The Compelling Case For Peace Education
Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.
There are numerous United Nations declarations on the importance of peace Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59311-889-1. Chapter details; and Page, James S. (2008) 'Chapter 9: The United Nations and Peace Education'. In: Monisha Bajaj (ed.)Encyclopedia of Peace Education. (75-83). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.
ISBN 978-1-59311-898-3. Further information</ref> Ban Ki Moon, U.N. Secretary General, has dedicated the International Day of Peace 2013 to peace education in an effort to refocus minds and financing on the preeminence of peace education as the means to bring about a culture of peace. Koichiro Matsuura, the immediate past Director-General of UNESCO, has written of peace education as being of "fundamental importance to the mission of UNESCO and the United Nations". Peace education as a right is something which is now increasingly emphasized by peace researchers such as Betty Reardon and Douglas Roche. There has also been a recent meshing of peace education and human rights education.
Ian Harris and John Synott have described peace education as a series of "teaching encounters" that draw from people:
their desire for peace,
nonviolent alternatives for managing conflict, and
James Page suggests peace education be thought of as "encouraging a commitment to peace as a settled disposition and enhancing the confidence of the individual as an individual agent of peace; as informing the student on the consequences of war and social injustice; as informing the student on the value of peaceful and just social structures and working to uphold or develop such social structures; as encouraging the student to love the world and to imagine a peaceful future; and as caring for the student and encouraging the student to care for others".
Often the theory or philosophy of peace education has been assumed and not articulated. Johan Galtung suggested in 1975 that no theory for peace education existed and that there was clearly an urgent need for such theory. More recently there have been attempts to establish such a theory. Joachim James Calleja has suggested that a philosophical basis for peace education might be located in the Kantian notion of duty. James Page has suggested that a rationale for peace education might be located in virtue ethics, consequentialist ethics, conservative political ethics, aesthetic ethics and the ethics of care. Robert L. Holmes articulates the view that a moral presumption against violence already exists amongst civilized nations. On the basis of this presumptive prohibition, he outlines several philosophical values which are relevant to the nonviolent resolution of conflicts between nations on the international level including pacifism.
Since the early decades of the 20th century, "peace education" programs around the world have represented a spectrum of focal themes, including anti-nuclearism, international understanding, environmental responsibility, communication skills, nonviolence, conflict resolution techniques, democracy, human rights awareness, tolerance of diversity, coexistence and gender equality, among others. Some[who?] have also addressed spiritual dimensions of inner harmony, or synthesized a number of the foregoing issues into programs on world citizenship. While academic discourse on the subject has increasingly recognized the need for a broader, more holistic approach to peace education, a review of field-based projects reveals that three variations of peace education are most common: conflict resolution training, democracy education, and human rights education. New approaches are emerging and calling into question some of theoretical foundations of the models just mentioned. The most significant of these new approaches focuses on peace education as a process of worldview transformation.