Peace Education in Societies Involved in Intractable Conflicts

Goals, Conditions, and Directions

Authored by: Daniel Bar-Tal , Yigal Rosen , Rafi Nets-Zehngu

Handbook on Peace Education

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780805862522
eBook ISBN: 9780203837993
Adobe ISBN: 9781136874529




The fundamental question of whether peace education can facilitate change of the sociopsychological infrastructure that feeds continuation of intractable conflict is essential not only for educators but also for every human being that values peaceful resolution of conflicts. This question is especially valid in view of the fact that intractable conflicts still rage in various parts of the globe, and they not only cause misery and suffering to the engaged societies but also threaten the well-being of the international community at large. These conflicts are over real goods, such as territories, natural resources, self-determination, and/or basic values, and these real issues have to be addressed in conflict resolution. But, no doubt, it would be much easier to resolve them if they were not accompanied by intense sociopsychological dynamics. Intractable conflicts that have been going on for a long time (as in Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East) deeply involve society’s members who develop a sociopsychological repertoire of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions about their goals, about causes of the outbreak of conflict and the course of that conflict, and about the rival, and about the desired solution. Eventually, this repertoire becomes an investment in conflict that evolves into culture of conflict. It is rigid and resistant to change, fuels its continuation, and thus inhibits deescalation of the conflict and its peaceful resolution.

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Peace Education in Societies Involved in Intractable Conflicts

The fundamental question of whether peace education can facilitate change of the sociopsychological infrastructure that feeds continuation of intractable conflict is essential not only for educators but also for every human being that values peaceful resolution of conflicts. This question is especially valid in view of the fact that intractable conflicts still rage in various parts of the globe, and they not only cause misery and suffering to the engaged societies but also threaten the well-being of the international community at large. These conflicts are over real goods, such as territories, natural resources, self-determination, and/or basic values, and these real issues have to be addressed in conflict resolution. But, no doubt, it would be much easier to resolve them if they were not accompanied by intense sociopsychological dynamics. Intractable conflicts that have been going on for a long time (as in Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East) deeply involve society’s members who develop a sociopsychological repertoire of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions about their goals, about causes of the outbreak of conflict and the course of that conflict, and about the rival, and about the desired solution. Eventually, this repertoire becomes an investment in conflict that evolves into culture of conflict. It is rigid and resistant to change, fuels its continuation, and thus inhibits deescalation of the conflict and its peaceful resolution.

It is obvious that even when peaceful resolution of conflict appears on the societal agenda and turns it into societal goal, there is a need to change the culture of conflict as expressed in the shared sociopsychological repertoire and construct a new repertoire that facilitates the process of peacemaking and prepares society’s members to live in peace. This major societal psychological change takes place through the process of reconciliation, in which peace education plays a major role.

This chapter examines the nature of peace education in societies that were involved or that are still involved in intractable conflict. First, it describes the nature of intractable conflict and the culture of conflict that evolves. Second, it describes the nature of reconciliation that is needed in order to establish a lasting and stable peace after conflict resolution. Third, it describes the nature of peace education. Fourth, it presents the conditions for the successful implementation of peace education. Fifth, it describes two models of peace education. Finally, it outlines the principles of peace education and suggests a number of conclusions.

Evolvement of Culture of Conflict

Conflicts between groups in a society, between societies, or between nations erupt when their goals, intentions, and/or actions are perceived as mutually incompatible and actions follow accordingly (Bar-Tal, Kruglanski, & Klar, 1989; Mitchell, 1981; Rubin, Pruitt, & Kim, 1994). We focus on intractable conflicts, which have serious implications for the involved societies and the world community, and therefore understanding its dynamics is a special challenge and of much importance.

