“Realizing Peace Starts from Peace Education” Peace Education Conference Held in Romania
Early in April, about 700 people from various sectors of society such as education experts, political and religious leaders, women and youth groups, global peace activists and journalists gathered at Pentagon Events in Bucharest to discuss practical approaches for the realization of peace through peace education.
'With the title of ‘The Role of Teachers for Peace Education’, the 2019 Peace Education Conference was an event that presented the progress of the peace curriculum that had been customized for those with a European background, as well as the direction of developing a culture of peace backed by the international law for peace.
Planting the value of peace to the students: Peace Education
“This is a very complex subject. But just like all journeys start with a first step, raising the awareness of peace should be done from the most basic level. Through this education, children understood that they have the power to do good acts on their level. They can actually change their lives and the lives of their family members in the future. I try to make them see the importance of the values of respect, helping others, and tolerance which create better students as righteous adults,” said Mr. Dumitru Marius-Gabriel, a teacher of 1 Mai Technical High-school of Ploiesti who has taught based on the peace education curriculum.
Working with HWPL for this project brought me much joy and fulfillment because I could blend my normal lessons with the message of peace. I realized how important it is for us teachers to become a role model for our students. I’d like to add that this peace education exists to create a peaceful world for the future generations and to cease all wars. Furthermore, this education should spread not only to our students but to all the students everywhere. They are the future of our peace,” he added.
One of the distinguishing aspects of this education was the collaboration between a local organization and an international NGO to proceed with the curriculum. The teachers who belong to Master Peace, a local Romanian youth group, have carried out the peace education, whereas the curriculum and materials for this peace education were provided by HWPL.
According to an official of HWPL, the peace education is designed with the aim to leave peace as a legacy to the future generations by raising the awareness of the importance of realizing peace and fostering a culture of peace. It recently provided books, which contain the worldwide peace activities and peace agreements that HWPL has carried out, to the schools and libraries to encourage every citizen to participate in the peace work.
As part of the peace initiatives, more than 200 educational institutions in 21 countries including Romania, the Republic of South Africa, India, Israel, Kosovo, and the Philippines have been designated as HWPL Peace Academies to train both educators and students with the value of peace beyond the boundaries of race, nationality and religion.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said “As you can see in the name of our organization, “Heavenly Culture” refers to the highest culture from heaven that is above worldly cultures and can realize peace by harmonizing all the people in the world. Even if you are born in a family or in a country with great wealth, you may feel distraught and hopeless when there’s no peace in your family or your country.
The first starting point is important, so peace education should start from the family, and then expand to the schools and society. Everything you see, hear, feel and learn should be engaged with peace education. We can call it a practical peace education. It starts with the mindset that we can achieve peace. HWPL aims to create a world like this. That’s the reason why we designed the peace materials and textbooks after several rounds of advice so that we would be able to send the materials to every educational institute and help encourage the implementation of peace education.”
Since last year, Romanian schools and organizations, including Comuna Sotrile College, 1 Mai Technical High-school of Ploiesti and Master Peace, have signed MOUs for further participation-based peace education and activities that are customized for European culture using the peace materials provided by HWPL.
Spreading a culture of peace with peace education still needs a legally binding international framework for peace
“What HWPL is proposing is a new way of seeing topics such as anti-bullying, non-violent communication, and collaborative activities that are very important in the current Romanian educational system. The HWPL peace curriculum emphasizes the value of tolerance, care, social equality, peace, justice, cooperation, solidarity, and human rights that can create a culture of peace. It helps us define peace and its value, which would lead the students to become the leaders of peace. I’d also like to stress that the students should become peace messengers and work for realizing peace through this systematic peace education.” Maglan Isabe, a student of Mihai Viteazu National College, expressed her impression of the HWPL peace education.
Mr. Dragomir Marian, President of Master Peace, said “My belief, which made me work with HWPL and its peace education curriculum, is that education in personality, skill, value, and attitude is important for social, economic, and political development in any country. This role is well articulated in the ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ No. 4 which emphasizes a quality education for all to promote lifelong learning. This is also shared by Article 10, ‘Spreading a culture of peace’, of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) which mentions that education is important in promoting respect and mutual understanding among different religions, ideologies, and ethnic groups.”
The DPCW, consisting of 10 articles and 38 clauses, addresses principles of conflict resolution and international cooperation for peacebuilding such as respect for international law, peaceful dispute settlement, and spreading a culture of peace. Currently, HWPL is in the process of submitting this declaration as a resolution to the UN in order to develop it into a legally binding document, while citizens around the world are supporting it by participating in the ‘Peace Letter’ Campaign.”
“Articles 1 to 5 of the DPCW deal with preventing conflicts, Articles 6 and 7 are about resolving conflicts, and Articles 8 to 10 present the measures for maintaining a sustainable, peaceful global society. This declaration is different from the existing clauses of international laws because it offers a comprehensive solution and encompassing principles for conflict resolution according to the international order,” said Mr. Young Min Chung, Director of IPYG.
“The future is counting on us to complete the world of peace. Let’s take what we’ve learned from the peace education and put it into our lives as peace citizens. World peace can be achieved with the DPCW that will lay the foundation of international law and lead toward world peace. I invite you all to join the ‘Peace Letter’ Campaign.” He urged for active participation in establishing a legally binding international framework for peace based on the DPCW.
The conference held on April 2nd was hosted by HWPL and organized by Master Peace, a youth group in Romania, and sponsored by International Peace Youth Group (IPYG).