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Asian Educators Symposium and Exchange Program: Creating a Culture of Peace through Education
an article by Masami Miyazaki

The Goi Peace Foundation and the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) co-organized the Asian Educators Symposium and Exchange Program “Creating a Culture of Peace through Education” in Japan from 18 to 25 February 2008, bringing together teachers from Asian countries who are actively engaged in peace education.

One of the key action areas of UNESCO is fostering a culture of peace through education by revising the educational curricula to promote qualitative values, attitudes and behaviors of a culture of peace, including peaceful conflict prevention and resolution, dialogue, consensus-building and active non-violence.

The Asian Educators Symposium provided opportunity for the participants to exchange their innovative and effective teaching programs, activities and methodologies, so that they may advance their efforts for peace education in their home countries, and thereby contribute to the creation of a culture of peace in the region and beyond.

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Ten educators were invited from Israel, India, Australia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and USA. During the 2-day symposium held at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo, they were joined by 23 Japanese educators involved in either formal or non-formal education. The program consisted of an introduction as well as three workshop sessions with the following objectives:

1) To identify the “Universal Values of a Culture of Peace” and discuss how they can be effectively taught in classrooms.

2) To identify the various forms of violence which exist in schools and discuss how they can be overcome.

3) To discuss what kinds of education are needed in order to nurture a responsible global citizen.

An Open Forum was organized to share some of the highlights from the symposium with the public. About 100 participants, many of them educators themselves, enjoyed exchanging opinions with the teachers from abroad.

The international participants also visited local schools and community classrooms to observe the various educational efforts being made in Japan. Additionally, they made a trip to Kyoto and Hyogo to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and traditions. The extensive 7-day program offered a great learning and networking opportunity for all the participants, who had become like one family ready to support one another in their shared mission as educators and peace-builders.


Question(s) related to this article:

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

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Latest reader comment:

During the Asian Educators Symposium, we found out that Peace Education is still not part of the school curriculum in most countries. However, the participating teachers have been incorporating peace education in their teaching subjects, such as English, social studies, and character education. We all agreed that love and the will to nurture peace in children are the most important basis for peace education. Even if peace education is not a part of the curriculum, peace can be taught through any subject. Whatever you are teaching, if it comes from the heart, then it will touch the minds of children.

This report was posted on July 31, 2008.