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Peace Education: Its Intercultural Prospect

Education being ‘the manifestation of perfection already in man’ as observed by Swami Vivekananda, it may be stated that absolute emphasis requires to be given on a model of education which can bring out the latent powers and capacities of the learners. In a world endangered by the threats of violence and terrorism, the need for what has been called ‘Man Making Education’ appears to be imperative. It is therefore, necessary to impart a kind of education which will make the learners aware of their infinite power which they are expected to summon up not only for shaping their own characters but also for enlightening other people of society.

  ISISAR (International Society for Intercultural Studies and Research), founded by me, believes that human civilization can be preserved and protected by means of dissemination of higher human value of love and compassion, tolerance and fortitude, sympathy and sensitivity – qualities which should be nourished and nurtured by education proper. It also thinks that the advancement of civilization can be achieved by contributing to, and sharing in, the progressive ideas and ideals with a view of cultivating intercultural activities and understanding which may pave the path of peace and prosperity in the world. Our foundation is also deeply concerned with yet another crisis of man, faithlessness and alienation, leading to wide spread frustration, particularly among the young generation. 

So, in order to create cordial atmosphere for humanistic process of intercultural understanding and harmony in the world, ISISAR in expressing my philosophy and ideal of life, proposed to develop and practice a model of peace education, which will not only enable the learners to achieve peace but also inspire others to create conditions of harmony.

Peace Education, as defined by Pran Schmidt and Alice Friedman is holistic. It embraces the physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth of students within a frame work deeply rooted in traditional human values. It is based on philosophy that teaches love, compassion, trust, fairness, co-operation and reverence for the human family and all life on our beautiful planet.

In this context, it may be said that Peace Education will be applied equally over boys and girls of different stages. Father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi also accepted education and particularly ‘Peace Education’ as the strong medium of forming the life and character of students coherently. He suggests, ‘If you want to establish peace in the world and fight a real war against war, you shall have to begin with children’.

We find the reflection of these ideas in Nelson Mendela, a noted freedom fighter for peace and social justice. He points out, ‘Peace is not just the absence of conflict. Peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish, regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, caste or any other social markers of difference’.

In the background, of these observations and ideas, Model of Peace Education can be divided into

(i) Peace Within: It means the contentment in one’s own living with tension-free mind, positive thinking, good health, sense of joy and freedom, feeling of love and compassion in the absence of inner conflicts, in leading to spiritual attainment i.e., in harmony and peace in itself.

(ii) Peace Without (Social Peace): It means harmony in human relationship in the society between the individuals, communities, religions, states and nations with each other. There should be development of love, compassion, brotherhood, co-operation, conflict resolution by abjuring violence, ceaseless faith in democracy and mutual understanding. 

In this background, we have formulated a syllabus of Peace Education Model in relation to the education model of UNESCO which can be introduced upon the students of primary, secondary, higher secondary and higher education for expansion of intercultural understanding and relation. 

For an expansion of intercultural understanding and relation we have divided the importance of the term ‘Culture’ into two senses

(i) ‘Culture’ means the cultivation of human values.

(ii) ‘Culture’ means different Cultures, Communities, Religions, Faiths and different disciplines etc.

The term ‘Intercultural’ means the intercommunication of ideas and ideals, present in different Cultures, Communities, Religions, Faiths etc. To know this humanistic process the exchange and sharing of human values is required to develop the intercultural understanding and relation. To create alertness about Global Harmony, which is the foundation of Universal Good,we are developing a world-wide Federation of Earth Movement which will lead to the development of World Parliament, World Government and World Judiciary.

In this process of developing World Peace, Albert Einstein, the greatest genius of the last millennium wrote, “The importance of securing international peace was recognized by the really great men of former generations. But the technical advances of our times have turned this ethical postulate into a matter of life and death for civilized mankind today and made it a moral duty to take an active part in the solution of the problem of peace, a duty which no conscientious man can shirk”.

To achieve world peace in the true sense a new culture of peace is to be developed by abjuring violence by all concerned bodies like governments, non-government organizations and particularly common men in fighting their cause with a mission of non-co-operation with evil. Peace is therefore, a complex dynamic process. An Organized Peace Movement by the implementation of Peace Education will lead to a wide spread awareness of the people and is absolutely necessary as deliverance can only come from the masses.

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