Darkness and Light in November 2009

Posted by Shawn McElroy on behalf of Loreta Navarro Castro, Center for peace education, Miriam College, Quezon City, Philippines

My November 2009 began in an upbeat mood. I attended two successive conferences in South Korea in the early part of the month.  The first conference focused on promoting interfaith understanding and the need to establish a Peace Education Center that can serve not only Korea but the Asian region as well.  The second conference considered various themes (restorative justice, evaluation, conflict resolution education and peace education) and several members of the GPPAC Peace Education Working Group served as resource persons.  (GPPAC stands for Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict).  The full week in Korea was a happy time for me because both the conferences and the Peace Education Working Group meeting at the end of that week yielded fruitful results.

My hopeful mood continued when I returned to the Philippines.  We conducted a Peace Education Training Workshop for Educators in South East Asia.  There were 26 participants from seven countries in the region, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar/Burma, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Five ministries of education were represented and this augurs well for the future mainstreaming of peace education in the region.  However, as the said participants were arriving in the Philippines, a gruesome crime was being committed in the Maguindanao province in the Southern Philippines.  At least 57 civilians were massacred in the morning of November 23, an incident that is now etched in our nation’s memory as the most brutal politically motivated violence committed in the country.  The massacre truly shocked and saddened us. (I prepared the draft of a Statement which was adopted as the official Miriam College Statement. Please see it below)

As the end of November approached, one thing became clear.  The barbaric violence turned into a wake up call or a moment of awakening for the whole nation.  There are now countless voices of protest, asking for an end to political warlordism, private armies, and the proliferation or firearms, as well as for the respect of human rights and the rule of law.

I hope that this dark November day would not be in vain. May it yield the kind of light that we seek, so that such an event will not happen again!

Youth & Conflict – A Toolkit For Intervention

This informative manual is a document created to bring value to discussions and decisions about development and conflict. It is part of a series that explores how development assistance can address key risk factors associated with conflict and conflict resolution. The objective of the document is to inform about how to integrate best practices in conflict management and mitigation into more traditional development sectors such as agriculture, economic growth, democracy, education and health. This document is helpful because it depicts monitoring and evaluation tools that have been developed specifically for gauging the effectiveness of programs that incorporate both youth and conflict.

Max van der Stoel award 2009 goes to GPPAC organisation!

Dear colleagues,

I’m glad to share with you this delightful event. Our Integration and Development Center for Information and Research (IDC) in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine has been awarded the Max van der Stoel Award for 2009.
In 2001, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands established an award honouring the former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Mr. Max van der Stoel. The prize is awarded to a person or institution in recognition of extraordinary and outstanding achievements aimed at improving the position of national minorities in the OSCE area. The ceremony will take place on 14th of October 2009 in the Hague.

Research from Australia

Readers may be interested to know that a number of [url=https://creducation.net/section/single_entry/australian_values_ed_reports/]new research reports on values education work in Australia[/url] have been described and linked over in the Researcher’s Blog.

UNESCO Prize for Peace Education

Perhaps it is time to start thinking about who should be nominated for the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education? While I think not enough people are aware of it, this prize is an important form of recognition of the critical need for Peace Education in modern society. The prize was first awarded in 1981. Here’s a brief excerpt from UNESCO’s Peace Education Prize page describing the qualities of an acceptable candidate:

Candidates, who shall not be subject to any discrimination whatsoever on the grounds of nationality, religion, race, gender or age, shall have made a significant contribution to alerting public opinion and mobilizing the consciences of humankind in the cause of peace. Candidates shall have distinguished themselves through outstanding action, carried out in accordance with the spirit of UNESCO and the United Nations Charter, extending over several years and confirmed by international public opinion, in the following fields:

– the mobilization of consciences in the cause of peace;
– the implementation, at international or regional level, of programmes of activity designed to strengthen peace education by enlisting the support of public opinion;
– the launching of important activities contributing to the strengthening of peace;
– educational action to promote human rights and international understanding;
– the alerting of public opinion to the problems of peace through the media and other effective channels;
– any other activity recognized as essential to constructing the defences of peace in people’s minds (Rule 3.1 of the General Rules).


The nomination form will be available online as of October/November 2009. For more information, please contact: peace&security@unesco.org

Odessa Regional Mediation Group Educational Projects, Ukraine

Dear colleagues,
Let me, please, continue my presentations of our Western CIS partners in PE/CRE activity.

Main programs of Odessa Regional Group of Mediation (Ukraine) in the Sphere of Education.
by Angela Guseva (ORGM)
Odessa Regional Group of Mediation (ORGM) – is a non-governmental organization that was created for propagation and implementation of mediation and other principles, techniques of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the different spheres of social life. ORGM has been working with education system since 1995.

Basic programmes of the last 3 years.
1.      Education and familiarizing of school education specialists with principles of Alternative dispute resolution and restorative justice.
2.      Implementation of the restorative justice into educational process.
3.      Development of Peer Mediation Programmes.
4.      Creation of on-line community of educational specialists who implement restorative justice into upbringing and educational process.
5.      Implementation of Conflict Studies courses in higher education curricula.

