Thursday, January 26, 2012

Educating for a peaceful future

The above link leads to a UNICEF website that has a report which studies the impact of education in conflict areas. 

For many years I have noticed that every society has a form of peaceful conflict resolution within its culture. This cultural knowledge is quickly destroyed when wars are prolonged. I have noticed such a loss of knowledge in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic where war has taken place for decades.

As the loss of life grows so will the cultural knowledge. This loss is not well known or understood but the loss of identity as a people is still there. Through education we can save cultures and identity.  Yet there does exist a side where doing so can prolong wars. We see in Palestine/Israel where the youth are taught to hate the other, this is a poor use of education. So we have to be careful as to the content of the education.

Any form of education that is built upon blaming the other is broken and peace will not be a result. When we engage in such methods of blaming and pointing to past wrongs, I call this "stacking bodies". The end game is who ever has the most bodies stacked up is justified in their actions.  In my mind such a game theory/tactic is useless because each side will be embroiled in such a battle until the no one is left to stack any one. It is a zero sum game.

This is where education is most vital. We need to break those methods. I am not saying we forget, I am saying we take responsibility for the future. The past can not be changed and the future people must be educated in such a manner that they can feel unburdened by our past mistakes. As it stands now in Palestine/Israel, everyone is still carrying the burdens of people two thousand years ago. We have not changed any of the past yet we have killed millions of eachother to prove which side was right or wrong.

At some point the past has to be left there so the future can grow more peacefully. Education is our only method of ensuring we can do that.

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