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Question: Peace education at the United Nations, how does it work? CPNN article: Culture of Peace Advocacy at the UN
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Culture of Peace Advocacy at the UN
University for Peace Starts Centre in The Hague
Successful Inaugural Conference of UPEACE, The Hague
Les jeunes, acteurs du changement social : ensemble, planifions l’éducation
Engaging Youth in Planning Education for Social Transformation
L’éducation, l’oubliée des conflits
Conflict-sensitive education – why and how?
Forging a peaceful future: four years of UNICEF’s Learning for Peace Programme
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: May 22 2011,04:54

[Editor's note]: This is a continuation of the article by Oliver Rizzi Carlson, Culture of Peace Advocacy at the UN.

In the historic, international hallways of the United Nations, multitudes of people from every country in the world are busy going to meetings, addressing agenda items relevant to their governments and organizations, and making contacts. Lists are set, events are scheduled… agendas are largely inherited and predictable, presenting many issues and objectives that people have been working toward for a long time: goals of peace, prosperity, equality, justice. And yet, agendas still provide an incredible space to speak about the process by which those desires are achievable. Most of the time, documents just fall short of that transformative element, seeming to be longing for it. Peace education is seldom included; but once mentioned, it is immediately recognized for its relevance and importance. The “whats” are many and detailed in the world of international conference-making; the expertise of the “how” is a welcome newcomer to the discussion.

Advocating for peace education in the midst of governments, international organizations and even NGOs, few of which promote peace education directly, appears as a lonely journey. But as soon as one starts to speak about it, people’s eyes light up, new ideas and proposals flow, and diverse groups gather to talk about it further – it seems the momentum is building very quickly to create a real consciousness about peace education at the international and institutional level. Many also say it is “refreshing” to see youth doing this work. At the same time, changes are slow, the bureaucracy weighs down on the process, and, though most intuitively understand its importance, some still consider peace education to be too “controversial” to place in an official document. In these “growing pains,” we’re still making important progress.

In a sense, this advocacy addresses an often-overlooked group of learners: institutional authorities and policy makers. They, too, should know about peace education, be exposed to its concepts and benefit from its empowerment, so that their far-reaching decisions can be taken conscious of the peace dynamics involved. From Council chambers to cafeterias, from hallways to conference rooms, passing through the interpreters’ booths, this is “the field” for this new kind of peace education. Peace education is not only about peace – it is also about the processes that create it: it is also about peace education itself. And in the kernel of these seeds is the creation of a culture of peace at the UN.

Oliver Rizzi Carlson is Representative at the UN for the United Network of Young Peacebuilders, Operation Peace Through Unity, as well as the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. He is Sower and Caretaker of the Culture of Peace Organization, as well as Editor of the Global Campaign for Peace Education Newsletter.
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