Tag: Education for Peace

Peaceful families are key to resolving interpersonal conflict

This is the second in a series of blogs by the winners of our #spaceforpeace twitter campaign on Interpersonal conflict.

By Nili Majumder,

Conflict is the common part of human interactions and occurs in different contexts of our lives; Conflict can cause resentment, hostility and perhaps the end of the relationships. If it is handled well, however, conflict can be productive/creative-leading to deeper understanding, mutual respect and closeness.

Family is the fundamental unit of human society and the principal institution for the socialization. Person learns how to communicate & process emotions. People also learn many of their values, beliefs & choices from their families. In family interpersonal conflicts often increases stress, anger, frustration and can jeopardize the relationships.

In childhood children are imitating the behaviour of their parents. Interpersonal conflicts in family members have strong effects on children’s psychology. Children are moulded by the family culture into which they are born and growing up, their assumptions about what is right and wrong, good and bad reflect the beliefs, values and traditions of the family culture; they also carrying into adulthood numerous attitudes and behaviours acquired in childhood.

Future generations who grow up surrounded by destructive conflict may, as adults, determine never to participate in discord. In this situation, the person may never have learned that there are effective, adaptive ways to communicate in the face of conflict. Even those who later reject all or part of the family culture often discover that they are not entirely free of their early influences. No matter that they promise themselves they will never repeat the mistakes of their own family—certain cultural attitudes and responses are so ingrained in family members that they continue to affect their thinking and behaviour, whether or not those individuals are aware of such influences.


Attitudes and expectations about the roles of men and women vary from one family to other; it is an integral part of family culture. E.g. the boys or girls raised in a family in which female members are empowered are exposed to a very different family culture than from the one where female members are not socio-economically empowered.

When the society are not recognised or valued different practices, beliefs of families from different cultural backgrounds; it can also lead to miscommunication or misunderstandings, it affects family. Lack of understanding about differences is called discrimination. Discrimination impacts negatively on individuals and entire societies. Valuing and respecting diversity encourages people to see differences among individuals and groups as common and positive; inclusive positive attitude promote respectful relationships and reduces the discrimination and isolation.

This is when we need to talk about the role of education in our culture.

Education is the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. It is important that the education at each step must be high standard and universal in order to ensure appropriate learning outcomes that provide knowledge, skills and attitudes for an active citizenship. Qualitative/scientific education is important because it helps to establish quality learning environments that are rights-based, gender-sensitive, healthy, open minded and tolerant. It also enhances life skills such as critical thinking, decision-making, communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, coping, and self-management; it can be applied in violence prevention also.

Qualitative education can empower children to participate in activities to bringing constructive changes in the society, because qualitative education enriches our culture and ensure to make resilient families that provide tolerance, cooperation, respect to all human beings and their rights.

According to World Economic Forum among World happiest countries like Denmark and other Nordic countries achieved gender equality and there have strong presence of women in leadership positions.

We learnt from the World’s happiest countries that if we ensure gender equality, qualitative education & jobs for all, women empowerment and increase the women participation in decision making, all social factors will help to make resilient family.

In a resilient family (where women are socio-economically empowered & family members have quality education) future generations are getting the culture that in any critical situation (facing hunger, poverty, conflict) & if they belong in the leadership they will never loss patience power, not to use abusive language and not involve in corruption or unfair activities.

We can say that resilient peaceful families ensure that there is peace in society and vice versa.

Happy families can change the world.

Nili Majumder

About the author: Nili Majumder works as the Gender Equality Advocate on Social Media for the Global Fund for Women.

Note: The views expressed in this blog are of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of UNESCO MGIEP.

Are teachers becoming obsolete? Prof Sugata Mitra discusses the future of education

New Delhi, 30 March 2016–Prof Sugata Mitra discussed his dreams for the future of education in front of a packed auditorium on Wednesday. His lecture, delivered at the India Institute of Technology Delhi, was fourth in the series of UNESCO MGIEP’s Distinguished Lectures.

Mitra received a warm welcome at his Alma mater, with some of his teachers and peers present in the audience. Dr Karan Singh, Chair of UNESCO MGIEP’s Governing Board and India’s permanent representative to UNESCO, presided over the function.

