School Program Evaluation Reports from Armenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

These reports are cued up for entry into our resources catalog, but I wanted to mention them here for researchers interested in the implementation of school-based conflict resolution and peace education work in divided societies like Bosnia and Herzegovina or Armenia. Thanks go out to Carolyne Ashton for sharing these reports!

Armenian Life Skills Curriculum Integration Evaluation Report (doc format)
Armenian Life Skills Curriculum Integration Evaluation Report (pdf format)

Evaluation Report on OSCE’s Efforts to Unify the Gymnasium Mostar (doc format)
Evaluation Report on OSCE’s Efforts to Unify the Gymnasium Mostar (pdf format)

Solomon Islands Peace Education Curriculum

In the aftermath of five years of civil unrest in Solomon Islands during the late 1990s, educational institutions, the National Peace Council, and NGO leaders expressed a need to build capacity in educational and community settings to teach peace building concepts and skills. This curriculum, subtitled “Come Together, Talk Together, Work Together” is one example of the work being done. The content was prepared in response to interviews of nearly 50 community leaders, educators, young people, and NGO representatives in Solomon Islands in 2004. The content and skills of the highest priority identified by these stakeholders included:

• Understanding rights and responsibilities
• Understanding cultural diversity
• Restorative justice and reconciliation
• Gender relationship skills
• Ability to live with change
• Leadership qualities
• Conflict prevention
• Traditional definitions of peace
• Understand interdependence between individuals and society
• Respect different cultures

These content and skill areas have been incorporated into the curriculum, which consists of four units. All of the conflict scenarios that serve as the basis for skill exercises have been drawn from examples that educators, community leaders and young people provided during interviews. “COME TOGETHER, TALK TOGETHER, WORK TOGETHER” Practicing Peace: A Peace Education Module for Youth and Young Adults in Solomon Islands (UNICEF May 2005) should prove interesting and inspiring to peace educators.

Practicing Peace: A Peace Education Module for Youth and Young Adults in Solomon Islands (UNICEF May 2005 – doc format)
Practicing Peace: A Peace Education Module for Youth and Young Adults in Solomon Islands (UNICEF May 2005 – pdf format)

Practicing Peace Curriculum Activites Organized by Educational Standard (doc format)
Practicing Peace Curriculum Activites Organized by Educational Standard (pdf format)

Aceh (Indonesian) Peace Education Curriculum – Translated to English

Readers of the the Global CRE blog should really appreciate these new contributions to the Conflict Resolution Education Connection website. Carolyne Ashton, a program evaluation specialist with an extensive background in conflict resolution and peace education, passed along these documents representing peace education from an Islamic and Acehnese perspective. The curriculum was developed for use in Aceh (Indonesia) schools, and Ms. Ashton served as an evaluator for the materials. The principal parties to the development of the curriculum were UNICEF, Nonviolence International (Washington, DC), AusAID (UNICEF Australia) and education experts in Aceh. The latter formed the curriculum development team and a team that revised the original curriculum. The director chosen for the project was a native Acehnese, Dr. Asna Husin.

Indonesian Peace Education Curriculum – Programa Pendidiken Damai (doc format)
Indonesian Peace Education Curriculum – Programa Pendidiken Damai (pdf format)

Evaluation Report – Program Pendidiken Damai (doc format)
Evaluation Report – Program Pendidiken Damai (pdf format)

New Learning Module on Research Strategies

A learning module entitled CRE Program Research Strategies has been added to our collection. It is based on the research portion of a longer 5-day workshop we host on exploring CRE in schools. The new research-oriented module provides basic strategies and frameworks for understanding and conducting useful CRE Program research. We have versions available for viewing online or for download and use in learning management systems like Blackboard or Moodle. See CRE Program Research Strategies to choose the version that works for you.

Reporting on Peace Education Conference in Kenya

In December 2008, I travelled to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi to attend a four day Conference on Peace Education in Eastern and Central Africa: The state of the art, lessons and possibilities. The aim of the conference was to create a forum where participants could share, learn and discuss the current status of peace education and its application in East and Central Africa.

