Peace Education and International Community
EDUCATION, 25 Sep 2023
The Mahabharata tells us that the only secret which you have to know is that there is nothing higher than man (male and female both) in this world. But men exploit men. The common masses of every nation are exploited and oppressed by their masters whether they are dictators or democrats. Common people everywhere are poor and slaves. Even intellectuals are not free (excluding a few exceptions) from the organized authority of concerned institutions of the society. Their status is no better than illiterate people. Everywhere there is oppression, exploitation, poverty and injustice throughout the world including in our own nation which lead to naxalism, terrorism, violence and war.
Conscientization, which begins among the oppressed and exploited, is the main goal of peace education. Conscientization means awareness and awakening of people towards their oppressive and exploitative conditions and situation s to fight their liberation by non-violent means. According to Paulo Freire the term “conscientization” refers to learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions and take action against the oppressive elements of reality. The conviction of the oppressed that they must fight for their liberation is the result of their own conscientization. Conscientization enrolls men in search for self-affirmation. Conscientization, according to Mathew Zachariah, is more oriented towards change in material world to be brought about by militant group mobilization where as Sarvodaya (of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-violent Movement) emphasizes social change by teaching individuals to change themselves or awakening of all. It means that the goal of peace education includes to conscientize oppressors and exploiters also bringing change in themselves to do good for the welfare and development of all fellow-beings.
Peace education views the world as one whole, single community a fellowship of human beings who have the instincts of hunger and sex, the same aspirations of generosity and fellow-feeling. People share a common origin and a common destiny: ekaiva masnusijatih (the human race is one). Hence the world should be based a communication of minds and hearts: Homo noia, of one mind.
Humanity is not a mere organization but it is a living organism united from within by those values which are inseparable from human dignity and freedom. When the sense of human community is absent, society becomes a riotous mob. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A fallen and prostrate India cannot be of help to herself or the world. A free and enlightened India can be of help to herself and the world. I want my country to be free so that one day if need be, she may die so that humanity may live.”
Homo sapiens is everywhere the same. Therefore, the basis of a scheme of peace education is cosmopolitan. Peace education helps people to become human. It develops a sense of belonging to humanity and strengthens it by connecting man with man. It helps people to feel more for other people, enable them to change the oppressive and exploitative society, and to create non-violent and just community. Peace education assures peoples peace. Peoples peace protects those who are afflicted with poverty, sickness, bereavement, unemployment, imprisonment, exile and oppression, and on the whole it protects the masses from all types of exploitation. Ivan Illich also said in his address to Peace Research Conference at Yokohama in December 1980,, “Peoples peace had protected thee commons. It guarded the poor man’s access to pastures and wood; it safeguarded the use of road and river by people; it reserved widows and beggars exceptional for utilizing the environment.”
Peace education develops in the minds of men and women that large inclusive vision of humanity through understanding and respect for differences and increase global awareness and cooperation in the ways of peace. It helps in developing an international community which will have in common science and technology, economic arrangements and political forms but it will also help the varied people of the world to develop their local customs, arts and literature to save the new civilization from monotony and destruction. And this international community will be radically different, which will be based on justice, non-oppression, non-exploitation and non-violence.
This article is based on the paper of this author published as opening article in the University News – A Weekly Journal of the Association of Indian Universities on January 13, 1992.
Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, Former President, Executive Vice President & Secretary-General of the International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP); associate professor of education emeritus, the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea. Founder and editor-in-chief of Peace Education: An International Journal. email@example.com
Tags: Education for Peace, Peace Education
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Sep 2023.
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