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Education for Peace - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Vision

While many universities, government agencies and civil society organizations devote considerable resources to the study of conflict, violence and war, there are relatively few peace programs dedicated to a systematic, sustained plan of action to educate children and youth, their parents, teachers and leaders in the principles of peace. Consequently, generations repeat the mistakes of former generations and conflict and violence become permanent facets of human societies.

The Education for Peace (EFP) program is a unique community development program dedicated to assisting young generations and their teachers, parents and leaders to engage in creating a culture of peace based on unity in diversity. It provides in-depth, systematic and sustained programs of training in the foundations of peace, democracy, inter-ethnic understanding, human rights and gender equality. The EFP approach is comprehensive and inter-generational in that it assists children, youth and adults to create conflict-free and violence free environments in their homes, schools, places of work and in the community at large. The ultimate goal of EFP is to assist the participating populations in establishing an all-inclusive civilization of peace.

Through the International Education for Peace Institute and its sister agencies, systematic programs of training, research, consulting and academic collaboration are offered worldwide. Currently, EFP projects are serving almost 100,000 students, teachers, school administrators, parents and civic and academic leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States and Canada. EFP projects are being considered for expansion to Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, South-East Asia and other parts of Europe. Through partnerships with governments, private foundations, international NGOs, educational institutions, and community organizations, EFP aims to serve any and all populations who have recognized the all-important need for a sustainable and progressive culture of peace.

Background

The initial two-year pilot project of Education for Peace was launched in June 2000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with the participation of more than 400 teachers and school staff, 6,000 students and their parents, education ministries, municipal leaders, international authorities and the media. The pilot program yielded such significant results that it gained the recognition and endorsement of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the BiH Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the High Representative in BiH. The government subsequently invited EFP to create a strategy of program expansion to all schools in the country.

To initiate the expansion of EFP, in March 2003 two full-day Consultative Forums on Education for Peace were held in Sarajevo, with the participation of all thirteen Ministries of Education at the Entity, Cantonal and District levels and all Directors of the eight Pedagogical Institutes of BiH. The consultations resulted in unanimous support from all educational authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe in BiH (OSCE Mission) for the country-wide implementation of Education for Peace. It also laid the foundations for the gradual inclusion of Education for Peace in the formal curriculum of BiH schools and the implementation of EFP as a framework for the modification of the country’s educational policies.

EFP Framework

The aim and challenge of the Education for Peace program is to educate every new generation of students to become peacemakers and to devote their talents, capacities and energies towards the creation of a civilization of peace based on the twin pillars of a culture of peace and a culture of healing. This requires the engagement of the students in a systematic and sustained program of full emersion in the study of the principles of peace by integrating these principles into the daily lessons of every subject. EFP has established three inter-related programs to accomplish these objectives: EFP-INTENSIVE, EFP-WORLD and the Youth Peace-builder Network (YPN) for implementation in schools and the EFP-LEADERSHIP with its objectives to inform the leaders of each community with the principles of EFP and peace-centered leadership.

The EFP curriculum is designed to be both universal and specific. The universality of the curriculum refers to the universal principles of peace - the common heritage of humanity, the diverse expression of this common heritage and the absolute necessity to create a unified and peaceful world within this framework of oneness and diversity without resort to conflict and violence. While the principles of peace and unity are universal, it is essential that the program be tailored to the specific needs of every community in which EFP operates. For each distinct society, the EFP program is therefore carefully designed with the full participation of the educators and experts from that community so that it is context-appropriate.

It is through this all-inclusive approach that participating communities are given ownership of the EFP program. This process creates an environment conducive to sustainable socio-cultural development between participating schools through the active involvement of men, women, boys and girls, as equal partners in the process of repairing the fabric of war-torn societies. It also creates the necessary mechanisms for the sustainability of the program by training a large number of educators from participating schools as EFP Specialists and through the integration of EFP principles in the curriculum of these schools.

Over the past few years of program implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a range of EFP educational materials have been developed. The materials have been modified for each study subject and adapted to represent the social realities and historical context of BiH. A number of key research projects are also in the process of implemented.

Education for Peace Programs

EFP–INTENSIVE is based on the classical EFP pilot project, a two year community-based Education for Peace program in which all teachers, staff and students of a given school are trained in EFP. A tailor-made curriculum is developed based on EFP-International’s universal model, for use in every subject (history, science, arts, social studies, etc). To ensure that the curriculum is specified to the needs of the participating schools and communities, educators and teachers from each region assist in its development. This program is particularly suited to assist ethnically segregated schools, those with displaced and refugee populations, schools situated in zones of intense conflict or in economically deprived regions, to overcome the barriers of ethnic hatred and the traumas of war. The two-year program focuses on the development of 1) a culture of peace, and 2) a culture of healing in the participating school communities. Through a carefully monitored and sustained implementation process, EFP-INTENSIVE facilitates the forging of bonds of trust, open communication and sensitivity, which take time to develop and which are essential for genuine and lasting socio-psychological recovery.

