Not Education for Peace, Not Peace for Education, but Education as Peace

We are able to split the atom and fly to the moon, yet we have difficulty living in peace with one another. Peace should hence be at the forefront of education and human existence.

A new horizon is on its way; one of hope, dignity and peace. Humanity’s suffering and war and conflict-time experiences could pave a way to sustainability, interconnectivity and people’s harmonious coexistence. Is this a utopian dream? This is hardly the case, as if we are to survive as one human family; we must come together and live in peace.

EGP (Education for Global Peace), is a new movement network committed to bringing about a world based on a culture of peace. It was once famously dubbed by Immanuel Kant “ewigen frieden, German for “Perpetual Peace.” Today, we rethink the philosophy behind perpetual peace. It is a long-lasting peace that penetrates through all layers of human tensions and stigmatized history. We believe that the foundation of peace is education and the foundation of the world is peace. Observing the implementation of peace education programs in various countries, what has remained as a challenge is that peace education has been treated as a one-sided façade. In other words, peace education was considered a tool to reach peace i.e. “education for peace” or “peace for education.” While both are high aspirations, the idea of dissecting peace education into two dimensions, and further setting it apart from the whole educational system, weakens its impact. This happens due to having peace education only as a curricular doze that is confined in time to a particular setting. Henceforth, our goal is to imbue mainstream educational systems worldwide in peace education.

We at EGP are brought together by our common yearning and passion to work for a peaceful world. We are realizing that the secret to bringing about a peaceful world is to build and develop a global movement network that can withstand the world’s tendencies to obstruct positive change. If we bring together all the people and organizations that agree that we have to educate for peace in order to bring peace, collectively, we have all the know-how, expertise, creativity and resources to reach our mission of mainstreaming peace education.

We have reached a tipping point in history where we must introduce education as peace not only in high-risk countries, but throughout the whole world. Otherwise, we end up with what we see at the moment: cancer-like pockets of extreme terrorism forcing children into impossible plights, and other barbarities in the name of whoever they call their superior.

This is why an innovative approach to education is necessary. Education as a gown for peace would enable us to comprehend the dynamic and uncertain world. Deconstructing the normative understandings of peace is another quest to realistically and critically address peace not as a fixed concept throughout history, but rather as an interactive notion. This is what EGP strives to attain.

The writers of this article are part of the EGP global movement network. To find out more go to educationforglobalpeace.org.