Category Archives: EDUCATION FOR PEACE

Dominican Republic: Reflections on the search for a culture of peace in schools

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Acento (translation by CPNN)

For three days the Ministry of Education held the National Forum for a Culture of Peace. With the enthusiastic presence of Minister Andrés Navarro, some 360 ​​students represented the 18 educational regions at the national level contributed proposals to address the increase in violence in Dominican schools.


We appreciate that Minister Andrés Navarro dedicates time and focus attention to this issue, and that the students of the country have been considered an essential part of the search for solutions in a subject that directly involves them.

Violence in schools is an old problem. The schools are located within communities that also have problems of violence: structural violence of society, family violence, gender violence, social violence. The violence that worries us today has always been in schools, but it is only now that we have instruments to recognize this violence, and show it outside the classroom, through social networks, and from there to more formal means of communication .

We never before had an education minister who discussed three days with students, listening to their concerns and suggestions on how to deal with violence. It’s a breakthrough. The Ministry of Education should make decisions about how to take on new technologies in schools, especially smartphones, which in some schools are forbidden while in others are allowed. They should not be instruments for distraction, but they can be instruments for information, for school work. New technologies should be incorporated as a support and not as an enemy.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

Where is peace education taking place?

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The other important issue is that students who go to school and are violent, or are victims of violence, or are spectators of acts of violence, come from homes with permanent or systematic violence, where there are aggressors and victims. These families can not be left out of the solutions. The school must find a way to incorporate the families of the students to solve the problem and to promote a culture of peace and respect.

The Ministry of Education will not be able to do anything with students who in the classrooms are instructed for a culture of peace if a culture of violence continues around them in the streets and in their homes.

There are working methods that the Ministry of Education could well assume in addition to this three-day meeting promoting a culture of peace. They should establish a dynamic that will involve teachers, school district coordinators, school directors and high schools.

The specialist Vanesa Espaillat, deputy director of the Lux Mundi School and professor at UNIBE University, has established that in any act of violence in the school context there are three actors: An aggressor, a victim and a public spectator. The public should be incorporated as part of the solution, and not left out as a simple observer.

No one who witnesses abuse or victimization in the school setting can remain indifferent. Teachers must be trained to deal with these events, and when they occur they should take advantage of them to nuance and emphasize the culture of peace, self-control, rejection of violence and taking responsibily.

The Ministry of Education needs to obtain an in-depth view to provide far-reaching solutions to this problem. It cannot solve it alone, because it does not depend only on the authorities, but it can help to find the door for its reduction.

We congratulate the Minister of Education, Andrés Navarro, for initiating the search for answers to an issue that worries the whole society. These initiatives can bring tranquility and serenity to the sector of education which so vital for families and for society.

Mexico: Culture of Peace Diploma initiated by CEDHJ, UdeG and the Institute of Alternative Justice

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from UDG TV (translation by CPNN)

Guadalajara Jalisco. Taking advantage of the chaos to transform it into peace, that is the commitment of the Culture of Peace Diploma that was initiated this Saturday in the State Commission of Human Rights of Jalisco (CEDHJ) to train civil servants and agents of change of the civil society in the most effective strategies to promote peace in any public space, explained the president of the Committee for a Culture of Peace in Jalisco, Florencia Marón.


Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

She explained how it is especially during times of chaos and hostility between societies that one can see an opportunity to generate a culture of peace through dialogue, empathy and conciliation.

Peace cannot be achieved by decree, even though the president of Mexico has announced that the war against drug trafficking has ended, clarifies the president of Mesa for the Culture of Peace Jalisco.

She added that yes we will be able to be a society of peace to the extent that we are willing to listen to the other, to respect their rights and to demand that the mental health of the Jaliscians be addressed with clarity and punctuality by the state administration.

The University of Guadalajara, the Human Rights Commission and the Alternative Justice Institute are participating in this Culture of Peace diploma.

(Click here for the original article in Spanish)
 

Culture of Peace and Education

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An essay by G.K. Ghosh in The Statesman

Since the war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed. ~ The Unesco Charter

The United Nations entity had identified the first decade of this century (2001-10) as the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World. A culture of peace was envisaged to be achieved when citizens of the world would be able to understand global problems, have the skill to resolve conflicts and struggle for justice, non-violence and live in accord with international standards of human rights and equity.

