Within the last week, there have been several occasions to celebrate peace education. On the 24th of January, UNESCO, a long-time champion of peace education, observed the first annual International Day of Education. And today, January 30th, is the “School Day of Non-violence and Peace” which promotes peace education for harmony, tolerance, solidarity, respect for human rights, and non-violence. What’s more, today QCEA officially launches its newest publication called Peace Education: Making the Case. The report celebrates successful examples of peace education around the world. It also shows how peace education can make a wider positive impact when there is political will and dedicated funding.
Over the decades, peace education has responded to difficult political contexts – demonstrating that it can also be relevant for conflict prevention and peacebuilding today. Recently, UNESCO reported on high levels of violence and bullying in schools, which undermine social inclusion and academic outcomes. This underscores the continued need for peace education, which develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed to transform conflict and build peace, such as respect for other identities and cultures as well as the ability to listen to one another.
And yet, few European countries or institutions have a strategy for supporting peace education – demonstrating that more needs to be done. Supporting peace education can be as simple as celebrating the International Day of Education or the School Day of Non-violence and Peace. These days can inspire students, educators, governments and others to support peace education at a global scale. An important next step is to ensure adequate funding for peace education programming around the world. Currently, negotiations are ongoing for the post-2020 EU budget (the Multi-annual Financial Framework). This is a concrete opportunity to dedicate funding for peace education, inside and outside of Europe.