A Condolence Message on the Passing of Dr. Betty A. Reardon

OBITUARIES, 8 Jan 2024

Dr. Surya Nath Prasad – TRANSCEND Media Service

I shocked to hear the news of passing of Dr. Betty A. Reardon on November 3, 2023 at the age of more than 94 years. She was born on June 12, 1929. She was one of the founders of Peace Education. On December 30, 2023 I was reminded by a message sent by Prof. Tony Jenkins, Director, International Institute of Peace Education (IIPE) and Coordinator, Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE)  that both institutions, which were co-founded by her honor the legacy of  Dr. Betty A.  Reardon to leave a memory by celebrating Dr. Betty’s life at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem (521 W 126th St, New York,  NY 10027) on January 4th at 1 pm for a service followed by a reception with light refreshments in the Church Hall with intimation: “All are welcome to attend in person or via Zoom.” I have decided to attend via Zoom, though on this occasion, I shall be at Tomball, Texas, USA.

Dr. Betty A. Reardon

I pray to the almighty God to grant peace to the departed soul of Dr. Betty A Reardon, and courage to her family members, and her  colleagues, and students to bear the irreparable loss.

I recall my memory and remember that  my association with Dr. Betty A. Reardon have been for more than 5 decades since 1972. In 1974, I requested Dr. Betty A. Reardon, who was a distinguished personality in the field of Peace Education, and Founder-Director of the Peace Education Centre, and Peace Education Degree Program in Teachers College Columbia University, New York to be a Member of Editorial Board of our Peace Education: An International Journal, which was planned to publish in 1975 on the eve of International Year of Women on the theme: Role of Women in Peace Education with request for  her paper for this Inaugural Special Issue. Dr. Betty A. Reardon willingly accepted my request, and she sent her paper on the topic: Women and Structural Violence: A Crucial issue for Peace. Though the Journal was planned to be released in 1975, but due to emergency in the country, the Registration for the Journal was not granted, hence it was published in 1977 when emergency was withdrawn, and the new government granted the registration for the Journal. The Journal is For Free Distribution and World-wide Circulation for Dialogue on  Emerging New Concept of Peace Education for Perpetual Nonviolence and Peace.

In 1986, on the eve of International Decade of Peace, the Peace Education: An International Journal was published  as a Special Issue.  After reading this issue of the Journal, Dr. Betty A. Reardon judged and commented by writing me, “This Special issue of Peace Education: An International Journal is not a Journal, but it is a Book on Peace Education . Kindly send me five copies of this issue of Peace Education: An International Journal, and send me the bill for copies for the Journal,” I immediately sent five copies  of Journal free of cost.

My Disagreement with Current Peace Education

Though now peace has become the subject of policy of the United Nations, Research and Training by UNESCO, The Council of Europe, and Ministries of Education, various Universities throughout the world and world-wide trans-nationally conceived and conducted NGO Global Campaign for Peace Education, and the author of these lines, Dr. Surya Nath Prasad has been one of the first three signatories in the movement of Global Campaign for Peace Education on behalf of International Association of Educators for World Peace as its then President, he is not satisfied with the current peace education in the sense of its concept as inculcation of predetermined values in the minds of learners considering peace as one of the values and preparing them skilled in these values to practice; use of pedagogy as methodology (pedagogy is the science of teaching, he – Dr. Prasad, considers  teaching as violence because no one teaches anybody, if one teaches any one, he/she commits violence); and availability of its access to a few children of affluent class, who can afford its high fees (in this regard, one may refer to his paper ‘Access to Peace Education’ published in Online Encyclopedia of Peace Education, published by Teachers College Columbia University), and being limited for a certain period of 1, 2 and 4 years maximum as per the levels of the course like other conventional courses, which are limited for certain period, they are not life-long. However, current peace education may be one of types of remedial  educations like disarmament education, tolerance education, women education, education for international understanding, education for nonviolence, and education for other similar problems, because in future, we may have education for ant-terrorism, and other forms of anti-violence. But it does not mean that these all are peace education. And existing peace education may cure the symptoms of violence, not the cause of violence.

 Peace Education based on Man’s Five Elements

I have proposed the concept of Universal  Peace Education based on universally inherent five elements, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit in every man and woman everywhere without any discrimination. Peace and other values are by-products or secondary products of Universal Peace Education. Its primary product is integral manifestation of five elements in men and women leading them to be human for justice and peace. This man-making universal peace education should be for all campus and out-of-campus students including for parents, teachers, preachers,  political leaders, bureaucrats, rulers, representatives of people, judges, and masses for perpetual peace everywhere. But non-unfoldment or even partial unfoldment of these five elements in men and women leads them to commit violence and war.

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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. dr_suryanathprasad@yahoo.co.in


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Jan 2024.

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