In 1989, the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men held in Africa urged Unesco to “.help construct a new vision of peace by developing a peace culture based on the universal value of respect for life, liberty, justice, solidarity, tolerance, human rights and equality between men and women.” The report of the Unesco’s International Commission on Education for the 21st Century titled Learning: The Treasure Within suggested that educational process needs to be restructured to draw out the hidden talents in students. The UN declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace adopted in 1999 emphasised the role of education in promoting a culture of peace.

Thus, education may serve as the principal means to create a culture of peace, and by reflecting its basic principles, the curricula can prepare people for the task of developing a culture of peace. Manifesto – 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence was launched by Unesco in 1999. It laid down the code of conduct for individuals saying that they must respect the life and dignity of every human being . There should be no violence ~ physical, psychological, sexual or social. The Unesco project on “Teacher Education for Peace” is also based on the assumption that effective teaching for peace and international understanding must target teachers themselves because they are the torch-bearers of building a peaceful culture in schools. They should be equipped with the content and pedagogical skills to translate the value of peace, tolerance, nonviolence, human rights and international understanding within the confines of the classroom.

In building a culture of peace, education has to play a crucial role. Peace education could infuse the entire curriculum and not just a separate aspect taught in isolation. Children may be acquainted with factors that contribute to practise solidarity, cooperation and respect for citizenship rights among different groups in society, and with factors that improve the realisation of such objectives.

Children may be enabled to generalise concepts and procedures relating to peace, cooperation and human rights at the local and national levels so as to develop a concept of world citizenship. They may also be acquainted with different organisations that cooperate at the local, national and international levels to promote peace and human rights and also to understand the role of the international bodies. Children may be acquainted with instances of violation of peace and human rights and the exploitation of international cooperation along with their adverse effects on the quality of life. They may be informed about the struggles and movements for peace and cooperation.

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Question for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

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Peace education is not a novel concept in schools. In many countries such as Australia, Netherlands, Canada, the UK and the USA, activities in the area of peace education have been in vogue for quite a long time. India has been the home of people with various origins. Ours is a tolerant eclectic society, a democracy in which universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms are guaranteed to all without any discrimination on grounds of community or creed.

Mahatma Gandhi introduced the lessons of non-violence in education for better manifestation of human sensibilities. Nai Talim or basic education guaranteed the essentials of education nursed in the spirit of non-violence.

The National Policy on Education (1986) states that “India has always worked for peace and understanding between nations, treating the whole world as a family.” It adds that “in our culturally plural society, education should foster universal and eternal values, oriented towards the unity and integration of our people.”

While preparing the Country Report on the Delor’s Commission Report, the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with Unesco in 1998, states,”India’s educational ethos needs major reforms in the context of the changes that are sweeping our country. The transformation that the society is going through warrants rejuvenation in the way we teach and what we teach.The way we structure our educational institutions and determine the contents of our curricula can by themselves help us move towards a culture of peace.”

Several non-governmental organisations like the World Peace Centre have been involved in spreading the message of Manifesto-2000. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) came out with its National School Framework for School Education-2000 which lays stress on peace education. The Curriculum-2000 inter alia emphasises education for peace and international understanding.

It has stressed the need to infuse a profound sense of nationalism tempered with the spirit of vasudhaiva kutumbakam. The NCERT in its Curriculum Framework for Quality Education stresses the student teachers’ contribution for social reconstruction to resolve conflicts peacefully. The Indian teachers’ education curriculum at the elementary and the secondary levels includes peace education.

So vast is the responsibility of teachers and yet, unfortunately, so little is the attention paid to implement them. Obviously, the teachers must accept their share of responsibility of inculcating good conduct, tolerance and a sense of respect for law and order among the pupils. The children can be taught in the classroom about the nature of conflicts and the way they can be resolved. They can be taught as to how to deal with conflicting situations, forgive others and inculcate in themselves the seeds of tolerance which is the need of the day. They should be told that a multi-religious society like ours is particularly vulnerable to the poison of intolerance. Holistic education lends itself to endless possibilities for innovation.

