Conflict constitutes an inherent part of human experience. Therefore, being able to tackle it peacefully and constructively is an essential skill calling for lifelong practice and improvement. Thus, the implementation of innovative and participative peace education programmes appears as a critical pathway towards the prevention of violent conflict. This shared vision is increasingly bringing experts, decision-makers, and think tanks to partner with design and educational institutions, in order to generate curricula integrating elements of peace education. Peace education can be delivered through a wide variety of pedagogical methodologies, including traditional face-to-face courses as well as informal activities involving artistic or game components. In addition, training parents, schoolteachers, activists and policymakers to act themselves as peace educators is key to popularizing peace education with a goal of reaching the broadest audience.
In light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, partnerships have become a recurring theme in the international discourse on the promotion of development and peace. Beyond high-level cooperation concrete and sustainable global partnerships must arise from the grassroots. Working towards peaceful and constructive coexistence on our planet similarly starts with embedding tolerance and open-mindedness in daily interactions. Home to an exceptionally diverse population, Geneva presents a unique context to advance and develop peace education practices in a region of experienced tranquillity, showcasing the relevance of peace education within all contexts worldwide with the purpose of stimulating its replication and diffusion more broadly.
The broader far-reaching vision behind the Initiative is an aspiration to encourage a city-wide dialogue around the issues of diversity, tolerance, conflicting memories and identities, inclusivity, and solidarity, among else. Based upon participatory approaches and design thinking, the methodology proposed by UNITAR will help achieve the following aims:
- identify pressing issues related to peaceful co-existence, conflict resolution and integration, which are specific for the Geneva community;
- re-consider diversity with the aim to start regarding it not as a problem but as a solution for these and other issues;
- promote system thinking and knowledge sharing;
- ensure multiplication of knowledge and skills in the area of peace education;
- create a multi-sector coalition/network of relevant actors from the education system, academia, civil society and business, among else.
UNITAR’s core aspiration is to use the Peace Week 2018 as an enabler for the subsequent on-going practice of promoting and developing peace education in a synchronized and collaborative manner. In prospect, the message conveyed by this concerted local effort is expected to resonate within other locations/communities outside Geneva and ultimately Switzerland.
The “Capital of Peace” initiative is conceived to unfold in 3 phases:
1. 3rd & 4th of October, 2018 – UNITAR-facilitated interactive workshops (one in French, one in English), held at UNITAR facilities with nominated members of interested institutions.
Designed and delivered in the format of training of trainers (ToT), the workshops will focus on the personal skills needed for and methods of mainstreaming conflict sensitivity, prevention and management within various institutional settings and contexts. The approach will prioritize the focus on the exploration of the immediate individual surrounding, including the closest social groups of family, friends and colleagues, as well as of the inner personal dynamics. In the course of these one-day trainings, participants will also learn how to act as multipliers and share their knowledge in an effective, pedagogically advanced and innovative fashion.
2. October 2018 – Independent trainings facilitated by partnering institutions – participants in the UNITAR workshops of the 1st phase.
It’s your turn! Participating organizations will be invited to:
Deliver at least one two-hour peace education training at the location and for the audience of their own choice: colleagues, other institutional bodies, educational institutions etc. – wherever they perceive there is a need for this. Information on these trainings will be shared with UNITAR.
Visit the exhibition “Education for Peace: Preventing Genocide at Its Roots” as part of the training.
This exercise will be intended to both practice the newly gained skills and set up the process of multiplication of knowledge and peacefulness in our community. To ensure the smooth flow of this phase’s activities, UNITAR will be ready to provide occasional methodological support. In addition to this and in preparation for the final phase, UNITAR – itself and with the help of its partners – will collect diverse visual materials from trainings, including photographs, videos, interviews and materials that will have been created as training outputs.
3. 9th of November, 2018 (within the framework of Geneva Peace Week 2018) – Closing debriefing session & discussion.
Relying on the package of materials produced during the 1st and specifically the 2nd phases, UNITAR will use the opportunity provided by Geneva Peace Week to address a broader public in order to raise awareness about the existent challenges, the associated demand for peace education and the ways to meet it. The event will be organized in a multilateral partnership and will feature an interactive part not to leave anyone uninvolved. The precise format is to be confirmed, following consultations with partnering organizations.
Diversity of participants will constitute the unique and essential distinguishing feature of trainings. Specifically, workshops are open for:
- personnel of international, national and local governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions working in humanitarian, peace and security sectors (maximum 2 representatives from one organization);
- university students and youth leaders;
- high schools students;
- teachers, pedagogues and academic community.
Please, note that the registration to this event is restricted to:
1) organizations-members of Geneva Peacebuilding Platform;
2) students and teachers from the International School of Geneva (Ecolint);
3) university students and staff in Geneva.