Cooperative Peace Project in Moldova-Pridnestrovie

Moldova-Pridnestrovie Professional Groups Share on the Conflict
by Corina Simon (PATRIR)

Republic of Moldova, a small country situated in Eastern Europe, neighboring Romania and Ukraine, is the site of one of the Black Sea region’s protracted conflicts. A violent conflict in 1992 and the creation of a separate, unrecognized state, called the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, and the lack of settlement in the issue between the involved parties as well as other specific factors has led to present day status quo in the peace process.

The Cooperative Peace Project in Moldova-Pridnestrovie is a project which started in 2006 with the purpose of building foundational capacity, structures and resources to empower civil society in Moldova-Pridnestrovie to actively engage in peace building and conflict transformation work – to address concrete social issues affecting the people of the region.

Report from Workshop on Peace Education for Educators in Southeast Asia, January 19 to 23, 2009

The Center for Peace Education (CPE) in cooperation with GPPAC-SEA Peace Education Working Group organized the Workshop on Peace Education for Educators in Southeast Asia. Financial support came from CORDAID and GPPAC.

The training sought to: train a core of formal and community educators on the knowledge base, attitudes, and skills that comprise peace education; encourage them to generate doable action plans that they can implement in their schools, organizations and/or communities; encourage them to serve as a beginning core team for the promotion of peace education in their country. The workshop also sought to enable the group to build on the beginnings of a Southeast Asia Peace Education Network that was started in September 2007.

There were 27 participants from 8 Southeast Asian countries: the Philippines, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam. Two Ministries of Education were represented (Cambodia and the Philippines) and the rest were either educators from the formal school system or from community-based organizations.

The results of a qualitative evaluation questionnaire given at the end of the workshop showed that they have found the workshop helpful. They also indicated many types of significant learnings. The main outputs were doable action plans prepared by the country teams to help build a culture of peace in their respective spheres. Two of the most frequently mentioned plans were: sharing their learnings with other teachers and exerting efforts to integrate the peace ideas, perspectives and values that they acquired into the content of their education programs as well as in their student or youth activities.

Peace education upholds the values of respect for human dignity, nonviolence, socio-economic justice, tolerance and other peace values that are deemed essential toward a sustainable and humane society. Key to the promotion of these values would be the training of those who, in turn, can promote the knowledge among other teachers and community educators. Hence it is deemed important to undertake this type of training regularly until a pool of trained participants can organize themselves as a peace education core group for each of the countries. It is also because of this goal that having a coordinator per country is essential. At the moment this work of coordination is being done by many of the GPPAC-SEA National Initiators or by their designated people, such as in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Timor Leste.

Prepared by: Loreta Castro Chair, Peace Education Working Group GPPAC-SEA

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)

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

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.

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).

An invitation to the Spring Peace Academy 2009

International Peace and Development Training Center (IPDTC) and
Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR)

IPDTC 2009 Spring Peace Academy

IPDTC is launching its 2009 Spring Peace Academy with a range of programmes addressing the core skills, knowledge and experience of all practitioners working in the field of peacebuilding, conflict transformation, development work, humanitarian aid, gender, governance and other related areas.

* Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation & Post-War Recovery, Reconciliation
and Healing
11th – 16th of May, 2009 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania

* Designing Peacebuilding Programmes (DPP)
18th – 22nd of May, 2009, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

* Integrating Gender and Peacebuilding Practice (IGP)
25th – 29th of May, 2009, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

* Training of Trainers in Peacebuilding (ToT)
25th – 29th of May, 2009, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

For more information on course content, fees and application procedure, please see attachment or visit the IPDTC web-site: http://www.patrir.ro/training
or write to training@patrir.ro

Please feel free to share this information with individuals and organisations that you think would be interested in attending the IPDTC training programmes.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our trainings.

With best wishes,

GPPAC Partners with CREPE Activities in Western CIS

Dear colleagues,
I want to give you a very brief information of two more NGOs in our region that could be the partners for your inter-networking.
1. Patrir, Romania – Peace Action Training and Research Institute of Romania http://www.patrir.ro/index.php?newlang=english . Among other activities they conduct a lot of trainings on peacebuilding for different groups of participants in their International Peace and Development Training Center http://www.patrir.ro/training.
They also have special youth programs like “Youth for Peace” (available in Russian at http://youth-for-peace.blogspot.com/)

2. Inter-regional Social Movement “Conflictological Forum”, Russia. http://www.conflictology.spb.ru/index_en.html An assistance in research and activity in creation of new methods and techonolgies of CR and development of education in CR are among the main tasks of this organisation. Their partner – the chair of Conflict studies of St.-Petersburg State University. It is the only chair that gives CR specialization (the diploma) at the university level within the whole post-soviet space.
I also would like to draw your attention at the III INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS of CONFLICTOLOGISTS organised by Forum and its partners. It will take place at September 30 – October 2, 2009. Deadline:  March 1, 2009 More information you can find at their website, listed above.