similar al ocurrido en Armero”. Other participating authors have included Manuel Rivas, Lucrecia Martel and Leila Guerriero.

During these five days there will be more than 30 activities, with 28 guests and 22 films, including feature films and short films, in 12 public settings in Neiva. Neiva, a city in the south of the country on the banks of the Magdalena River, has been an unavoidable place of passage, a strategic enclave for the support of the armies: a place of war. Now it is celebrated as an encounter of art, culture, peace.

The central theme of the projections of this 12th edition is the post-agreement. Thirteen films on this theme make up the bulk of the program, which also includes participation by the directors themselves or experts who open the debate, such as the director of Pariente, Iván Gaona, the well-known actor Álvaro Rodríguez and the film critic Augusto Bernal. With the purpose of providing a panorama of the national filmography, there is also the section of “Colombian Cinema”, a space to talk with the creators about their creation processes and experiences during the shooting. There is also a sample of short films, which has become a national contest, to disseminate and stimulate audiovisual projects, and a sample of films that are screened in several schools in the city, called “Cinema on the board”, which seeks to bring the cinema to the classrooms.

You are invited to look at some of the films that will be screened at Cinexcusa, a light on the contexts of war and post-conflict. Click here and scroll down for film trailers.

Brazil: Senac promotes debate on culture of peace in the educational system

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from ABCdoABC (translated by CPNN)

On October 21, Saturday, Senac São Bernardo do Campo will hold a conference on the Culture of Peace – sharing practices and integrating knowledge, as part of the program of the Education Expo. This action by Senac of São Paulo seeks to foster reflection on issues in the area of ​​education, with the aim of contributing to the process of teacher training and encouraging them in their mission as generators of knowledge and social development.


The debate will be mediated by Andrea dos Santos Pereira Nunes, a graduate in social communication, postgraduate in project management and coordinator of the Senac Culture of Peace Program. The theme is how to put into practice in the educational environment values ​​and attitudes based on respect life and practice of non-violence, through a participatory process for the promotion of dialogue, resolving conflicts at the root of their causes, in a spirit of understanding and cooperation.

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(Click here for the article in Portuguese)

Questions for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

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In 2017, the central theme of the Education Expo, which takes place at different stages throughout the network of Senac São Paulo, is “Innovation in education: what transformations do we need to make?” The general programming highlights a series of discussions and lectures on the importance of investing in innovative methods in the education process, as well as discussing the challenges for promoting learning that takes into account the capacities of the students and that harnesses the resources offered by the new technologies.

The activities of the Education Expo are all free and open to the general public, and especially suited to educational professionals. To know more about the event or about the courses offered in the unit, please access the Senac Portal: www.sp.senac.br/sbcampo.

Expertise in education

The Senac São Bernardo do Campo also offers courses for educators to develop and improve their professional practice. In the portfolio, there are several courses that help teachers bring important concepts such as inclusion, active methodologies, structuring of learning, etc. into their practice in the classroom.

More information about courses and registrations are available at the Portal Senac, www.sp.senac.br/sbcampo.

International Day of Non-Violence celebrations held in Nairobi, Kenya

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article from the University of Nairobi

The United Nations International Day of Non-Violence celebrations were held at the University of Nairobi (UoN). The day which coincides with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence is celebrated every 3rd October.


Ms. Rajni Bakshi, an eminent Gandhi scholar presents the keynote speech.

The keynote address ‘Celebrating Ahimsa: Advances in Non-violence’ was delivered by Ms. Rajni Bakshi, an eminent Gandhi scholar and member of Executive Committee of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS) of India.

Ms. Bakshi called upon Kenyans and the world to uphold non-violence saying that one does not have to be a great soul in order to cultivate non-violence.

“Mahatma Gandhi once said that ‘non-violence is as old as the hills.’ This simply means that in history, non-violence existed,” she said. “Every day, the media reports news of violence in different parts of the world. One thing we need to understand is that violence will never get you power. This is a truth that cannot be overemphasized. To Gandhi, non-violence is simply a science…knowing what works and what does not work.”

Ms. Bakshi cited historical events and great quotes by Mahatma Gandhi that the world could embrace.

“A world with no violence can exist,” she said. “It is up to you to embrace each other and co-exist. We do not need guns to pass a point across. Let us emulate the life of Mahatma Gandhi because his life is his message.”

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

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Amb. Tom Amolo, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that everyone can be involved in creating a culture of peace.

“We should start preaching peace to the youngest of minds,” he said. “We need to embrace non-violence in resolving conflict and embrace co-existence.”

He was speaking on behalf of the Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Amina Mohamed.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi in his remarks said that Mahatma Gandhi was an intensely active personality who unendingly inspires many people around the world.

“As a university, I urge you to uphold the universal purpose of non violence by promoting culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and integrity to our institution of learning,” he said. “It is therefore incumbent upon us to resist the pressure to think and conduct ourselves in a formatted manner. We must resist the temptation to give in to popular beliefs and choices without questioning and objectively investigating their real value to society.”

The Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Madam Sanduchitra Durai, urged all to embrace the wise teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

“His life history is his message to us,” she said. “We have so much to learn from him and that is why the UN marked this day as an international celebrations day.”

The Director-General, UNON, Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, said that the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are relevant to Kenya given the current political situation.

“Let us uphold Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence even as we approach October 26, 2017 for the repeat presidential polls,” she said. “As Kenyans it is important for each one of us to embrace a culture tolerance.”

The event was organized by UoN, the United Nations Office in Nairobi, the Indian High Commission in Kenya and Kenya-India Friends Association (KIFA).