A Studentís Guide to Peace Education

"Youth have the energy, enthusiasm and ability to transform their lives and help make the world a better place in which to live."

- Craig Kielburger, 16 year old founder of Free the Children, an international youth organisation whose mission is to free children from poverty and exploitation and to empower young people to become leaders in their communities, nationally and internationally

Peace education is not just about what happens in school. It is not about what you need to know for the test or memorise to please the teacher. Peace education is about how you can help build the future and make your world a more peaceful place to live.

Peace education asks you to ask yourself:

What is PEACE?
Is there peace in my life? Where? In my classroom? In my family? In my community?
In my town? In my country?
Where in my life would I like to see more peace?
What is important for me to LEARN?
What can I DO with what I learn?

The curriculum units on this website are designed to guide you through these kinds of questions and help you think about PEACE and EDUCATION in different ways. But ultimately, what you learn -and what you do with what you learn- is up to YOU.

Lots of kids and young adults around the world are asking themselves what they can do to make the world a safer, healthier, greener, more fair and less violent place for everyone to live and grow. Young people have added their voices to a global call to end school violence, poverty, child labour, racial and gender discrimination, child soldiers, and brutal warfare. With so many challenges for the future, learning about peace in school is an important beginning.

This year, 2000, has been declared by the United Nations the International Year for the Culture of Peace and it is the first year in the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

The United Nations is encouraging young people to participate in the process of building peace. In September, 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) stated:
"Young people are the present; their involvement is a necessity for human development and sustainability. The strongest demand expressed today by young people themselves is that for participation:

They want to be considered as full and equal citizens. Young people are capable of assuming responsible, determining roles in society. They need only to be given the opportunity and guidance to prove their ability. Young people deserve to be consulted and
involved in all aspects of social interchange.

They desire to be serious and reliable partners in the conception, planning and implementation of policies and programmes in their communities and societies. Young people have as much to say about societal problems and potential remedies as others do. Taking apt account of their concerns and suggestions will be beneficial for all. Young people should hold a role in decision-making that is given due import."

Like the United Nations, teachers and students involved in peace education want to see young people get involved. Learning is not a passive process - it is an active experience. And it begins with you!

If you would like to get more involved, here is a list of some youth organisations currently working to make the world a more peaceful place:

And there are many more. What are some organizations working for peace and peace education near you? Please let us know. THANKS!