Youth, Peacebuilding, and the Role of Education


This thematic paper on Youth, Peacebuilding, and the Role of Education aims to serve as a discussion piece for policy-makers, practitioners, and scholars. 

This paper outlines key debates and insights on the role of education in relation the youth, peace, and security (YPS) agenda. The paper’s key recommendations have been taken up in the YPS Independent Progress Study The Missing Peace, which was written to inform United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 (UNSCR 2250), the first resolution fully dedicated to the important and positive role young women and men play in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security. UNSCR 2250 was adopted unanimously by UN Member States in December 2015. 

This paper was conceptualized and developed by the INEE Education Policy Working Group’s workstream on Youth, Violence, and Peacebuilding. The paper is authored by Mieke Lopes-Cardozo (University of Amsterdam, and part of theYouth, Peace, and Security Advisory Group) and Giovanni Scotto (University of Florence). The paper was also supported by the YPS Secretariat.

The full paper and its executive summary can be downloaded in English from the INEE Resource Database

Why we should increase peace-building capacities of teachers and youth — World Education Blog

What is interesting about this description of an education programme to ‘fight terrorism’ or at least promote peace through education, is that it is in stark contrast to other efforts. Take the situation of the US:

Today, the United States spends far more on defense and counter-terrorism than any other country in the world. Its military expenditures alone top that of the next seven countries combined, which are China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, India and Germany, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

U.S. efforts to combat terrorism specifically “spread across nearly every agency in the government,” said Scott Stewart, a former counter-terrorism agent for the U.S. State Department who is now vice president at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm.

The to-do list is long: destroy terrorist havens, thwart attacks, block terrorist funding sources, protect physical assets such as federal buildings and public places, prosecute terrorist acts, and change hearts and minds through diplomacy.

That involves everything from boots on the ground to domestic and foreign surveillance, from training police to beefing up airport security, to protecting livestock and other food sources from disease and contamination. (CNN Nov 2015).

You must have noticed – the word education is not mentioned…..

By UNESCO-IICBA (International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa) The propaganda and money used to lure young people into violent extremist groups such as Al-Shabaab in East Africa, Boko Haram in Nigeria and M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, must be challenged with one of the humankind’s most powerful tools: Education. Yet, […]

via Why we should increase peace-building capacities of teachers and youth — World Education Blog

Why we should increase peace-building capacities of teachers and youth — World Education Blog

By UNESCO-IICBA (International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa) The propaganda and money used to lure young people into violent extremist groups such as Al-Shabaab in East Africa, Boko Haram in Nigeria and M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, must be challenged with one of the humankind’s most powerful tools: Education. Yet, […]

via Why we should increase peace-building capacities of teachers and youth — World Education Blog

Peace building -new report

Peace is not just the absence of war -it can only be built through a range of strategies, policies and practice.

Report: Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts Programme
UNICEF Programme Report 2012-2016

UNICEF has sought to increase risk mitigation and peacebuilding strategies in its programming. In this evolving context, the Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts (PBEA) programme – Learning for Peace – was designed to strengthen social cohesion, resilience and human security through improved education policies and practices. The programme operated on the rationale that, when delivered equitably and effectively, education and other social services can strengthen capacities to manage conflict shocks and stresses, from the national to individual levels, and promote peace, while sustaining long-term development opportunities for children, young people and their supportive communities.

This report summarizes PBEA lessons-learned and provides an issues and evidence synopsis on how education and other social providers can address conflict factors in fragile and post-conflict contexts.

Click to read and download this resource.

Resilience – some new resources

There is growing evidence of the need to strengthen the resilience of education systems. Including crisis prevention and peacebuilding measures in educational policy and planning is one mechanism for achieving this. If the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are to be truly sustainable, conflict and disaster risk reduction must be embedded in sector policies, plans and budgets. 

New Website with  Resources on Education for Safety, Resilience and Social Cohesion


As part of a programme of collaboration to promote education for safety, resilience and social cohesion in education sector planning and curricula between the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict programme (PEIC, Qatar), members of the PEIC – IIEP Advisory Group (including GPE, Kenya MoEST, NORAD, Uganda MoES, UNICEF HQ, UNICEF WCARO, UNICEF EAPRO, USAID) met at UNICEF Headquarters in New York City from 5 to 6 March 2015.

During the first phase of this programme, an online repository of documents and a website was produced. This website exists in both English and French, and serves to consolidate and centralize documents related to educational planning for safety, resilience and social cohesion. It also includes resources on curriculum for learning to live together and disaster risk reduction. The website was developed with crisis contexts in mind, and uses relatively simple technology to ensure that individuals in even the most remote locations can access the site. It is important to note that the Resources page of the website is linked to an online database of approximately 400 documents which are searchable by theme (planning or curriculum), a series of keywords, country, resource type, organization and language.

Click to access the new website.

