A Student’s Guide to Peace Education
"Youth have the energy, enthusiasm and ability to transform their lives and help make the world a better place in which to live."
- Craig Kielburger, 16 year old founder of Free the Children, an international youth organisation whose mission is to free children from poverty and exploitation and to empower young people to become leaders in their communities, nationally and internationally
Peace education is not just about what happens in school. It is not about what you need to know for the test or memorise to please the teacher. Peace education is about how you can help build the future and make your world a more peaceful place to live.
Peace education asks you to ask yourself:
Is there peace in my life? Where? In my classroom? In my family? In my community?
In my town? In my country?
Where in my life would I like to see more peace?
What is important for me to LEARN?
What can I DO with what I learn?
The curriculum units on this website are designed to guide you through these kinds of questions and help you think about PEACE and EDUCATION in different ways. But ultimately, what you learn -and what you do with what you learn- is up to YOU.
Lots of kids and young adults around the world are asking themselves what they can do to make the world a safer, healthier, greener, more fair and less violent place for everyone to live and grow. Young people have added their voices to a global call to end school violence, poverty, child labour, racial and gender discrimination, child soldiers, and brutal warfare. With so many challenges for the future, learning about peace in school is an important beginning.
This year, 2000, has been declared by the United Nations the International Year for the Culture of Peace and it is the first year in the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
- The United Nations is encouraging young people to participate in the process of building peace. In September, 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) stated:
- "Young people are the present; their involvement is a necessity for human development and sustainability. The strongest demand expressed today by young people themselves is that for participation:
They want to be considered as full and equal citizens. Young people are capable of assuming responsible, determining roles in society. They need only to be given the opportunity and guidance to prove their ability. Young people deserve to be consulted and
involved in all aspects of social interchange.
- They desire to be serious and reliable partners in the conception, planning and implementation of policies and programmes in their communities and societies. Young people have as much to say about societal problems and potential remedies as others do. Taking apt account of their concerns and suggestions will be beneficial for all. Young people should hold a role in decision-making that is given due import."
Like the United Nations, teachers and students involved in peace education want to see young people get involved. Learning is not a passive process - it is an active experience. And it begins with you!
If you would like to get more involved, here is a list of some youth organisations currently working to make the world a more peaceful place:
- Free the Children
- Global Youth Connect
- Hague Appeal Youth Network
- Peace Games
- Leap Confronting Conflict
- Amnesty international
- UNESCO Youth Co-ordination Unit
- UNICEF Voices of Youth
And there are many more. What are some organizations working for peace and peace education near you? Please let us know. THANKS!
The Victory Over Violence (VOV) initiative hopes to inspire young people throughout the world to identify and counteract the root causes of violence in their lives, homes, schools and local communities through awareness, introspection, individual empowerment and a courageous and creative commitment to dialogue.
The Eight Action Areas
Is there a conflict prevention and resolution training program at your school?
What steps can you start taking today to help safeguard the future of our planet?
Do you think violence in movies and television affects children? Is there anything you can do about violence in the media?
What are some examples in your community of ways that women are not equal to men? Do you believe that women have a special role in creating a culture of peace? Why?
Do schools in your area teach democratic citizenship? What can you do to help children learn responsibility?
Do you have friends from other countries or cultures? What are you doing to fight prejudice and stereotyping?
Do you know how to access the Internet on a computer? What could you do to help people in poorer countries get the equipment and the knowledge that you have?
What are you doing to promote peace? UNESCO has educational resources for many of these action areas.
Culture of Peace Lectures
Recorded lectures from the Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker Series which has been initiated by the Culture of Peace Resource Centers in New York, Santa Monica, Chicago, Washington DC and Honolulu to engage their local communities in a regular dialogue on the values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and inspire creative energy toward the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Lecturers in this series focus on one or more of the 8 action areas defined by the 1999 United Nations Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace: (1) Fostering a culture of peace through education, (2) Promoting sustainable economic and social development, (3) Promoting respect for all human rights, (4) Ensuring equality between women and men, (5) Fostering democratic participation, (6) Advancing understanding, tolerance and solidarity, (7) Supporting participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge and (8) Promoting international peace and security.
It is hoped that this eclectic and thought-provoking series of dialogues will empower community participants with a heightened awareness of the subtle shifts in our attitudes and behaviors that can help attain and sustain a culture of peace and to apply what they have learned in meaningful ways to their families, schools, workplaces and local communities.
Culture of Peace Television
United Nations Television
United Nations Television reports on the work of the UN and its agencies around the world. These features illustrate UN peacekeeping efforts as well as projects aimed at reducing poverty and human suffering, fighting disease, providing humanitarian assistance, stimulating economic growth and raising awareness of pressing global issues such as climate change, human rights and challenges to peace and security.United Nations Television also provides coverage of events, briefings and meetings at the United Nations headquarters in New York.