Conflict Resolution Education/Peace Education Brief Overview
What is Conflict Resolution Education (CRE)?
The Association for Conflict Resolution suggests that “Conflict resolution education models and teaches, in culturally meaningful ways, a variety of processes, practices and skills that help address individual, interpersonal, and institutional conflicts, and create safe and welcoming communities” (Jones, 2004)
What is Peace Education (PE) and how is it different than CRE?
“Peace education is a participatory holistic process that includes teaching for and about democracy and human rights, nonviolence, social and economic justice, gender equality, environmental sustainability, disarmament, traditional peace practices, international law, and human security” (Hague Appeal for Peace, 2005)
While CRE generally focuses on a local/domestic level, the focus of Peace Education is generally more global in perspective. Peace Education also “has a stronger emphasis on social justice orientations and larger systemic issues of violence than conflict education programs” (Jones, 2004).
What is Democracy & Citizenship Education?
“Citizenship education” describes efforts to prepare students for effective, principled citizenship. Citizenship education can include instruction in history and government, civics lessons on the rights and duties of citizens in a democracy, discussion of current events, service-learning, mock trials and elections, character education and other approaches. Citizenship education can also take place through student government, extracurricular and co-curricular activities, and by involving students in school, district and community decision making” (Education Commission of the States, 2007).
Who are CRE/PE practitioners?
The knowledge, skills, and abilities of conflict resolution education and peace education are taught and utilized all over the world in various formal and informal ways in formal and in-formal education settings, by youth-serving organizations, businesses, faith-based organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The United Nations suggests that: “Many teachers are already practicing peace education without calling it by name. Historically, in various parts of the world, peace education has been referred to as Education for Conflict Resolution, International Understanding, and Human Rights, Global Education, Critical Pedagogy, Education for Liberation and Empowerment, Social Justice Education, Environmental Education, Life Skills Education, Disarmament and Development Education, and more. These various labels illuminate the depth and diversity of the field. Using the term peace education helps co-ordinate such global initiatives and unite educators in the common practice of educating for a culture of peace” (United Nations Cyber School Bus, n.d.).
Children and Violence
- According to The United Nations Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children (Office of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, et al., 2005): 20-65% of children had been bullied within the past 30 days according to the Global School-based Health Survey.
- The World Health Organization estimates that in 2002, almost 53,000 children died due to homicide worldwide. (Office of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, et al., 2005)
- More than 300,000 children (under 18) around the world are actively participating in more than 30 armed conflicts. Children are often more easily manipulated because of their psychological and physical immaturity, making obedient, cheap, and disposable soldiers (Youth Advocate Program International, 2004).
What can CRE and PE programs achieve?
- CRE reduces antisocial behavior in school-aged children (Garrard, 2007).
- CRE decreases aggressiveness and increases academic achievement and performance (Jones, 2002).
- CRE increases awareness of violence and appropriate reactions to it by teachers, schoolchildren, and parents (International Network on School Bullying and Violence, August 2005).
- CRE decreases violence among school children (International Network on School Bullying and Violence, August 2005).
- CRE decreases problem behavior at school observed by teachers (International Network on School Bullying and Violence, May 2005)
- CRE decreases the attractiveness of gangs and help vulnerable students resist them by creating a school climate that makes every student feel valued and establishing CRE as part of the school curriculum (Burnett, 1999).
PE Quick Facts:
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) describes peace education as schooling and other educational initiatives that (United Nations Cyber School Bus, n.d.):
- Function as ‘zones of peace’, where children are safe from violent conflict
- Uphold children’s basic rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- Develop a climate that models peaceful and respectful behaviour among all members of the learning community
- Demonstrate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in administrative policies and practices
- Draw on the knowledge of peace-building that exists in the community, including means of dealing with conflict that are effective, non-violent, and rooted in the local culture
- Handle conflicts in ways that respect the rights and dignity of all involved
- Integrate an understanding of peace, human rights, social justice and global issues throughout the curriculum whenever possible
- Provide a forum for the explicit discussion of values of peace and social justice
- Enable children to put peace-making into practice in the educational setting as well as in the wider community
- Generate opportunities for continuous reflection and professional development of all educators in relation to issues of peace, justice and rights
Who is working on furthering CRE/PE?
There is legislation, mandates and/or standards on CRE and PE in all of the worlds regions. Examples of the range of topics include curriculum integration of CRE into various subject areas, integration of mediation and conflict management skills training into teacher preparation, the use of restorative justice practices for youth in the community through the courts, or a national mandate to have bullying prevention mission statements and policies in place in all schools.
There are hundreds of government and non-government organizations (NGOs) working on CRE and PE worldwide. Below is a sampling of these organizations. Please visit our growing Directory to find out more!
- European Center for Conflict Prevention (ECCP) http://www.conflict-prevention.net/
- Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) http://www.gppac.net/index.html
- The Organization of American States (OAS) http://www.oas.org/
- Teaching Peace, Longmont Community Justice Partnership http://www.teachingpeace.org/
- The United Nations http://www.cyberschoolbus.un.org
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) http://www.unicef.org/index.php
- United States Institute of Peace (USIP) http://www.usip.org/
- Burnett, Gary. (1999). Gangs in Schools. ERIC Digest [Online]. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from http://www.oecd-sbv.net/Templates/Article.aspx?id=340
- Education Commission of the States. (2007). Citizenship Education. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from http://www.ecs.org/html/issue.asp?issueid=19
- Garrard, Wendy M. (n.d.) Does Conflict Resolution Education Really Reduce Antisocial Behaviors in Schools? The Evidence Says YES!. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
- Hague Appeal for Peace. (2005). Home. Retrieved September 14, 2007, from http://www.haguepeace.org/
- International Network on School Bullying and Violence. (August, 2005). Development of good inter-personal relationships. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from http://www.oecd-sbv.net/Templates/Article.aspx?id=354
- International Network on School Bullying and Violence. (May 2005). PALS – a School-wide Program for Positive Behaviour, Support, Interaction and Safety. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from http://www.oecd-sbv.net/Templates/Article.aspx?id=340
- Jones, Tricia S. (2004). Conflict Resolution Education: The Field, The Findings, and the Future. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Fall-Winter, 22 (1-2), 233-267.
- Jones, Tricia S. (2002). Proven benefits of conflict resolution education research. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from http://www.creducation.net/catalog/cat-item-27
- Office of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and The World Health Organization (WHO). (2005). The United Nations Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children. Retrieved September 21, 2007 from http://www.violencestudy.org/IMG/pdf/English-2-2.pdf
- United Nations Cyber School Bus. (n.d.). Peace Education, Global Educators. Retrieved September 21, 2007 from http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/peace/index.asp
- United Nations Cyber School Bus. (n.d.). UNICEF, Retrieved September 14, 2007 from http://www.cyberschoolbus/peace/index.asp
- Youth Advocate Program International (YAP). (2004) Children Affected by Armed Conflict/Child Soldiers. Retrieved September 21, 2007 from http://www.yapi.org/conflict/index.htm