Heritage for Peace and Reconciliation Education Initiative

International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence 

The UN General Assembly invited all United Nations entities to promote peace-building initiatives and to advance the culture of peace and non violence in country level peace-building efforts. As contribution to the decade, UNESCO has drafted an Education Initiative “Heritage for Peace and Reconciliation”. 

The initiative uses the occasion of the Centenary of World War I, running from 2014 to 2018. It aims to educate the public and particularly youth on the impact of war and the importance of its cultural heritage for strengthening awareness of the importance of peace and achieving reconciliation. The initiative is open to all teaching institutions globally and is addressed particularly to youths aged 12-18.

UNESCO has created a number of educational materials in support of the project ‘Heritage for Peace and Reconciliation’ to be distributed through its Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) and other schools to support educators in this endeavor. These include a brochure, short films, and a teacher’s manual. Educators are encouraged to use the examples provided in the teacher’s manual to enrich everyday lessons or to prepare school projects, excursions or exhibitions. Educators are also encouraged to use the other online resources set out at the bottom of this page to supplement the UNESCO materials.


Central to the education initiative is UNESCO's new teacher manual "Heritage for Peace and Reconciliation: Safeguarding the Underwater Cultural Heritage of the First World War"

The materials focus on underwater cultural heritage from the First World War, socially one of the most devastating wars of the last century. One of the novelties of that war, which had a particularly great impact on the civil population, was the development of naval warfare, and in particular submarine warfare. This warfare has left an extensive submerged heritage which forms a special testimony to this chapter of our common history. While these educational materials focus on the underwater cultural heritage from the First World War, the same approach can be adopted using examples of underwater cultural heritage from the Second World War, or other periods of time in which conflict involved large numbers of engagements at sea.

Related National Initiatives and Information

Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques

The CMAS Jutland WWI Memorial Dive for Peace Expedition

Commemorative diving expeditions are being organized by CMAS in summer 2016 on the wrecks of the battle of Jutland. The sea battle took place in 1916 between the British and German fleets, and was the only full-scale engagement of battleships during WWI.



The Danton Virtual Access Project

In collaboration with DRASSM (French Department of Underwater Archaeological Research) and the French firm Dassault 3D Systèmes a 3D virtualization will be produced of the Danton, a French battleship torpedoed in 1917. This shall increase responsible access to underwater heritage and the understanding of the implications of war to foster support for peace.


Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust

Royal Navy Loss List

The Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) conducted a major assessment of the international spread of UK Royal Navy losses since 1545. The result of this is now a free, interactive, searchable database on MAST’s website that shows over 4,747 Royal Naval wrecks scattered across the oceans of the world, including 1056 which sunk in the period between 1914 and 1918.

Maritime Archaeology Trust

Forgotten Wrecks of the First World War

The Maritime Archaeology Trust (MAT) is investigating the forgotten wrecks of WWI that lie along the UK’s south coast. The project includes fieldwork, research, temporary exhibitions and outreach.




Nautical Archaeology Society

Lost Beneath the Waves 1914-1918

The Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) asks SCUBA divers around the world to visit the sites of WWI losses as close to the anniversary of their sinking as possible between 2014 and 2018.




UNESCO & the Government of Flanders

Scientific Conference on the Occasion of the Centenary of World War I

A special Scientific Conference and Commemorative Event on Underwater Cultural Heritage from World War I was organized by UNESCO, with support from the Government of Flanders (Belgium), from 26 to 28 June 2014 in the Bruges Courthouse, on the occasion of the Centenary of World War I. The event included a two-day scientific conference and a commemorative event.

'Underwater Cultural Heritage from World War 1' Book produced after the Conference


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