The conference was organized by the Nairobi Peace Initiative (NPI), a regional secretariat of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in collaboration with the GPPAC International Secretariat, The Global Campaign for Peace Education and Kenya’s Ministry of Education. The conference addressed the important role of education in peace-building.

A major focus of the conference was on garnering regional and international linkages that could be used to improve national approaches through partnering and information sharing.

The conference was divided into two parts. The first two days provided an opportunity to examine the ‘art’ of peace education and the lessons and issues emerging from its implementation particularly in East and Central African countries; Burundi, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Gabon, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The second two days were dedicated to peace education in Kenya.

I attended the conference as arepresentative of the GPPAC Working Party on Peace Education and presented a workshop on the second day of the conference.

GPPAC was established by the UN in 2003 as civil society led world-wide network to build international consensus on peace-building and contribute to the prevention of armed conflict. Other Working Party members from the Philippines, Ukraine, Palestine, Columbia, Serbia, Spain, Ghana, Japan, Sri Lanka and Montenegro also attended. The group included GPPAC General Secretary, Paul Van Tongeren. Peace education is a GPPAC priority and complements the work of a global network of educators committed to investing in future generations through the development of skills, understanding and values needed for participation in peaceful communities.

The Conference was a significant event grappling with profound and challenging regional and local issues. Despite the magnitude of the task, particularly in relation to building peace in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan there was strong sense of optimism and commitment. Obviously the challenge is to translate the ideas and enthusiasm into practice.

Political, social and economic factors will, as they always have, influence implementation of peace education initiatives. In Kenya the next steps involve providing immediate relief to ease the stress and causes of violence as well as implementation of prevention strategies. Education is one part of a broader solution for creating peaceful communities and national unity.

Experience from around the globe indicated that peace building is not easy work. This challenge was magnified most recently in post-apartheid South Africa with the xenophobic murders of Zimbabwean refugees. Recent post-election violence and school strikes in Kenya reminded people how fragile peace is and galvanized a strong collaboration between the Ministry for Education and Civil Society Organisation partners. As one delegate reminded us, ‘Don’t take peace for granted! It is hard to get back once it’s gone’.

There are however many things that can be done in schools. The Kenyan Government’s commitment, endorsed by the Minister, the Permanent Secretary, senior officials and demonstrated in productive collaboration with CSO’s, goes a long way towards creating the conditions in which schools can contribute to the ideals of civil society. Investments in extra curricula activities such as sport and music festivals or creating opportunities for student voice will be important. An emphasis on student centered learning can make a difference.

I think that an optimal learning environment is engaging and challenging, where theory and practice promote relevance and authenticity and one in which educators and students feel safe and valued. Whilst this may be considered an ideal I believe it is in such environments that quality learning and productive relationships flourish. Schools that work this way are worth striving for and provide places where young people can rehearse active citizenship, conflict resolution and peaceful relationships.

I understand this was the first time that Kenya had hosted a conference on peace education. The global network expands opportunities and shares the load. My heartfelt congratulations go to the organizers. This was an exceptional event, rich with the challenges and possibilities of education. I wish everybody well in their efforts and that the productive collaboration continues.

Gary Shaw – shaw.gary.r@edumail.vic.gov.au

“Out on a Limb, a guide to getting along” supports CRE in elementary education

This instructional website from the University of Illinois Extension is available for teachers in English, Spanish and Arabic. The site and the materials can be used for second through fourth grade students. Second grade students may need a little more hands on assistance. The site includes a teacher’s guide and activities that can be used in school and at home. It is possible that benchmark outcomes can be used in your curriculum to meet standards for learning in third through fifth grade in Social Sciences, Language Arts and in Expression Arts. The teacher’s guide provides excellent background information on Conflict Resolution Theory. Younger children, teachers and parents can use the interactive portion of the website together during daily activities.