If the goal of education is freedom from ignorance, freedom from dependence and freedom from prejudice, then it is time to ask ourselves whether our education has enabled us to acquire the necessary competence to understand the world in which we live, to develop the skills to live independently and also to live collectively. Harmonious coexistence of multiple identities is the core of human civilization. Sharing is the basis of civilised collective living in a civil society.

(The writer is former Associate Professor, Department of English, Gurudas College, Kolkata)

USA: Culture of Peace: The wisdom of the 8th-grade Peace Flame Keepers

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE .. .

An article by David Wick from the Ashland Daily Tidings reprinted by the Global Campaign for Peace Education

As the World Peace Flame was lit at the Thalden Pavilion on the Southern Oregon University campus on Sept. 21, Ashland was recognized internationally. A unique part of this ceremony was the role of the newly formed Flame Keepers, made up of students from Kristina Healy’s class at nearby Ashland Middle School. They volunteered to keep the World Peace Flame lit by refueling the oil lamp every Friday during the school year with 100 percent sustainable biomass lamp oil, and keeping the lamp and enclosure clean.


A member of the Ashland Middle School Flame Keepers group tends to the flame. (Photo: Ashland Culture of Peace Commission)
(click on photo to enlarge)

After 11 weeks of Flame Keeper experience, they were asked two questions:

Why is it important to have a World Peace Flame?

What do you like about being a Flame Keeper?

Here are their responses:

Lauren Drabik: The Peace Flame gives hope for peace and it can help change the world and make it a better place for new generations. It is a big honor and there aren’t very many in the world, and you get to be part of something so big! It’s just special to do.

Kendra Caruso: The World Peace Flame brings people together and it helps everyone know there is peace in the world. The Peace Flame represents how everyone is one in the world. I really like it because I was chosen to be handed the flame (during the Sept. 21 lighting ceremony) and I handed it off to someone else who lit the flame. That was a huge honor! I felt like I was a part of the whole celebration of the flame. I think it is really cool to have Flame Keepers because it is a huge honor and because you are doing good for the world and I believe giving back is really nice.

Samara Penn-Kout: Having a World Peace Flame, especially in our small community, is really nice because its being part of something bigger. There are only two in this country and we are helping and being the representatives in the United States and the Northern Hemisphere. We are part of something greater to share with anybody. I love being a Flame Keeper because I feel so good about my actions, it is a big responsibility, and it is really nice because it feels like we are helping peace around the world.

Tara Vivrett: It is such a reminder for people to stay peaceful where they are and it is a constant thing going that you can always look to. It feels like being included because we’re being part of it and we are keeping it going. It is also something you can tell to people around you and that feels good.

Levi Predpelski: It is a reminder every day. Every time I see it I am reminded, “oh ya, be peaceful every day and don’t forget about it.” It is being part of something bigger than myself, it is about community and it is not just about me, it’s about everyone.

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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Finley Taylor: It is important because it shows us that peace isn’t just one day of the year. It is every day. And it is always there in the background and we should focus on making the world a more peaceful place. It feels like I am doing something important that changes the world. It’s just a good feeling.

Kade Price: It is important because then we know we will have peace all around the world. I like how I can be a part of peace.

CJ McDonnald: It brings people together and it makes you feel peaceful when you are around it, then every place you go you have this going on. It is a huge responsibility and I like refueling the flame with my friends.

Cash Cota: It shows you how much you should enjoy peace and that everybody should enjoy peace and not just certain people. It also shows that our culture is very peaceful as a community and that we deserved it because we can resemble peace a lot and we can also show other people how to be peaceful around the world. I like it because it is really cool to be part of something that no one else has done at this age, and it is also fun just being with friends and enjoying peace together.

Tara Lusk: It is important to represent how peace is all around us, especially in Ashland, a small community town that has a lot of organics and very community (focused). It is nice to have the World Peace Flame represent how peaceful we are here and how we get along together. It’s really fun; I like the responsibility of it. It is a little bit stressful at times, but overall it is a really nice experience.

