Conflict Transformation Through Educational and Youth Programs

Within a broad-based, multidimensional approach to Conflict Transformation, youth and educational work is a cross-cutting challenge. It should feed into many fields of activity (e.g. health care, media work, labour market policy, etc.), especially during phases of conflict latency and in post-conflict situations. This article examines the theoretical and conceptual debate about the teaching of peace and conflict resolution skills. No off-the-shelf solutions can be formulated. On the contrary, peace education faces complex and even contradictory challenges. For example, the tension between individual behavioural patterns at micro level and social policy actions at macro level cannot be dismantled. The article explores the various intervention options available within formal education (schools and vocational training) and non-formal education (social work, youth work and adult education). Ten potential fields of activity are identified: inter-institutional cooperation, education structures, language education, teaching materials/curriculum development, participation and peer group education, programmes for children and families, storytelling/remembrance, integration and community work, international exchange, and training/re-training of educators. Further research is required in some fields which pose particular challenges, e.g. work with parents, pre-school education, intergenerational learning, linking remembrance with current human rights issues, and the role of spirituality. Above all, the prevailing Western individualised notion of education, on which most peace education concepts – including this article – are still based, must be critically reappraised