Peace Education Programme for Youth in Conflict

Peace Education Programme for Youth in Conflict

Seyedali Ahrari (UPM, Malaysia), Zeinab Zaremohazzabieh (UPM, Malaysia) and Jamilah Bt. Othman (UPM, Malaysia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0078-0.ch008


Peace education programmes have rapidly gained worldwide popularity, as states, civil society organizations and international agencies progressively recognise their importance. However, it is argued that youth should be a target of these programmes, and this is bolstered by economic and political considerations. The literature on the construction of peace education programming for youths is limited, especially in conflict settings. Thus, this chapter examines the conceptual debate about peace education programmes as vehicle for youths who are involved in growing conflict. Hence, this chapter provides an account of the cumulative body of knowledge of how youths conceptualise education programmes, and evaluate them as preparation for promoting peacebuilding. We believe that this chapter provides a beneficial means to explore the role of education for creating peace in areas of conflict, increase credibility in peace-building, and push youths forward to participate in peace programmes in the area of education.
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Youths are an important subpopulation in conflict and crisis settings, and thus they go through life in a way that is quite different from youths in other parts of the world where conflict is rare. Despite major critical challenges that youths face in these settings, many consider that education programmes can assist them to improve their livelihood, bring back their hope in a better future and improve their overall capacity to contribute as entrepreneurs, parents, caregivers and peace-builders. There is a growing number of studies that draw attention to the aspects of education that have implications for conflict (Buckland, 2004; Smith & Vaux, 2003; Sommers, 2002; UNESCO-IBE, 2004). Many scholars and implementers argue that education has two faces in highly complex environments (e.g., Barakat & Urdal, 2009; Dupuy & Peters, 2010; King, 2011; Miller-Grandvaux, 2009). Firstly, when education is utilised in positive way, it can help peace, promote secure settings, and associate the gap between humanitarian aid and sustainable growth (Barakat & Urdal, 2009). Nevertheless, Miller-Grandvaux (2009) states that, if education not properly operated, it can be exploitative, exclusionary, oppressive and corrupt.

Noddings (2005) further indicates that youths are currently being raised at a time that involves conflict, and its effects are negatively touching the world. These conflicts need younger generations that are aware and well-equipped to promote and maintain world peace. This is a complicated task, particularly for young individuals who are frequently key contributors of conflict, and continuously possible conflict carriers. It requires them to acquire responsibility, as well as guardianship, in the process to uphold peace. In conflict settings, peace education is progressively being engaged as an educational medium on the subject of peace building and conflict resolution (Sommers, 2006a; UNESCO Asia-Pacific Program of Education for All, 2001). Peace education, due to its commitment to eliminate both direct and indirect violent behaviour, can function as an agency to empower youths to address the issue of conflict in their communities. To most, it points to inform youth about ways in which they may be able to resolve conflicts, appreciate differences, realise different cultures, value the lives of all individuals, and preserve human rights in classrooms, societies, nations and countries.

Undoubtedly, there is one core approach to operate peace education. Many aid agencies have proposed peace education programming. Peace education programmes that offer methods of understanding the nature of conflicts, one's responsibility in it, and the humanity of the other side, are more likely to achieve their aims. The main aim of the programmes is to present educational leaders with applied skills, knowledge, attitudes and values to implement educational development, and in turn restore the peaceful purposes of education, mainly in countries and regions affected by conflicts and crises. Similarly, several educational programmes in the area of education and peace are increasingly being developed. These programmes have the primary objective to connect youths in a particular region, and conduct public advocacy efforts with the goal of changing democracy in alternative way of creativity on a regional, national and international level.

In several studies, these programmes are referred to as multi-province programmes for supporting youth. However, scholars evidently validate that youths are our largest source, hence, they should be brought into the dialogue and given the chance to use their voices as part of making peace education programmes. The short and logical literature review seeks to elucidate key arguments, tendencies, and pledging possibilities for war-affected young people, as well as education programmes that aim to support them in the peace process (Sommers, 2006a).

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