Madeline Bolin: It reminds us that we should be constantly trying for peace, like always not just one event. The responsibility and knowing that we are helping to achieve peace.

River Collins: Having the World Peace Flame shows triumph over hate and is a check point in our history to accomplish peace. It is fun and because people see me as a peaceful person, not angry and more peaceful. This supports the change in the world.

Kristina Healey (teacher): I think it is always wonderful to have a reminder about peace. Peace in your own mind and heart and community and all the way beyond. And to know that they are originating from the same place of peace here on our planet. I like that I was able to do it, to be the vehicle to keep it (a focus on peace) going here in Ashland. I really loved to see the kids and how they we saying, “Oh this is so much responsibility, I don’t know if I can do it,” and just to empower them that we can do it if we all work together. We check that calendar, we go over (to the World Peace Flame Monument across the street) and we go through the directions. (The students) have felt very privileged and responsible about keeping the flame going for people who come and visit the Peace Flame in Ashland. We talk about it in class and some of the kid’s families have gone over, outside of class to see what it is all about. Anything to remind kids, our school district, our city that we are not finite, we are connected, we are bigger than that. So having the Peace Flame here reminds us of the importance of the commitment to peace.

When we wonder what peace really means, go ask an eighth grader at Ashland Middle School.

Email comments and questions to ashlandcpc@gmail.com. The ACPC website is www.ashlandcpc.org; like the commission on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandCultureofPeaceCommission;

follow twitter.com/AshlandPeace on Twitter. All are welcome to join the ACPC’s Talking Circle at 11 a.m. each Tuesday and Community Meeting at 4 p.m. each Wednesday, both at the ACPC office, 33 First St., Suite 1, diagonally across Lithia Way from the Ashland Post Office.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

USA: Season for Nonviolence begins 5th Season

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by John and Bev Titus in the Urban Citizen

The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund is proud to announce the fifth annual Season for Nonviolence initiative. Joined by Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, and the City of Urbana, the 140th International City of Peace, this year’s Season for Nonviolence is taking place Jan. 30-April 4. The 64-day national educational, media and grassroots campaign is dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and our communities.

The Season for Nonviolence was organized in 1997 to commemorate the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With a growing foundation of support, the Season for Nonviolence has become an important educational and media opportunity to bring communities together, empowering them to envision and help create a nonviolent world, one heart and one program at a time.

This year’s Season for Nonviolence kicked off this week with the Great Kindness Challenge. The Challenge is a bullying prevention program for Pre-K through 12th-grade students that creates a culture of kindness.

Students are encouraged to perform as many acts of kindness as they can throughout the week. Last year, more than 4,500 students from the Urbana City schools, Graham Local, West Liberty Salem, and the Mechanicsburg School districts took part in this global event. Some schools chose to extend their week of kindness to one month, and many committed to practicing and promoting kindness throughout their entire school year. Our students joined with more than 10.5 million students in nearly 20,000 schools representing over 100 countries to carry out more than 500 million “Acts of Kindness” in just one week!

Everyone in our Urbana City of Peace community is invited to join in the challenge and support our youth in their efforts to be kind. A family-friendly version” of the “Great Kindness Challenge” was created and used by more than 1,600 community members last year to provide ideas for random acts of kindness that can be practiced at home, at work and throughout our extended community. Visit the “Kids for Peace” (Great Kindness Challenge) website to download the Family Edition checklist at https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/familychecklist/.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

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Cities of Peace exhibit at UU

The 2019 Season for Nonviolence will include the International Cities of Peace exhibit displayed at Urbana University’s Sara Landess Room, Feb. 11-May 6. The Cities of Peace exhibit opens Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion. The panel members include Fred Arment, Executive Director of the International Cities of Peace; City of Urbana Mayor Bill Bean; Bev Titus, co-founder of the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund; and students from Urbana and Champaign County schools, to discuss local efforts to create a culture of peace within our community and support “Cities of Peace” around the world.

