Information on the Webinar Presentation
Date: Thursday, 30th November 2016
Time: 12:00 GMT
Venue: Online (Adobe Connect Platform)
Organizers: This Webinar is organized by the Association for Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) through its Working Group on Higher Education (WGHE), hosted by the Association of African Universities (AAU).
Target Audience: The Webinars are open to all – most especially, Vice- Chancellors, Academic Staff, Board Members of AAU, Development Cooperation Partners, the African Union Commission staff, Educational Divisions of the various Regional Economic Communities (RECs), International Education-based NGOs, Ministries of Education, Scholars, Students, Researchers, Diaspora, Peace Organizations, Government officials and others.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
- Register at aau.org/webinars
- The Webinar will be streamed live at https://meet53484183.adobeconnect.com/wghetalks/
- Make sure you have Adobe flash player installed on your device (computer, smartphones etc.)
- Live Tweeting and Event Hashtag
- Join the conversation following #WGHETalks and share your comments and questions.
Peace is antithetical to conflict and is priceless in any developmental equation. This understanding is driving a strong expectation that all sectors of society, particularly universities, must play a role in peace building (Sarajevo Declaration, 2014). A continent steeped in conflictual situations and struggling to achieve authentic development for its people should pay all legitimate prices necessary, including a sustainable support for its universities, to get peace.
Contemporary wisdom argues that a culture of peace and conflict resolution, necessary for development, can only result from an authentic process of socialization which produces a peace-oriented transformation of both the individual and the collective. That is to say, peace is a learnt human state at personal and societal levels (Galtung, 1996). Learning is a function of education. Thus, there should be no contesting the point that peace education, particularly at the university level where most opinion leaders are raised, must occupy the pride of place especially in Africa – a continent still challenged with conflicts and sorely in need of development.
The significance of peace education in fostering conflict prevention and resolution has continued to be emphasized since the end of World War II. The Preamble to the UNESCO Constitution which came into force on 4 November 1946 states, in part, that:
“since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed; that the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfill; that peace must, therefore, be founded, if it is not to fail upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind (abridged)”.
Since then, several works have underlined the promise that peace education holds for a world more at peace with itself. Talking about the learning that makes such “intellectual and moral solidarity” possible, Julius et al. (2012) argues that “such learning cannot be achieved without intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace”.
This webinar invites all those who care deeply about development in Africa to join us to explore the state of peace education in African universities and to discuss what needs to be done to enhance its strategic value for development and conflict prevention/resolution.
Essence and Typology of Peace Education
As the Charter of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica states clearly, the persistence of war in the history of mankind and the growing threats against peace in recent decades jeopardize the very existence of the human race and make it imperative that peace should no longer be viewed as a negative concept, as the end of conflict or as a simple diplomatic compromise, but rather that it should be achieved and ensured through the most valuable and most effective resource that man possesses: education (emphasis, added).
Education (teaching and learning) encounters can take many forms. The ones that constitute Peace Education are equally varied. At core, we shall focus on those that:
- Provide people with the knowledge of structural arrangements which produce and legitimize injustice, inequality, and disharmony;
- Empower people with skills in nonviolent alternatives for managing the ensuing conflict; and
- Draw from people the attitude for living in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment (see Harris and Synott, 2002).
This is the ASK (attitudes, skills and knowledge) at the heart of peace education. Elaborating on this heart (essence) of peace education, Page (2008) posited that peace education, properly deployed, should inform about conflict-generating social systems; define appropriate (non-conflictual) responses; and encourage imagination of and commitment to a peaceful future – all of which must be strong enough to make the students appreciate the world and care for others (see also Kumar, 2010; Julius et.al. 2012).
It would appear then that to achieve a predetermined end, peace education must have its own peculiar curricula and pedagogies. We will also explore this point in the webinar, using as contexts the widely acknowledged typology which classifies peace education as:
- Conflict resolution training – focusing on the social-behavioural symptoms of conflict, training individuals to resolve inter-personal disputes through techniques of negotiation and (peer) mediation.
- Democracy education – focusing on the political processes associated with conflict, and postulating that with an increase in democratic participation the likelihood of societies resolving conflict through violence and war decreases.
- Human rights education – focusing humanity moving closer to a peaceful global community where all individual members of the human race can exercise their personal freedoms and be legally protected from violence, oppression, and indignity.
- Worldview transformation education – focusing on the healthy development and maturation of human consciousness through assisting people to examine and transform their worldviews which are defined as the subconscious lens (acquired through cultural, family, historical, religious and societal influences) through which people perceive and respond to ‘reality’ (see Wikipedia on Peace Education).
Peace Education Practices in Universities: Africa and other Regions
Peace education is pushing universities beyond their traditional concern with “imparting specialized knowledge and skills in various fields of study capable of helping beneficiaries to make useful contributions to the societal development and also earn meaningful livelihood from a legitimate occupation. There is increasing interest in the role of [universities] in promoting peace and security at all levels of society, particularly in volatile conflict-prone and war-affected societies” (Omeje, 2015). In this webinar, we shall further explore how the universities in Africa are responding to peace education, compared to those of the other regions of the world.
In particular, we shall examine whether the responses or practices confine such a role to selected faculties (e.g. social sciences and humanities) where courses such as peace, conflict, and security studies are offered or they mainstream the role through embedding peace education in all the programmes offered across the entire universities beside the specialised peace-related programmes (see Omeje, op.cit). We shall tease out the consequences of either approach; and draw lessons regarding critical factors that can accelerate peace education and conflict prevention and resolution in African universities.
This webinar aims to interrogate peace education as an emergent programme of study in African universities – a programme with a great promise for conflict prevention and resolution in the continent. The interrogation is designed to:
- Clarify the historical context of the programme’s emergence in African universities;
- Analyse the current status of its practice, compared to other regions, in terms of prevalence, purpose, typology, curricula and pedagogy; and
- Determine some critical factors that can foster a greater uptake for the programme and enhance its strategic value for socio-economic and political development in Africa.
The deliverables of the webinar are:
- Presentation on Promoting Peace Education and Conflict Prevention/Resolution in African Universities
- Interaction with the various participants and stakeholders on the presentation
- Documented lessons from the presentation as well as the Q & A session of the webinar.
It is expected that the webinar will produce the following outcomes:
- Critical review and understanding of the practice of peace education and conflict prevention/resolution in African universities.
- Encouragement of broader support from core University stakeholders, including African Governments, for peace education and conflict prevention/resolution as a key response to Africa’s developmental challenges.