Prof Mitra received a warm welcome at his Alma mater, with some his teachers and peers present in the audience.
Prof Mitra received a warm welcome at his Alma mater, with some his teachers and peers present in the audience.

Mitra, an award-winning TED speaker, is best known for his experiments ‘Hole in the Wall’ and ‘School in the Cloud,’ where he used innovative techniques to facilitate the learning process for students. He walked the audience through his experiments and their outcomes and raised some serious questions about our current education systems.

Mitra argued that current education system are producing “identical, non-creative and obedient” individuals who are not equipped to deal with the modern world. In fact, he pushed the argument further to say that “reading, writing and arithmetic” are no longer the relevant skills for 21st century. These need to be subsumed within the larger subjects of comprehension, communication and computation.

Mitra believes that the current education system is in denial of technological progress, and this pattern is unsustainable. The important skills for humanity to negotiate with the demands of the 21st century, according to Mitra, are “creativity, imagination and collaboration” and he argues that the current school system can no longer pretend to have all the answers for its students. It would be more useful, he believes, to “give passengers the driving wheel and see where they go.”

The disruptive arguments presented by Mitra were received with enthusiasm and instigated interesting questions from the audience. Abel Caine, Senior Officer at UNESCO MGIEP, said that it was the Institute’s endeavour to dream and experiment with new approaches to teaching and learning.

New pedagogies, to deal with the new challenges of the rapidly changing world, are a prime concern of UNESCO and establishing a dedicated institute of education for peace and sustainable development in New Delhi were a part of this effort.

Dr Karan Singh, Chair, UNESCO MGIEP Governing Board, and Mr Abel Caine, Senior Officer, UNESCO MGIEP, presided over the event.
Dr Karan Singh, Chair, UNESCO MGIEP Governing Board, and Mr Abel Caine, Senior Officer, UNESCO MGIEP, presided over the event.

UNESCO MGIEP launches YESPeace India

15th February, New Delhi – UNESCO MGIEP took the next big stride after Malaysia, and towards youth empowerment, with the launch of YESPeace—the Youth for Education, Sustainability and Peace—India Country Programme. This marks the beginning of a journey to transform the – 356 million strong – youth of India into Global citizens, through the unique lens of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.

The launch event was co-hosted by UNESCO MGIEP in collaboration with Pravah & CYC (Commutiny Youth Collective), partners of YESPeace India.

The highly-charged conversations, at TAG 2016, amongst youth leaders from across the world, on – Can education radicalize youth for peace? – provided a perfect setting for the YESPeace India launch. But what really stole the limelight that day was the part where the youth themselves took to the stage to launch the YESPeace India country programme.

‘Education is what gives individuals the knowledge, aspiration and values to live in dignity and act for common good. This is why it the most basic foundation for building lasting peace and sustainable development’
– Irina Bokova

Abel Caine, Head of Youth & Communications Team, UNESCO MGIEP, India
Abel Caine, Head of Youth & Communications Team, UNESCO MGIEP, India

YESPeace Network  is a network of networks, which offers online and on-the-ground global engagement opportunities for young people. The network’s interactive and creative potential supports youth action by providing an online space for young people and youth organizations to learn about, support, and co-create campaigns and projects, as well as build the bridges that link local, regional and global youth actions. The on-the-ground programmes at national levels provides the space to raise awareness, and influence issues, which are locally and globally relevant and empowers young people on Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship.

It has been selected as one of the flagship programmes for the youth priority area of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development with a special focus on Sustainable Development Goal 4.7. The programme aims to provide young people with access to policymakers and to the arenas where policies are enacted.

Neha Buch, CEO, Pravah, India
Neha Buch, CEO, Pravah, India

During the launch session, Neha Buch, CEO Pravah, our India partners along with CYC, provided a brief glimpse of the YESPeace India SMILE programme (Students’ Mobilisation Initiative for Learning through Exposure). The programme takes the youth through an enriching and rigorous journey of self-discovery, in which the youth is introduced to a transformative learning experience, especially through the lenses of Peace and Sustainability – helping them emerge as Global Citizens equipped with a strong sense to build a more peaceful and sustainable society.