The International Cities of Peace exhibit consists of 12 panels that represent “Cities of Peace” around the world as well as the newly designed Urbana City of Peace panel. The “Cities of Peace” exhibit panels address the issues of: what are Cities of Peace, are Cities of Peace important, what is a culture of peace, fostering our peace economy, and “International Cities of Peace” locations. The Cities of Peace exhibit will open Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion.

To conclude this year’s effort, the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund will offer another free 6-week “Nonviolent Communication” workshop for community members, high school students and Urbana University students. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is an approach to living that has roots in Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence. The concept refers not only to physical violence, but also to any other way we “attack” others or ourselves, such as through judgment, criticism, and blaming.

Many of us long to hold others and ourselves with consideration and respect, but we sometimes find it hard to live these values in daily life. NVC gives us practical tools for embodying these values in any situation.

Diane Diller, an NVC trainer certified by the Global Center for Nonviolent Communication, will share how this practice helps us to communicate in a more loving and respectful way.

The community is invited to attend these workshops Mondays, March 18 through April 22, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the Moore Conference Room, located in the Urbana University Student Center.

To register for the Nonviolent Communication Workshop and find out more about the Cities of Peace Exhibit please call Stephani Islam at 937-772-9246. Space is limited and the class is free, so please RSVP.

Mexico: Government of AMLO will include new subjects in schools

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Nacion 321

Esteban Moctezuma, Secretary of Public Education [SEP] , said that the subject of civics will be taught in Mexican schools and other changes will be implemented in the curriculum to “include the promotion of values, civility, the culture of peace, international solidarity, respect for human rights, history, culture, art, especially, the music, sports and respect for the environment ”


Video: Presentation of education reform initiative

During the working meeting that took place on January 28 with the United commissions for Education and Constitutional Issues, the head of the SEP said that the union of these matters is what they call “an integral education”.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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In addition, he pointed out that if you want a country without violence and a culture of peace, the initiative to reform education presented by the federal government “will create that new Mexican school.” The work is yet to be done, but the law is the framework that will allow us to do it”.

He insisted that the Education Reform approved in the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto did not signify any significant progress, for which he asked the legislators to repeal the reform and “give a new channel to the educational project.”

He indicated that universality, integrality, equity and excellence as basic postulates of public education are added to the traditional principles of education.

ENGLISH STILL WITHOUT PROFESSORS WHO SPEAK IT

In an interview with Javier Solórzano, Moctezuma said that they will teach English even before the normal teachers learn that language.

“Obviously you have to teach English in the normal, but we thought and we have been studying a method, in which through a very powerful platform can enable a teacher who does not know English, to coordinate a group that is working with the platform, “the secretary told Solórzano.

He explained that in this way, they could have the ability to teach the language almost immediately, while if “you wait for the normal teachers to learn English” it would take longer to be able to “provide that tool to Mexican children”.
 

USA: Appalachian Peace Education Center

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

Excerpts from the website of the Appalachian Peace Education Center

In 1982, APEC opened an office in Abingdon, Virginia, representing small peace groups in coalfield  and agricultural communities such as Big Stone Gap, St. Charles, and Dungannan and Bristol. First focusing on education around nuclear disarmament, military spending, and cold war politics, the organization grew to oppose U.S. government’s intervention in Central America, and became involved in labor rights, conflict resolution, race relations, and opposition to U.S.-sponsored wars and military presence around the globe. APEC members demonstrated publicly for years against the U.S. initiating and conducting war in Iraq. APEC continues its work for peace and justice today, welcoming new peacemakers in the era of President Trump.


Current Activities

32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., March and Celebration
Abingdon, Virginia, Saturday, January 19, 2019

12:30 pm: “People Like Us: Building Allies for Justice” led by Jerry Hill. Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main St.
1:30pm: March begins at Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main St. We invite organizations to bring a banner or sign that identifies their group as part of this community event. (We’ll march 3 blocks to…)
2:00 pm: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration – Abingdon UMC, 101 East Main Street.

