The Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan institution working to prevent, mitigate and transform inter and intra-religious conflicts through education and other non-violent means. Since 2009, PEF has been promoting tolerance, peace, coexistence, and pluralism. PEF runs capacity building programs, organises cultural exchanges, and conducts research that help promote peaceful coexistence.
PEF’s founder and president, Mr. Azhar Hussain, has been working with Pakistani educational institutions since 2004. As Vice President for Preventive Diplomacy at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD), Hussain launched the Madrasah Enhancement project, to engage and train the leaders of the religious schools (madrasah) to become agents of peacebuilding.
PEF’s main activities:
- Facilitating cooperation between Pakistani Muslim, Hindu and Christian leaders in reducing religious extremism and discrimination.
- Creating agents of social change, through engagement of religious and civic leaders, university and public school faculties, and students.
- Developing in key Pakistani universities teacher training programs for madrasah, including girls’ madrasahs.
- Working with key madrasah scholars to enhance madrasah curriculum.
- Conducting education tours for Pakistani civic and religious leaders, to study modern education systems and develop relationships with educators around the world.
PEF is currently running four programs focused on religious education and leadership development:
1. Six-Week University Certification Program for Madrasah Teachers
PEF provides professional certification for madrasah teachers in Urdu, training madrasah leaders to promote peace and coexistence in their communities. Six-week workshops have already been organized in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Karachi and Kohat. This program is expected to impact some 100,000 students within the next three years.
2. Imam Training and Capacity-building Programs
PEF have launched a project with Pakistani Imams from different mosques, working with them to promote peace and tolerance around the country. The program includes yearly follow-up activities with alumni Imams in order to maintain the effectiveness of their efforts in peacebuilding and tolerance within their communities.
3. Interfaith Skills Training for Pakistani Muslim, Christian and other Faith Leaders
PEF is training selected Pakistani Muslim, Christian and other faith leaders to become trainers and engage with other religious leaders and community members, promoting religious tolerance and inter-faith peacebuilding. The goal of this program is to empower diverse Pakistani religious leaders to collaborate in building a more peaceful society in which religiously motivated violence and discrimination are reduced and religious freedom protected.
PEF also created the Peace Commission in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Interfaith Commission for Peace and Harmony in Karachi. Additionally, Christian and Muslim leaders have organised visits to places of worship to speak jointly to one another’s congregations about interfaith tolerance and cooperation, and they have promoted this interfaith cooperation through local media.
4. ITMP Collaboration in Composing and Implementing Peacemaking and Justice Textbook
PEF’s has also started working in partnership with the ITMP (Pakistan’s National Madrasah Oversight Board) to develop a Peace and Justice textbook to be included in the 9th and 10th grade curricula in Pakistani madrasahs. PEF plans to engage a large number of madrasah leaders to incorporate this course in all madrasah boards (Shia, Sunni, Deobandi and Ahle-hadith). Once the book is complete and 100 teachers have been trained to teach the book, PEF will create the needed mechanisms to sustain teacher training and the implementation of the textbook.