EFP–WORLD is a comprehensive IT-based version of the Education for Peace Program. Initially designed for implementation in secondary school, it will also be adapted for use in primary schools.

EFP-WORLD aims to empower local communities by building a brighter future through: increased local knowledge on how to prevent conflicts; strengthening inter-ethnic understanding and cooperation; and applying the principles of gender equality, human rights and justice within sustainable community building processes. Through online and CD-ROM delivery, EFP-WORLD can be offered to schools across the country at a relatively low cost. The program not only bridges the digital divide by introducing students and teachers to the world of information and communication technologies, but also creates an international forum for young people of all backgrounds, modes of thought and interest, to have dialogue within the parameters of the principles of peace.

Youth Peace-Builders Network: The Youth Peace-builder Network (YPN) is an emerging network of youth mobilized as leaders in the effort to create a global culture of peace. Trained in cutting edge concepts of peacemaking, conflict transformation, and violence prevention, YPN participants lead their peers in exploring the fundamental ideas, worldviews, and actions which characterize a culture of peace. YPN has had its origins at a few schools in North America. The current plan is to systematically create YPN groups in various parts of the world.

EFP–PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMA: The introduction of EFP-WORLD and EFP-INTENSIVE to schools across Bosnia and Herzegovina will be facilitated by Bosnian educators trained as EFP Specialists. Through a professional training program, a select number of teachers in each school are trained in all aspects of the EFP curriculum and implementation methodologies. The Specialists then facilitate and monitor the process of EFP program implementation in participating schools and assist in developing integrated curricula for the Ministries of Education to adopt as models in the long run. They are also able to provide on-going expert assistance to their colleagues for the sustained implementation of Education for Peace.

EFP–LEADERSHIP is a parallel program designed to equip municipal leaders in the communities where schools are participating in Education for Peace, with a review of the principles and practices of a culture of peace. EFP–LEADERSHIP builds the capacities of municipal leaders to respond effectively to the challenges of governing multi-ethnic communities so that they can foster, in practical terms, increased interethnic harmony and cooperation, regard for the human rights of all citizens, the equality of women and men and the practice of conflict-free methods of conflict resolution. The program also gives particular attention to the emergence of a new generation of women as leaders and decision makers, thus alleviating the current imbalance that exists in the leadership of many societies. EFP–LEADERSHIP complements and reinforces the efforts of school communities that are engaged in EFP-INTENSIVE, EFP-WORLD, and YPN.

Positioning for Expansion

The ultimate long-term objective of EFP is to offer peace education to any and all schools in the world, particularly those in regions where the ravages of war, terrorism, prejudice, rapid socio-economic and cultural change and the demands of modern life have created conditions of insecurity and conflict in families, schools and communities. The core curriculum will be supplemented with additional EFP lesson samples developed by participating schools which reflect regional and cultural specificities and will be delivered in the appropriate mother tongues.

The first phase of this long-term project began in September 2003, in 100 secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina through grants from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Vectis Solutions, a private foundation in Canada. Thus, approximately 80,000 students, their teachers and parents have started to focus on the twin objectives of the EFP Program: creating a culture of peace and a culture of healing in, and between, their respective school communities.

Upon recommendations from various national and international organizations and peace education specialists, the EFP program is currently being considered for introduction to schools in the Middle East, Africa, the Subcontinent, and South and Central America. Another version of the EFP program, “Violence-Free Schools” (VFS) has been developed and is being introduced to schools in the United States and Canada, where plans for a large pilot project are now being considered.

International Education for Peace Institute (EFP-INTERNATIONAL)

EFP-INTERNATIONAL draws upon the expertise of an international faculty specialized in the fields of curriculum development, peace education, conflict resolution, political science and psychology. The faculty works closely with local educators, pedagogues and school administrators to develop and implement EFP programs around the world. The Institute was founded and is directed by Dr. H.B. Danesh, the author of the Education for Peace program and Professor of Peace Education and Conflict Resolution. EFP-INTERNATIONAL coordinates the activities of its branch agency, EFP–BALKANS and is also affiliated with EFP–AMERICA. EFP-INTERNATIONAL’s field offices administer all aspects of program development and implementation in their respective regions. EFP–BALKANS has been formally registered as a non-profit, non-governmental branch office of an international association (EFP-INTERNATIONAL) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sponsors and Supporting Agencies

- BiH Office of the High Representative (OHR)

- Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

- Government of Luxembourg

- Government of Japan

- Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

- Rotary Club

- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

- Vectis Solutions

Link to the Education for Peace Website:

http://www.efpinternational.org

For more information contact:

info@efpinternational.org

     

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