Peace education activities promote the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help people either to prevent the occurrence of conflict, resolve conflicts peacefully, or create social conditions conducive to peace.
Core values of nonviolence and social justice are central to peace education. Nonviolence is manifested through values such as respect for human rights, freedom and trust. Social justice is realised by principles of equality, responsibility, and solidarity.
In order to achieve these ideals, peace education programmes across the world address a wide range of themes. These include nonviolence, conflict resolution techniques, democracy, disarmament, gender equality, human rights, environmental responsibility, history, communication skills, coexistence, and international understanding and tolerance of diversity.
Peace education can be delivered to people of all ages, in both formal and informal settings. Programmes exist at local, national, and international levels, and in times of peace, conflict, and post-conflict.
To create public dialogue different factions of society are often brought together in peace education programmes – these typically include civil society groups, schools, tribal leaders and the media. Yet due to the many areas covered by peace education, initiatives are primarily determined by culture and context, as well as by the projects’ scopes and objectives.
Peace education and peacebuilding are therefore intrinsically linked. The UN’s actions for peacebuilding include education as one of its principle components. For peacebuilding initiatives to remain sustainable it is vital that attitudes towards war and violence are transformed and translated into long-term behavioural change which seek alternative solutions to armed conflict.