Peacebuilding through Early Childhood Education – UNICEF podcast

Having worked on peace education with adolescents I realise how important the early socialisation into peaceful ways of resolving/managing conflict are.

This has to work on a personal, family, group, community level before we can hope to move towards peaceful coexistence in the world.

Podcast: Peacebuilding through Early Childhood Education
Evidence shows that the early years of life are strong predictors for individual health and development, as well as cognitive and social-emotional development. In UNICEF’s latest podcast, they spoke with three experts about why integrating peace education into early childhood education has a positive long-term effect on peace. Kyle D. Pruett is a Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University, Michael Evans is the Founder and Executive Director of Full Court Peace – and Siobhan Fitzpatrick is Chief Executive of Early Years.

To listen to the podcast and make your comment, please click here.

International Day of Peace – September 21

I was speaking to my friend Jim, saying that for decades we have been working in education, with one of the  objectives being to provide opportunities for young people to live peacefully together for the safety of themselves and for the sutainability of our planet. I was getting quite pessimistic about the ‘rule of the gun’ and how arms are so easily obtained and how civilians are the biggest casualty in conflicts these days. Jim was a bit more optimistic quoting some statistics about the improving situation with regards to globally. We will continue to discuss and act for a beter future. In the meantime -it may just be one day but the International Day of Peace at least allows some to reflect on how to build a more peaceful and sustainable future.

“Let us work together to ensure that the Road from Rio leads us to sustainable development, sustainable peace… and a secure future for all.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Towards the ideals of peace

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Sustainable Peace…

This year, world leaders, together with civil society, local authorities and the private sector, will be meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to renew political commitment to long term sustainable development.

It is in the context of the Rio+20 Conference that “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” is the theme chosen for this year’s observance of the International day of Peace.

There can be no sustainable future without a sustainable peace. Sustainable peace must be built on sustainable development.

…From Sustainable Development…

The root causes of many conflicts are directly related to or fuelled by valuable natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, oil, timber or water. Addressing the ownership, control and management of natural resources is crucial to maintaining security and restoring the economy in post-conflict countries.

Good natural resource management can play a central role in building sustainable peace in post-conflict societies.

…For a Sustainable Future

The International Day of Peace offers people globally a shared date to think about how, individually, they can contribute to ensuring that natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner, thus reducing  potential for disputes, and paving the road to a sustainable future, the “Future We Want“.

During the discussion of the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace, it was suggested that:

“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”

Scientists call for more research on Peace


On International Day of Peace (21 September), some scientists are calling for more research on peacekeeping and closer collaboration with their Southern partners.

“We conceive of peace not as some ethically consigned abstraction, but as a theme that is also accessible to scientific research,” Laurent Goetschel, professor of political science at the University of Basel and Director of the Swiss Peace Foundation, swisspeace, whose strapline is ‘Knowledge for Peace’, told SciDev.Net.

One way of doing research on peace is to apply the methodology of science to understanding the processes that lead to peace, according to Goetschel, who also spoke about the issue at the 3rd International Conference on Research for Development last month (20–22 August).

“‘We can look at the causes of conflict, be they economic, political, historical, legal or whatever. We can also look at models for making forecasts, so we’re talking about political early warning. swisspeace has developed an early-warning programme called FAST, which was developed after the Rwanda Burundi massacres.”

The system uses event data analysis to collect, sequence and analyse news agency articles and has been used in around 25 countries.

“We didn’t have enough news items for many of these regions, since conflict-prone regions are often places where there is not much media interest except in relation to conflict situations. So we established local information networks to help us.”

A criticism of this approach, modelling based on news reports, is that it has not yet prevented a conflict, though, and Laurent Goetschel is the first to admit this failing.

“The problem is that science is often too late. We generate knowledge which comes after things have happened. You have these mechanisms working at the scientific level but practitioners expect quick answers to concrete questions, and from a scientific point of view this is often rather difficult.'”

But Goetschel said that despite the difficulties, more can and should be done to research issues around peacekeeping.

“We need research programmes which do research in conflict areas, after all the object of peace research is to be applied. We need more capacity — whether it be in Central Asia or in Sub–Saharan countries. This is the big challenge. My message to researchers working on peace in these countries is that they should do consultancies to survive — but remain scientific in their hearts.”

His words are echoed by Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project, a part of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Her group has successfully used geospatial technology to document human rights abuses around the world, especially in remote or dangerous locations; one example wasEyes on Darfur, in which the group used satellite imagery to document the destruction of villages in Sudan that lead to an arrest warrant through the International Criminal Court.

“A very important way in which science contributes to peace is through transitional justice mechanisms,” said Wolfinbarger. “Science can contribute greatly to processes that help societies move out of conflict and toward peace by addressing human rights abuses, through criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations, and institutional reforms.

“There is a need for many types of scientists to participate in these mechanisms of justice, from providing evidence to courts and commissions to facilitating data collection through information management systems to applications to aid in reforms to government, improving education and increasing accountability and improving perceptions of government.”