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Another Step towards Education for a Culture of Peace with the University of Evry, Valley of the Essonne
an article by Gwenaëlle Beauvais

In 2006, the curriculum of a French university in Parisian suburbs (Evry, Valley of the Essonne) was enriched by a new course entitled “Construction of a culture of peace, a planetary challenge”. This original and completely unique action in the French university landscape, invites students to tackle the major problems of the contemporary world which they are invited to consider in conferences with personalities recognized for their competence and their engagement in the field of peace.

click on photo to enlarge

The contents of the course are based on the eight fields of action formulated within the program of the United Nations in its resolution of 1999 on the culture of peace. Following the success of the conferences debates, Alain Zozime, then vice-president of the University of Evry, decided to go further and he organized with the help of voluntary teams, and with the support of the French Commission on UNESCO, an International symposium entitled “Dynamic of the culture of peace, theories and modes of action”. On May 9 and 11, 2011, a number of experts and militants met to discuss together the state of the concept of peace through the media, international security, the sciences, economy and solidarity.

According to the militants, it is not a question of overturning a world system that is nourished by a culture of war. “The States have shown their incapacity to govern” began one of the speakers. For certain specialists, we have only five to ten years “to change Mankind”: the media, sciences, and the civil society must all be involved as actors. One seeks to encourage debates in systems of representation that are not related to war and in which the citizenry could eventually develop behaviors promoting the common good. The conference would thus give another vision to men and women, a vision that provides an alternative to the apocalyptic visions that depicted today in the mass media.

The debates led to conclusions that were alarming but which found optimism in the multiplication of local initiatives. Although the young generation was identified as the major actor in change, the university deplored the noticeable absence of students in attendance at the conference. Conscious of its educational mission and the need to share the richness based in social relations, the University of Evry is involving itself in the dynamic of citizenship which it hopes to promote through future actions in favor of a culture of peace and nonviolence.

The symposium debates may be found at:

here for a French version of this article)


Question(s) related to this article:

University campus peace centers, What is happening on your campus?

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Latest reader comment:

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

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This report was posted on September 27, 2011.