The site is comprehensive and could be used for training staff members and youth new to your school’s Conflict Resolution Program. One of the best tools this site offers students is the interactive portion where students can receive feedback instantly about conflict resolution issues occurring in their daily lives. The students can reference the website and enhance their retention while transferring their new skills to everyday life. Here’s a link to the website: http://www.urbanext.illinois.edu/conflict/index.html

Women Peacemakers in the Philippines

Posted by GIRC on March 10,2009
For Loreta N.Castro
Director of the Center for Peace Education, Professor in Child Development & Education and International Studies
Miriam College, Philippines

Like many other countries, the Philippines has all forms of violence present. This includes direct violence, both at micro and macro levels. There are, of course, other forms of violence present in the country such as structural violence (e.g., wide gap between the rich and poor, extreme poverty of a large segment of the population). There is also socio-cultural violence (e.g., deeply-rooted prejudice against Muslims and other minorities); and ecological violence (e.g., mining and their deleterious effects).

Violence against women is reported an average of 20 cases per day. Violence against women includes beating, rape, sexual harassment and other forms of physical abuse. Due to the fact that not all cases are reported, the number is actually higher. There are also ongoing armed conflicts in the country which are between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the other is between the GRP and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). The GRP and MILF broke their ceasefire agreement last August 2008 and are currently fighting in Mindanao (in Southern Philippines) with internally displaced people numbering more than 500,000 at the height of the conflict. The economic and social dislocation of communities has been severe like in other countries with armed conflicts; those that are affected and are suffering are non-combatant women and children.

In response, the women of the Philippines have responded as peacemakers. It should be acknowledged that the peace movement in the Philippines is almost equally gender mixed. However, it is heartening to note that the majority of those who are taking leadership roles in the peace movement are women, including those who are young women and those women involved in grassroots. In the many conflict-affected areas, the women of the concerned communities have taken the lead in calling for the cessation of hostilities and have called for the establishment of “peace zones”. This is very understandable given the fact that the women are among the first to be negatively affected and violated when there is war. It is also heartening to mention here that many important peace initiatives and campaigns that have been launched in the Philippines are led or coordinated by women. These women are for example: Bantay Ceasefire (Ceasefire Watch), Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Philippines, United Religions Initiative – Philippines, Philippine Action Network on Small Arms, Philippine Campaign against Cluster Munitions, and the Peace Education Network. Surely, there are many challenges for women peacemakers in the Philippines. But our women’s courage, nurturing spirit and persistence will, hopefully, lead us closer to our dream of peace.

Report: Teachers Talk School Culture, Safety and Human Rights

Teachers Talk brings the voice of teachers to the debate around safety and discipline in schools. The report by NESRI and Teachers Unite is based on surveys of more than 300 New York City public school teachers from 136 middle and high schools. The report shows that teachers believe punitive approaches toward childern, such as aggressive policing, suspensions and other reactive strategies, undermine the human rights of each child by failing to address the causes of conflict and criminalizing the school environment. Teachers support a holistic, human rights-based approach discipline that uses preventive and constructive approaches to create a postive school cultures, teach behavior skills and use conflict resolution. From the Report:

Conflict resolution and mediation – Over 84% of teachers surveyed said that conflict resolution and mediation are effective or very effective methods for improving safety and discipline. Teachers reported that they need more training so that they can be “the first layer for conflict resolution in any issues that come up with students.” But teachers also said that schools need more intensive programs run by counselors, school aides, or other staff to use conflict resolution and mediation as an alternative to removal when conflicts arise.

High School Peer Mediation in the News

Schenectady High School in upstate New York was featured in a recent news story exploring how mediation is part of a broader “incident reduction plan” enacted by the district. As noted in the story, “Of the 260 cases mediated last year, 216 reached a successful resolution.” Read more about it here.

