- Steve Biko
Peace education (also called co-existence education) involves the use of teaching tools designed to bring about a more peaceful society. Topics addressed may include philosophical and practical issues such as human rights, conflict management, international relations, development, and the environment. Peace education has also been used in order to facilitate gender equality. These programs focus on income, health, and power disparities between men and women as well as examining the traditions and structures that have led to the disadvantaged position of women. At its core, peace education emphasizes empowerment and nonviolence and involves building a democratic community, teaching cooperation, developing moral sensitivity, promoting self-esteem, and stimulating critical thinking.
A number of key components of an effective peace education program have been identified. 
Peace education is relevant for a range of conflict stages from latent hostility to the height of violent conflict to peacebuilding efforts. For those in danger of falling into conflict, dialogue may generate intergroup understanding in order to hinder conflict escalation. It may also help expose the use of education, particularly of history, in fomenting instability and distrust. For those in the midst of conflict, peace education may sow the seeds of understanding and provide nonviolent tools where violence is the accepted norm. For those who are emerging from conflict, peace education presents an opportunity to confront the historical myths that often contribute to conflict. Transitional periods often also present opportunities to reform education.
The international role in peace education is also expanding. There is a recognition that education has been used politically and, unless challenged, the persistence of divergent views of history can be a source of latent conflict. Aid agencies are interested in providing peace education to school-aged refugees who may be displaced by conflict or natural disaster which may itself sow the seeds of conflict. Much attention has also focused on civic education on the assumption that buying into democratic values will reduce destructive conflict.
A collaborative project involving the Teachers College of Columbia University, the United Nations Children's Fund, and the Afghanistan Ministry of Education will publish textbook in four local languages and introduce participatory, active, experiential to promote peace. 
In PRIME's Writing the Shared History project, Jewish and Palestinian teachers and historians collaboratively developed a text to transform the history education in the region. In the book, one column describes the Palestinian perspective in Arabic; another column describes the Jewish perspective in Hebrew; the third is blank in order to encourage students to write about their personal experience. 
In Northern Ireland, the "Review of the School Community Relations Programme"  found that cross-community programs in Northern Ireland schools did not pay enough attention to the importance of the environment in which contact was initiated and teachers would sometimes shy away from controversial issues.  In addition, the report attests to the importance of support from administration and management  as well as adequate teacher training. 
National Board for Human Rights Education in Croatia introduced a peace education component in 1999 into curriculum from preschool through high school. 
Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva (JACP) uses instruction, education, research, and community involvement with diverse populations. 
One innovative program saw Israeli-Jewish high school students study the Northern Ireland conflict for a few weeks. Although the instruction did not mention the Israeli--Palestinian conflict, after the Northern Ireland unit they were asked to write about the Israeli--Palestinian conflict from the Palestinian point of view. Most students participating in the program were able to write thoughtful, impartial essays while the vast majority of non-participants were unable to write anything. In short, program participants appeared able to walk in Palestinian shoes.
 Harris, Ian M. and Mary Lee Morrison Peace Education, 2nd ed. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2003).
 See for example Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2000). Does intergroup contact reduce prejudice?: Recent meta-analytic findings. In S. Oskamp (Ed.), Reducing prejudice and discrimination. "The Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology" (pp. 93--114). Mahwah,NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.; UlrikeNiens and EdCairns. 2005. Conflict, Contact, and Education in Northern Ireland. Theory Into Practice, Vol. 44, No. 4: 341-2.; David W.Johnson and Roger T.Johnson. 2005. Essential Components of Peace Education. Theory Into Practice, Vol. 44, No. 4: pages 280-292.; HaggaiKupermintz and GavrielSalomon. 2005. Lessons to Be Learned From Research on Peace Education in the Context of Intractable Conflict. Theory Into Practice, Vol. 44, No. 4. 300.
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 Gerson, J., & Opotow, S. (2004). Deadly conflict and the challenge of coexistence. Book review of G. Salomon & B. Nevo (Eds.). (2002). Peace education: The concept, principles, and practices around the world. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. In Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 4, 265--268.
 Kidder, L. H. (2000). Dependents in the master's house: When rock dulls scissors. In S. Dickey & K. M. Adams (Eds.), Home and hegemony: Domestic service and identity politics in South and Southeast Asia (pp. 207--220). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.
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 Maoz, I. (2005). Evaluating the communication between groups in dispute: Equality in contact interventions between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Negotiation Journal, 21, 131--146.
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 Clark McCauley "Head-first versus Feet-first in Peace Education" in Peace Education: The Concept, Principles, and Practices Around the world Gavriel Salomon and Baruch Nevo, eds. (Mahwah , NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002) 247-258.
 Alan Tidwell. 2004. Conflict, Peace, and Education: A Tangled Web. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 4, Summer. 463-470.
 Gall, C. (2004, December 27). Afghan students are back, but not the old textbooks. The New York Times, A11.
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 Kilpatrick, R., & Leitch, R. (2004). Teachers' and pupils' educational experiences and school-based responses to the conflict in Northern Ireland. Journalof Social Issues, 54, 563--586.; Ross, A. (1999). Some reflections on citizenship in the national curriculum. Primary Teaching Studies, 11, 20--23.
 Dinka Corkalo "Croatia: For Peace Education in New Democracies" in Peace Education: The Concept, Principles, and Practices Around the world Gavriel Salomon and Baruch Nevo, eds. (Mahwah , NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002) 177-186.
 Sarah Ozacky-Lazar "Israel: An Integrative Peace Education in an NGO-The Case of the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace at Givat Haviva in Peace Education, pp. 187-192.
 Lustig, I. (2002). The effects of studying distal conflicts on the perception of a proximal one. Unpublished masters thesis, University of Haifa (Hebrew).
Use the following to cite this article:
Brahm, Eric. "Peace Education." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: July 2006 <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/peace-education>.