The programme aims to build a systemic learning environment on Education for Peace and Sustainable Development where the learner eventually becomes empowered and further goes on to transform society by reaching out to a larger base of youth.

Talking Across Generations 2016—Can education radicalize youth for peace?

By Sigrid Lupieri, Public Information Officer, UNESCO MGIEP

15 February, New Delhi—From heated debates on the value of education, to the first live concert by Pakistani and Indian bands Junoon and Indian Ocean, UNESCO MGIEP’s Talking Across Generations 2016 edition drew more than 500 participants. For those who missed it, this year’s theme focused on the role of education in preventing and combating violent extremism around the world.
Held at the India Habitat Centre in central Delhi, the event opened with a panel discussion on the theme “Can education radicalize youth for peace?” Addressing a packed auditorium, Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, director of UNESCO MGIEP, said this year’s topic arose from witnessing increasing violence against civilians based on such criteria as religion, caste and gender. “The use of the word ‘radicalize’ is intentional,” Duraiappah said. “We feel that education systems today aren’t able to address this.”
Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator and the UN’s top official in India, stressed the risks that countries face when societies do not grant their young people opportunities and a future. One of these risks is that frustration can boil over into violence. A young population, however, also presents an opportunity. “When we are young we have the clarity to see things which become fuzzy when we get older and we realize that there are about 50 shades of black,” he said.
According to Afanasiev, a well-structured education system is not ideologically driven, but allows young people to ask questions and gives them the tools and abilities to find answers for themselves. Education systems should also ensure that young people are able to navigate and critically assess the large amounts of information available to them anytime, anywhere. “There is so much misinformation out there,” he said. “Sometimes in life we need to empty our minds and start again.”
Dr. Karan Singh, chairman of the UNESCO MGIEP governing board and member of India’s Upper House of Parliament, said that education needs to provide values and a framework through which to assess the world. “From information we need to construct knowledge, from knowledge we need to construct wisdom,” he said.
The panel discussion, moderated by NHK senior commentator Aiko Doden, focused on the personal experiences and backgrounds of the panellists—ranging from Afghanistan to South Sudan. Awista Ayub, an Afghani-American who heads the South Asia Programme of Seeds of Peace, said that young people must learn to hold on to their cultural identities while also accepting perspectives different from their own. Palestinian-Syrian activist Salim Salamah said he felt that the Syrian education system had let its young people down by not preparing new generations for change and for promoting a culture of authoritarianism.

Graphic recording of the TAG 2016 discussion session
Graphic recording of the TAG 2016 discussion session

For Simon Kuany Kiir Kuany, a former refugee from South Sudan and current student at Symbiosis International University, the role of education is to give meaning to students, while teaching them to walk in other people’s shoes. “Education needs to teach people to be better human beings,” he said, as the audience, mainly comprised of university students, cheered. According to the last panellist, Dr. Liz Jackson, an assistant professor at Hong Kong University, education is about countering prejudice and apathy—also forms of extremism.
At the end of the discussion, UNESCO MGIEP’s Youth Team unfurled its YESPeace Network flag and officially launched its second national chapter in India in partnership with Pravah and Commutiny the Youth Collective (CYC). A network of networks for youth leaders and young people ready to take on the challenge of changing the world, the YESPeace Network now has national chapters and local youth volunteers in Malaysia and India.
In the late afternoon, participants congregated once again for the TAG’s signature, town-hall style debate among young people, policy-makers and UN officials. This time, however, the debate culminated in a youth statement, which will be presented in upcoming international youth forums and circulated to all UNESCO Member States. During the debate, moderated by Zee Media’s Mandy Clark and Neha Buch of Pravah/CYC India, young people spoke about the risks of education being used as a tool for indoctrination, the challenges of promoting education when parents can’t afford to feed their children, and how to better involve young people in decision-making processes.
At the end of the day, Junoon and Indian Ocean gave a rousing performance, playing their respective hits “Sayonee” and “Kandisa”. Combining their signature blend of rock music, Sufi mysticism and sweeping folk melodies, the two bands, playing together for the first time, embodied the spirit of cross-cultural understanding in a time of fraught Indo-Pakistani relations. In the crammed auditorium, after a day of debates on education and peace, fans stood up and danced, and demanded an encore.