Colombia: No peace without Education for Peace


An report from Amada Benavides (translated by CPNN)

The meeting “Education, Pedagogy and Cultures of Peace” in Bogota, Thursday May 19, developed an analysis of the cultural changes in academia, social and community sectors that are needed for peace in Colombia. Speakers included Alicia Cabezudo, specialist in Education for Democracy, Citizenship, Culture of Peace and Human Rights; Amada Benavides, President of the Schools of Peace Foundation; Manuel Rojas, an expert in management, evaluation and systematization of educational innovation and building cultures of peace in contexts of violence and risk; and Marcela Villegas, coordinator of the Education Alliance for Building Cultures of Peace-UNICEF. The moderator was Jorge Palacio, representative of IDEP, the Institute for the Development education. Participants also included teachers, academics and trainers who shared their experiences and daily reflections. Together, they reaffirmed that there will be no peace unless there is peace education to transform the culture, and this requires a renewal of pedagogy.

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From the academic standpoint, according to Alicia Cabezudo, we need a pedagogical movement that understands citizenship as a historical subject, and that deconstructs the war from the practices and experiences at the neighborhood, local and community levels. From the social standpoint, according to Manuel Rojas, cultural change towards peace depends on each of us as individuals, freeing outselves from the culture of war in language and practice; leaving aside individualism. Likewise, from the community perspective, it is necessary to collectively rebuild the social fabric, as explained by Marcela Villegas, taking into account the experiences of peace cultures that have developed locally. These are the practices recognized by the National Meeting on Education for Peace held last year, and presented by Amada Benavides.

The meeting was organized by Psicoandinos (The Chapter of Psychology Alumni from the University of the Andes), the Education Alliance for the Construction of Cultures of Peace, the Institute for Educational Research and development -IDEP-, Uniandinos for Peace and the Schools of Peace Foundation, celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, in order to ensure a role for education for the construction of cultures of peace in the political and public agenda of Colombia.

(Click here for the original version in Spanish)

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