By Emily Sophie Metzner – Student of International Relations
This citation from the philosopher Aristotle refers to the significant importance and influence of education of the youth. Education is one of the most viable tools when it comes to transformation of the human behavior and development of society . The world's social environment is faced with all kinds of negative influences that manifest themselves in increased crime, violence, war, and conflict that negatively affect people's lives. Therefore it is necessary to include peace education in the curriculum to prevent conflicts
Peace education is the teaching of information, values and behavior competencies that are needed to enable children, youth, and adults to resolve and prevent conflicts without violence One study investigates the need to incorporate peace education into our educational system based on the three following arguments, the overall increase of violence in response to conflicts, the importance of the learning ability of the youth and peace education as a short and long-term goal for conflict prevention
First, there is an increasing use of violence in response to conflicts between countries, groups, and individuals. This is underlined by the Office of the United Nations Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), which states that millions of Africans have lost their lives due to conflict. Furthermore, the UNESCO Seville Declaration on Violence affirms that “war is not a destiny determined by genes, human nature, or instincts; it is rather a social development”. As a result, “the same species that invented war also has the capability to establish peace” . To give an example the violence in Kenya in 2007/2008, which displaced more than 158,000 students and 1,350 teachers nationwide, led to the impetus for the development of the Peace Education Program to promote peaceful interaction among students to contribute to peace and national security in the country. In summary, this demonstrates the need for mainstreaming peace in education.
The second aspect to mention is how important it is to anchor the topic of peace in school education because especially at a young age children have the best ability to learn how to resolve conflicts. This is supported by the fact that they already begin to define their own ideas about conflict as they can critically reflect on concepts such as violence, war, and peace and develop constructive attitudes toward living in the community. Furthermore, to strive for peace, there must be a commitment to teach peace to the children, as they are the ones who must form a new generation of peacemakers. Therefore, it is important to teach youth how to resolve conflicts peacefully in school education.
And third, integrating peace education has both short and long-term impacts on conflict prevention. In the short term, it addresses the root causes of the immediate conflict and provides students with knowledge about strategies they can use to end violence. In the long term, the hope is to build a commitment to nonviolence in students' minds and provide knowledge about nonviolent alternatives so that when conflict arises, they choose to behave peacefully. Integrating this into peace education brings the opportunity to positively change their behaviors regarding conflicts.
So, in conclusion, to create a peaceful world, we need to teach the new generation how to deal with conflict in a short and long-term perspective in education. There is a compelling need to embed peace education as the foundation of conflict prevention to counteract violent conflict. Peace education for conflict resolution, starting at a young age in school, can help promote the individual behavioral change needed for responsible conflict resolution and embed behavioral patterns in the next generation. Furthermore, the increasing violence highlights the urgent need to counteract it and thus promote peace in the short and long term. We all have the opportunity to educate ourselves —and the upcoming generation— about how to resolve conflicts and thus work on our behaviors in every culture and country to hopefully achieve sustainable peace in the world.