A reception will follow the celebration. Please bring finger food to share if you can. This year, we are collecting canned goods at either Charles Wesley or Abingdon UMC to deliver to Faith in Action.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Film Screening and Discussion led by Filmmaker Katrina Browne

St Thomas Episcopal Church, 124 East Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia

Thursday, January 17th
Reception at 5:30 pm, Program at 6:00 pm

This documentary, first shown on PBS’s POV, describes a New England family’s discovery of their ancestors’ slave-trading past and how their present white privilege was gained generations ago.​ Event sponsored by St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Bristol’s 2nd Annual MLK, Jr., March and Celebration
Monday, January 21st

1:30 pm – March – Gather on MLK Blvd. 
in Tennessee gather at YMCA; In Virginia gather at First Christian Church
2:45 pm – MLK Celebration at Bristol Train Station

West Africa: Stakeholders call for support of the ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from ECOWAS, Economic Community of West African States

The Plans of Action (PoA) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)’ Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF) were launched on the 28th of January 2019 at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters, in Abuja, Nigeria.


officials cutting the ribbon for the launch

The Framework’s 15 Components with peace-building mechanisms, provide, among others, tools for strengthening regional and national capacities for preventing violent conflicts or their recurrence in the region.
 
In his opening statement at the event, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security General Francis Béhanzin noted that the ECPF was established for the realization of the dream of a stable and secured West African region with strong democratic institutions, resilient border security and an environment conducive to economic growth and productivity.
 
Calling for the support and collective ownership of the Framework, Commissioner Béhanzin maintained that the ideal of a peaceful, progressive and prosperous region had been the main motivation of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council when it adopted the ECPF in 2008.
 
According to him, beyond the ECOWAS Commission and Member States, conflict prevention is the responsibility of the citizens of the community, civil society activists, academics, civil servants and the international community including Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Diplomatic Missions.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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As adopted, the ECPF is to operationalize the 1999 Protocol on the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and security. General Béhanzin stressed in this regard that the Framework is to “serve as a guiding reference for the ECOWAS Member states to strengthen human security in the region”

Introducing the broad objectives of the Framework, the Director of Political Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Remi Ajibewa remarked that what has been birthed is a solid platform for channeling partners’ cooperation to ensure stable, peaceful and more prosperous West Africa while enabling ECOWAS to consolidate on the peace building gains made so far.
 
The Charge d’Affairs of the embassy of Switzerland in Nigeria Mrs Anne-Beatrice Bullinger held that the new and comprehensive ECPF Action Plans represent a very important step forward towards “a coherent, coordinated, complementary and effective implementation of the Framework by ECOWAS, its Member States and the civil society”
 
The Danish ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Jesper Kamp stressed that the government Denmark is supporting the ECPF processes in keeping faith with the strides of the regional community as an “indispensable organization for peace, security and governance across West Africa.
 
Ambassador Kamp said further that the planned activities “provide a platform for youth as well as women. Only through the inclusion of these groups can we ensure that solutions are sustainable”.
 
The keynote address of the Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria Ambassador Ketil karlsen resonated by painting the image of the ECPF as that of a noteworthy conflict prevention instrument.
 
A presentation of the PoA made by the Commission’s Principal Officer, for Conflict Prevention Mr. Constant Gnacadja revealed the Framework as a comprehensive, operational, conflict prevention and peace-building strategy that is a harbinger of hope through a timely resolution of conflicts in the region.
 
The PoA are to drive the activities of the 15 components of the ECPF which are: Early warning, preventive diplomacy, democracy and political governance, human rights and rule of law, media, natural resource governance, cross-border initiatives and security governance, Women, peace and security, youth empowerment, ECOWAS Stand-By Force, Humanitarian assistance, peace education (Culture of peace) as well as its Enabling Mechanism.
 
The ECPF processes are being supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the European Union (EU) among others.

“Peace and Love rooms in schools”

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

Sent to CPNN by Shahin Gavanji, World Peace Ambassador

Here on the earth, we have thousands of religions and ideologies in which their creators were completely sure about their authenticity. But every day we are faced with wars and bloodsheds. We should ask ourselves why?

When I was a kid I wanted to grow up and tell the world “I love you, let’s love each other and be friends”, so that no kid should be without shelter and food. But as I was growing up a question troubled me: what does peace mean? Is it just the absence of war? Or does it mean something beyond that? I saw countries in which there is no war but nobody gives water to the tree of love. Indeed what happen to the world if the tree of love becomes thirsty?


