The nature and purpose of Peace Education

John Williams reflects on 35 years of the CPEF and the nature and purpose of Peace Education

At the 35th anniversary celebration of the Christian Peace Education Fund, I was impressed by Valerie Flessati’s quote of the founding statement. She read:

‘Pax Christi’s understanding is that what is needed is a life-long process of education in the ways of peace. We seek to promote several elements:

  • an understanding of the origins of personal, national and global problems;
  • the development of a critical attitude to contemporary conflicts so that young people can be well informed and able to make judgements on the basis of moral values;
  • the acceptance of all people of the world as members of the human family.

As important as ‘knowledge about peace and war’ is, the development in young people of the abilities to affirm themselves and others (self-confidence), to listen respectfully, to communicate effectively, to build community by co-operation and to resolve conflicts constructively rather than destructively is paramount.’

Thirty-five years on I can think of no better way of saying what we still embrace. This is a 21st century statement pertinent to all involved in education at every level, pre-school, primary, secondary and adult.

John Williams is a trustee of the Christian Peace Education Fund.

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