For over 30 years, the IIPE has brought together educators, professional workers and activists in the field of peace education from around the world to exchange experiences and learn with and from each other in an intensive, short-term learning community that embodies the practices and principles of critical, participatory peace pedagogy. IIPE 2014 participants, many whom will be drawn from Lithuania, Europe, and Western Asia will be joined with representatives from other world regions. This residential learning exchange will weave together experiential and theoretical contributions of participants to illuminate diverse views, explore educational applications, and assess possibilities for practical steps toward addressing the theme of “transcending a century of worldwide wars.”
2014 Theme – “The Challenge of Abolition: Transcending a Century of Worldwide Wars”
Building the Community of Inquiry in Peace Education "
The 2014 IIPE, taking place during the centenary of World War I, aims to renew the challenge of the abolition of war as an interconnected system of institutions, assumptions, and practices. WWI took the lives of more than 9 million and set the course for a century of state sanctioned violence, and changes in the political maps and political alignments of Europe and her colonies. The “Great War” halted a trend toward citizen rights and democratic governance begun a century and a half before. The centenary of WWI challenges us to analyze these developments in the light of what we have learned from peace research and to develop an education that will enable us to achieve the abolition of war, an idea that emerged with that of democratic governance.
In Making a Case Against War (2008), Hilal Küey states that “If world peace is to be constituted—and this is an absolute necessity for our world to continue to exist—we need to develop the bases for a different approach to justice, judgment, and institutions”. In peace education, great strides have been made to build new understandings and alternative visions, actions, ways of knowing and interacting toward mutually sustaining global well-being. Yet, to abolish war, we must go farther. At IIPE 2014 we will ask: How might we as cosmopolitan citizen educators establish a new global abolition movement? How might we engage universal moral and human rights principles to develop alternative approaches to justice, institutions, and an ecologically embedded human global community? How might we, as peace educators, further build upon these principled approaches in order to more fundamentally challenge the systems and institutions of war? IIPE 2014 will engage participants in inquiry, dialogue, reflection, and deliberation on forward-looking strategies to de-legitimize war and conceive of alternatives based in constructing positive relationships.
Peace education offers a significant body of knowledge, skills, practices and insights to lead in addressing this challenge. These accomplishments have been especially powerful in the areas of individual learning and related pedagogies for individual flourishing. Yet, the demands of abolition of war systems require peace educators’ to focus attention toward possibilities for constructive social engagement built upon principles of democratic participation, deliberation and governance. So too should our attention be given to building the accompanying alternative structures and institutions for human and ecological survival and flourishing. This is an urgently needed focus.
IIPE 2014 seeks to further liberate our own militarized consciousness as a means to allow for fresh conceptions for constructive, ecologically embedded, human global relationships. We will ask further: How can we as learner-educators be significant contributors to building humanly secure, demilitarized local-global communities? As Betty Reardon describes it, the work of peace educators is “educating toward political efficacy in the formation and pursuit of citizen action and public policy intended to move the world toward the achievement of a more just and less violent global order.”
The planet cannot endure war’s devastating ecological, cultural, social, or political impacts. Peace education has already challenged the assumptions that war is inevitable, necessary, or advantageous. Yet, in order to transcend the prevailing yet antiquated war-dependent system, current structures and institutions must be transformed to support human and ecological well-being. Assumptions of interconnectedness and interdependence coupled with constructive, open and flexible reflection can illuminate hopeful possible futures. Knowledge and experience exists in the lived experience of IIPE participants who will come from Lithuania and the surrounding regions that were so deeply impacted by WWI. These experiences will be complimented by those of educators from more far-flung regions of the world; participants whom have indirectly inherited the consequences of the legacy of WWI and have their own unique relationships to war and conflict to contribute to our dialogue on abolition. The IIPE week-long structure will offer multiple opportunities for exchange of participants’ diverse experiences, local and regional viewpoints, and successful pedagogical and resilient community-building practices.
Notes & References:
In Sökmen, M. G., Ed., 2008. The World Tribunal on Iraq: Making a Case Against War
Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, p. 476.
Reardon, B. and Cabezudo, A. Learning to Abolish War: Teaching Toward a Culture of Peace, 2001, New York: The Hague Appeal for Peace.
Reardon, B. A. and Snauwaert, D. T., 2011. Reflective pedagogy, cosmopolitanism, and critical peace education for political efficacy: A discussion of Betty A. Reardon’s assessment of the field. In Factis Pax, 5(1), 1-14. Available at: http://www.infactispax.org/journal/
Deg?sys, L., 2012. Peace education as liberation of the self. Presentation at IIPE 2012, University of Puerto Rico, San Piedras Campus.