Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education

EDITORIAL, 6 Jun 2022

#748 | René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

The United Nations is preparing a Transforming Education Summit to be held in New York on 19 September during the General Assembly. A preliminary Summit is being held at UNESCO in Paris 28-30 June.  This is an opportunity for peacebuilding efforts to provide information and suggestions especially for a major theme of the Summit “Learning and Skills for Life, Work, and Sustainable Development.” As the preparatory text for the Summit states,

“Transforming education means empowering learners with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to be resilient, adaptable and prepared for the uncertain future while contributing to human and planetary well-being and sustainable development.”   

However, the uncertain future holds out some clear challenges: armed conflicts, human rights violations, persistent poverty, mass migrations, and the consequences of climate change.

The goal of a world community living in peace where human relations are based on nonviolent relationships is central to the transformation of education.  We work to develop an atmosphere of cooperation and solidarity where discussions of all points of view are possible.  We must, however, be realistic in what such a summit on the transformation of education can bring in terms of long-range change.

I had participated in the UNESCO-led World Congress on Disarmament Education in Paris, June 1980.  Today, there are no visible disarmament negotiations.  There is a growth in military spending despite many calls saying that the money would be better used for development and welfare.  There is in many parts of the world a growth of militarization–a process whereby military values, ideology and patterns of behaviour achieve a dominant influence over political, economic and foreign affairs.

Nevertheless, there is a value in presenting the goals and techniques of peacebuilding in the Transforming Education Summit especially that UNESCO already has an Education for Global Citizenship program which includes elements of education for human rights and the culture of peace efforts.

Education for Global Citizenship aims to develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity and being able to contribute to global peace, sustainable development and the creation of a harmonious world society.  As the Preamble to UNESCO’s Constitution states,

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.”

In light of the armed conflicts in many parts of the world, there is a need to focus on specific ways to ensure education for children in areas of armed conflict and in post-conflict situations including effective measures to deal with the traumas caused by the armed conflict. Post-conflict education must help to develop new attitudes and values especially toward those who were considered enemies during the armed conflict.

There is much that peacebuilding concepts and techniques can contribute to Transformation of Education. We need to see how best to provide ideas into this Summit process.


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

Tags: , , , ,

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Jun 2022.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education, is included. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate to TMS to join the growing list of TMS Supporters.

Share this article:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.

One Response to “Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education”

  1. I very much appreciate René Wadlow’s contribution. However, I still maintain that talk about Peace Education and United Nations Summits is an oxymoron. The United Nations are well united in creating wars, something they’ve been doing non-stop since they got ‘united’, 74 years ago.

    This War Club ant its Executive War Committee (UN Security Council) have offered the world plenty of war entertainment, plenty of death, destruction of families, buildings and economies and the construction of refugee figures. The UN war plan has created, since its inception, nearly 100 million refugees.

    We must not forget, without wars, without refugees, without abusing Human Rights, without creating, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, disease, injustice, terrorism the United Nations would have no reason to exist and justify the obscene amounts of money they spend on themselves.

    Their obligation is to create work for all their ‘Agencies’. Refugees and Human Rights Commissions, UNESCO, ILO, (International Labour Office) WHO (World Health Organization, FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization, ICJ (International Court of Justice), ICC (International Criminal Court), CERN (Center for Nuclear Research)

    This MAFIA, known as UN – born in the US, the only country in history to have killed nearly a quarter of a million people in minutes with nuclear weapons, (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) pays a very good salary to a ‘Secretary’ they change every few years, well chosen among those who know the ‘game’. who will allow his paymasters to organize all the war games, civil and international, they’ve concocted, negotiated and agreed to play.

    I have lived for 7 years in Geneva, in close contact with The UN, WHO, ILO and CERN. I was also indirectly connected to FAO in Rome, and witness first hand what they do.

    In theory, the United Nations could be a fantastic organization for humanity and the planet. However, it is not, for the simple reason that Politics, competition, come first. It is a business minded organisation. As one FAO Director put it to me: ‘we are only creating more hunger’.

    Furthermore, with their own Armed Forces, the united Nations’ message to all Governments is “Militarism is the solution”. Nothing further from the truth. Nothing will change and things will get worse unless the UN imposes a total ban on militarism, Armed Forces, the War Industry.