Teachings Revolving Door problem

A recent article in Rethinking Schools focuses attention on the ongoing problem of teachers leaving the profession within 3-5 years of starting. The article entitled Teachings Revolving Door points to a number of different explanations for the problem, and as Conflict Resolution in Education advocates know, classroom conflict and management challenges is one of these drivers. Clearly, we need to work on many levels to improve the situation, including helping to prepare new teachers with realistic and practical skills for handling challenging situations. The costs to young people, especially in urban schools, is particularly high, as they most often end up with the most inexperienced teachers due to the revolving door. But, as school administrators know, lack of teacher retention has costs in other ways as well. As the article points out, “Nationwide, teacher turnover costs $7.3 billion a year, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. In some districts, the costs are shockingly high. In Milwaukee, the average cost per teacher who left was $15,325, according to the commission. In Chicago, the average cost was $17,872, with the total cost to the district about $86 million per year.” Conflict Resolution in Education is part of the solution, but only if we continue to extend the work and make sure it remains relevant to the actual conditions teachers face as they begin their careers.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Turn Spotlight on Need for Education of Children in Conflict

Here are a selection of quotes from Nobel Peace Prize winners speaking on the importance of education for peace. From a post at Save the Children.net.

“Education provided must be relevant and of high quality – and should teach students the skills of non-violent conflict resolution and help them develop a vision for a just and peaceful world, a world without war, a world where war has in fact become obsolete.”
Ingeborg Breines, Vice-President
Permanent International Peace Bureau, Nobel Peace Prize, 1910

Giving the children the opportunity to learn, write and rewrite their future with a leitmotif of peace calls for broad-based action – for the seeds of peace to grow in the minds of children, many hands have to plant water and nurture them.
Juan Somavia, Director-General
International Labour Organization, Nobel Peace Prize, 1969

Education is a virtue for many reasons, and is the ver y basis of human progress. It is also among the most powerful tools we have for building sturdy foundations of peace. I commend the invaluable efforts of UN partners such as Save the Children, and welcome efforts to “rewrite the future” and ensure that children and youth throughout the world receive the quality education that is their birthright.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
United Nations, Nobel Peace Prize 1998 and 2001

A better understanding of each other and a willingness to accommodate inevitable differences through direct communication or mediation can almost always lead to peace. Our children, with their inherent innocence and idealism, can be a driving force in seeking this goal.
President Jimmy Carter
Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2002

The old adage ‘education is easy carried’ is so true. It gives one a sense of dignity, of feeling in control of one’s own life. Lack of education can lead to frustration, anger, violence, a sense of alienation and a society storing up problems for the future, when its citizens feel that their right to a good education, and subsequently, being able to obtain employment and fulfilment, is beyond their reach.
Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1976

We must learn to resolve the conflicts that we have… the discord, the discrimination, the racism, the exclusion. We can’t aspire to peace if we don’t have harmony with others… Our youth are no longer going to be intolerant, racist or discriminatory but who enthusiastically want to be diverse, multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual Guatemalans.
Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1992

The twenty-first century, for children neglected, abandoned, humiliated and sacrificed, should bring safety and joy for humankind and the future. As always, achieving this will depend not only on children but on us, on our generous and enthusiastic support, so their future becomes one full of love, of life and of warmth. And of peace – the greatest of victories.
Elie Wiesel
Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1986

The education of war has long traditions, compared to the traditions of peace education… There is an evident need in the whole world to increase both the effort given, as well as the level of ambition regarding, the results of peace education… Focussing only on children in peace education is merely a gesture of our own powerlessness and unwillingness to change our global beliefs. This means developing new ways to cooperate with societies, teachers, adults and parents.
Professor Vappu Taipale, Co-President
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Nobel Peace Prize 1985

You can also read the letter (pdf with signatures) and the full selection of statements (pdf).

Harmony Island Game – Anybody Testing It?

Academic Edge Inc. developed an intriguing conflict resolution game for middle and high school age youth called Harmony Island. They were inviting classrooms to participate in additional research on the product, giving away free site licenses to participant schools. Has anybody taken them up on this offer? Looks like a good opportunity if it is still in effect.

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