Strengthening Peace and Non-Violence through education

The 2011 EFA Global Monitoring Report has identified crisis and conflict as the major barriers to achieving the EFA goals and MDG 2. The report also underlined that armed conflict is robbing 28 million children of an education by exposing them to widespread sexual violence, targeted attacks on schools and other abuses. Indeed, over half of the children out of school live in conflict affected or fragility states. Education remains a key priority to UNESCO’s mission and mandate and is also an essential tool for the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence.

The “UNESCO Global Initiative for Building a Culture of Peace through Education and Youth Empowerment” offers a framework for designing strategic actions to improve the capacity of relevant actors to respond to challenges for building peaceful and inclusive societies. Activities planned targeted three main regions: Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa.


In Africa, a region with the highest incidence of violent conflicts and a priority area of work for UNESCO, the focus is placed on promoting a culture of peace and non-violence through education for peace and conflict prevention, drawing on the rich resources and diverse experience of UNESCO in this field. This includes the comprehensive mapping of existing resources on education for peace and conflict prevention, to make them available to all UNESCO colleagues, UN sister agencies and the wider public. Such review shall inform the development of a specific package of capacity support for key stakeholders including Ministries of Education, teacher training institutes, etc. with a view to strengthening policy and programming in this domain.


Project coordinated by the Education sector, the Priority Africa Intersectoral Platform, Communication and Information, and Culture sectors in close cooperation with UNESCO IBE, IIEP Institute, PEERS, and the Bureaus of Addis Ababa and Dakar.


In Asia and the Pacific, engaging conflict-affected, post-conflict or fragile States was considered, with a view to promote learning to live together in peace in multicultural societies, through specific activities in countries such as Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Uzbekistan.  Youth involvement in shaping the future they want was strengthened through relevant contest and exhibition that enhanced their awareness and aspiration towards respect for diversity, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence.


In Latin America and the Caribbean, a region where the phenomenon of violence in schools is dangerously increasing, the promotion of violence-free school environments is the main objective of work initiated to support Member States in providing adequate responses to these societal challenges. National consultations were therefore initiated on education for peace, democratic participation and human rights in selected countries as well as a systemization of programmes and innovative experiences in school life, culture of peace and violence reduction, alongside surveys to document the situation of gender-based violence in schools of the region. The UNESCO Open School Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean was particularly revitalized through coordinated work of the UNESCO office Santiago.


Promoting peace as an everyday reality in Latin America and the Caribbean is also strengthened by empowering young students in the production of newsletters enhancing the values of peace, tolerance, intercultural dialogue, and respect for diversity, with the active mobilization of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network and under the coordination of UNESCO Havana Office.



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