Understanding “Peace Education”

Understanding "Peace Education"

Throughout history the definition of the term “peace” has changed due to various challenges that the world has faced. Peace education evolved around different understanding of the term. Whilst contemporary challenges in the world brought a broader and diverse definition of “peace”, peace education has become more crucial to promote peace and solidarity within communities. 

Peace education can be explained by understanding the concept of peace. Throughout history, the term “peace” has gained different meanings and peace education has become significant to sustain solidarity within societies. 

After World War I (1914–1918), the world turned their faces to build international cooperation and peace. Along with the League of Nations, the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation that is the predecessor to UNESCO worked for the very idea of international cooperation within the educational system. Unfortunately, 20 years without war has ended and World War II (1939–1945) brought catastrophe with numerous victims. Shortly after the war, UNESCO was founded and has become in charge of implementing general changes in education according to the international politics of peace and security.(1)

The understanding of the concept “peace” has changed throughout history. Peace has been defined as “absence of violence”, in the 1950s and 60s, it meant “absence of war”. During the Cold War, there was the fear of nuclear threat and arms race. Thus,  “absence of violence” meant absence of nuclear war. In 1990s the fear evolved towards terrorism. Therefore, promoting peace was in regard to the current socio-political environment. 

Peace cannot be simply defined as the absence of war, in fact, UNESCO defines the term today as absence of all forms of violence such as conflicts,  threat  to  life,  social  degradation,  discrimination,  oppression,  exploitation,  poverty,  injustice,  and  so  on. (2) The contemporary challenges in the world has increased the discrimination and prejudices towards one another. Thus, Peace Education is essential to build strong ties among communities, groups, individuals, nations and cultures.  

We can understand that peace education is to develop social responsibility and solidarity, to promote peace, to sustain equality towards all, to understand the ongoing problems in the world, to establish awareness and appreciate other cultures. In order to establish a clearer understanding of what peace education is, I would like to indicate what it means for us as Peace Action Community. Our aim is to educate youth on peace and prevent possible conflicts and prejudices towards different groups and cultures in the society such as immigrants and refugees. We believe that peace education is essential to strengthen relationships among individuals, nations and cultures not only in a society but also in the world. Peace begins with individuals and continues with social peace. Consequently, more peaceful societies can be achieved in the world. In this regard, peace education has to be in our agendas for a peaceful community and it is crucial in promoting peace.

(1)To read on: “Peace Education”

(2)Peace Education: ‘Framework of Teacher Education, UNESCO, New Delhi, INDIA (2005), <unesdoc.unesco.org> 


Sümeyye Temirov

Volunteer | MA Candidate in Human Rights