Saturday, November 7, 2015

Peace education from youthful wisdom.

Lasting peace has one very singular and paramount strategy. That one strategy is to educate youth as to what a peaceful mind and world is. The reality must be understood that peace is just like every other skill we pass from generation to generation. When we teach children to be peaceful and reinforce that education with actual life experiences, peace will take root and expand. That ideology is not a hypothesis, it is a well known fact. When we look at rebuilding any society (post-conflict) there is a strong need to educate everyone. Peace is embedded in education and for peace to last it can never be taken lightly or stopped. Furthermore, peace education must take place in the camps where children are forced to take refuge. Strong connections to community has to be retained and children must be given the tools to rebuild both their lives as well as their families, communities and countries. Such a thought is not too much to ask of youth. They often have the same capacity as adults to come up with solutions to rebuild, when given equal supports and opportunity. I have just read a report title I am Here, I Belong: the urgent need to end childhood statelessness. This report was created by a United Nations High Commission on Refugees. For me it really pointed to the need for education programs on the topic of peaceful communities. Although the report looked at youth from war torn areas, the information can be equated to other youth as well. Youth who are feeling left out due to economic factors, racism, body image slander, etc… can also benefit from this report. More important at this time, adults should learn a great deal from this report. The crucial point is the underlying call for youth to belong and pin that point to any youth that is left alone. This report reminds me of another report written about youth in conflict zones. That report was title Listen. It is a collection of stories from youth in conflict zones about what it is like to a youth and what they wish would happen for peace to become a reality. From these reports we can take a great amount of information as to how peace can be achieved over time and sustained. These youth are telling us the hard truth of life and show us a way to end the brutality of war. What is needed is the willingness and courage of adults to take up the challenge of peace. We have to begin somewhere.

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