Shahin Gavanji on left
(click on photo to enlarge)

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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Then an idea came to my mind. What we teach to our children in childhood and adolescence is the same as what they will build in the world. Our children spend most of their time in schools. They get familiar with physics and mathematics, but nobody make them familiar with the most important subjects which are Love and Friendship. Indeed there is no lesson related to these important subjects. In my opinion if in every school we make a room with the name” Peace and Love room”, students will get familiar with the basis of peace and love.

With attention to students we can increase the self confidence between them so that they understand that they can help humankind at the national and international levels. We should teach the student how to love other in this industrial world. Every student can communicate with students in other schools. They should learn “international love” by sending a letter or a picture. In this room the students should learn the equality of men and women.

In this way children can grow up with Love as an essential part of their lives, because they have become familiar with it for many years and it was one of the most important challenges they have faced.

By the use of this idea we can create a world without enmity and hatred, a world of social justice without poverty, racism and any racial discrimination. We can live in a world with social safety, equity, peace and love and the tree of love will no longer be thirsty anywhere in the world.

Book review: On the frontlines of peace

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article from  Peace News

In places like South Sudan, Syria and Congo failed peace pacts have devastating consequences. Now, renowned author Séverine Autesserre is writing a new book [“On the frontlines of peace”] that focuses on a different approach to peace than traditional high-level negotiations: ‘peace from below’. And where it’s working.


video

“Peace from below is peace built by ordinary people, people like you and me,” Dr Autesserre, a professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, said. 
 
“It’s peace that’s built by teachers who go and decide to meet with former students who have become militia leaders, it’s peace built by uncles, mothers, fathers, cousins, who go and meet with family members who are fighting. It’s peace built by local leaders as well, by traditional chiefs or local mayors or local elite who decide to do whatever they can to mediate conflict within their communities.”
 
Just one peace summit, arranged at a national or international level can cost millions, so why aren’t the big negotiations working?
 
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with peace by political leaders,” said Dr Autesserre. “Except that very often it doesn’t happen, it just doesn’t work.”

”What happens is political leaders sign agreements, sometimes they hold elections, and very often the media headlines praise peace, and then a week or two later – sometimes just days after – violence flares up again. Often it never actually ended, and in many cases it lasts for years after.”
 
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Question for this article:

What are the most important books about the culture of peace?

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“The problem is that currently we are always focusing our efforts on the top, on political leaders, on elite, and we very rarely support peace at the grassroots.”
 
But Dr Autesserre explained that lasting peace requires both these top-down and ground-up approaches. 
 
“Because very often the causes of violence themselves are both top-down and bottom-up. The causes are both political leaders who are fighting (presidents, rebel leaders who are fighting) but also ordinary people who are fighting or who are supporting combatants.”

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo the residents on the island of Idjwi have used a ‘peace from below’ approach to avoid violence, despite surrounding conflict claiming millions of lives.

“Idjwi has all of the conditions that have led to violence in surrounding provinces in other parts of Congo,” said Dr Autesserre. “So you have ethnic tension, you have land conflict, you have geo-strategic location, mineral resources, I could go on and on. But the inhabitants of Idjwi have managed to build peace, and maintain peace, by building on ordinary people and local leaders.”


”What they’ve done is promoted what they call a ‘culture of peace’ – they are very, very proud of their identity as a peaceful island.”


The island’s schools, churches and local organizations strengthen peace here, and respect for local customs also helps. For example, the community sometimes build on blood pacts, a kind of traditional promise between two families who to refrain from violence against each other.

A lack of research means grassroots peacebuilding needs more attention in the academic sphere, but there’s one common theme Dr Autesserre has observed in the various locations she’s studied.
 
“It’s, again, the involvement of ordinary people and local leaders,” she said. 
 
“It’s really the fact that every single member of the community feels that is it his or her responsibility to help build peace, rather than waiting on a Hail Mary, or rather than waiting on a savior, rather than waiting for political leaders, or for United Nations peacekeepers to come and build peace, it’s really taking peace in to their own hands and trying to build peace on an everyday level. That’s what really matters.”