Intractable conflicts are characterized as lasting at least 25 years over goals that are perceived as being existential, violent, unsolvable, and of a zero-sum nature, greatly preoccupying society’s members with parties involved investing much in their continuation (see Azar, 1990; Bar-Tal, 1998; Kriesberg, 1998b). Of special importance for the maintenance and continuation of these types of conflicts is the evolvement of a culture of conflict that is dominated by societal beliefs of collective memories and of ethos of conflict and collective emotional orientation (Bar-Tal, 2007a). Collective memory of conflict evolves to describe the “history” of the conflict to society’s members (Cairns & Roe, 2003; Halbwachs, 1992; Wertsch, 2002). Ethos of conflict provides dominant orientation to a society at present and directs it for the future (Bar-Tal, 2000b). 1

In earlier work, it was proposed that the challenges of the intractable conflict lead to the development of eight themes of societal beliefs that make up the ethos of conflict (Bar-Tal, 1998, 2000b). Societal beliefs about the justness of own goals, which first of all outline the goals in conflict, indicate their crucial importance and provide their explanations and rationales. Societal beliefs about security refer to the importance of personal safety and national survival and outline the conditions for their achievement. Societal beliefs of positive collective self image concern the ethnocentric tendency to attribute positive traits, values, and behavior to own society. Societal beliefs of own victimization concern self-presentation as a victim, especially in the context of the intractable conflict. Societal beliefs of delegitimizing the opponent concern beliefs that deny the adversary’s humanity. Societal beliefs of patriotism generate attachment to the country and society by propagating loyalty, love, care, and sacrifice. Societal beliefs of unity refer to the importance of ignoring internal conflicts and disagreements during intractable conflict in order to unite the forces in the face of the external threat. Finally, societal beliefs of peace refer to peace as the ultimate desire of the society.

These narratives are selective, biased, and distorted, as their major function is to satisfy the societal needs rather than provide an objective account of reality. They therefore justify the position of the society in conflict, portray it in very positive light and as the victim of the conflict, and delegitimize the opponent.

In addition to societal beliefs, the sociopsychological repertoire in situations of intractable conflicts includes collective emotional orientations. The most notable is the collective orientation of fear (Bar-Tal, 2001), but, in addition, they may be dominated by hatred and anger as well as guilt or pride (see also, e.g., Kaufman, 2001; Petersen, 2002; Scheff, 1994).

Since most of the members of the society in conflict are involved with the described repertoire (actively or passively, directly or indirectly), it is widely shared, especially during its intractable stage. This repertoire is expressed in the major societal channels of communications, appears to be dominant in public discourse, and eventually permeates into cultural products such as books, plays, and films. Moreover, it is often used for the justification and explanation of decisions, policies, and courses of actions taken by the leaders. Finally, it is also expressed in institutional ceremonies, commemorations, memorials, and so on. In essence, it evolves into a culture of conflict (e.g., Bar-Tal, 2007b; Ross, 1998). In this culture, the society uses control mechanisms to ensure that the sociopsychological repertoire evolved in conflict will not change.

Thus, the younger generation is exposed to this culture through family; through the societal channels of communication, including the mass media; and through other cultural products. But of special importance is the educational system, which serves as a major agent for socialization for a conflict through school textbooks, instructional materials, teacher instructions, school ceremonies, and so on. This socialization has major effects because the beliefs presented in the educational system reach the entire younger generation because education is compulsory in almost all societies. Eventually, the acquisition of and participation in this sociopsychological infrastructure is an important indicator for membership in and identification with a society. By adulthood, many members share the same beliefs, attitudes, values, and emotions. As a result, they have a similar experience of reality and tend to endorse or take a similar course of action.

Intractable conflicts not only break out and are managed but also, in many cases, are resolved. Groups find ways to resolve the contradiction between their goals and other group goals. But it becomes clear that conflict resolutions are only the first formal step in the peace process. Of special importance is the societal process of reconciliation, which requires change of the sociopsychological repertoire among society’s members that fed the intractable conflict and served as barriers to the peace process. This repertoire does not change overnight, even when the groups’ leaders resolve the conflict peacefully and sign a peace agreement. The reconciliation process is a long one and does not take place unintentionally but also requires planned and active efforts in order to overcome its obstacles and speed it.


Students of reconciliation today agree that it concerns the formation or restoration of genuine peaceful relationships between societies that have been involved in intractable conflict after its formal resolution is achieved (Ackermann, 1994; Arnson, 1999; Asmal, Asmal, & Roberts, 1997; Bar-Tal, 2000a; Gardner Feldman, 1999; Krepon & Sevak, 1995; Kriesberg, 1998a; Lederach, 1997; Norval, 1999; Rothstein, 1999; Wilmer, 1998). Reconciliation goes beyond the agenda of formal conflict resolution to changing the motivations, goals, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions by the great majority of society’s members regarding the conflict, the nature of the relationship between the parties, and the parties themselves (Bar-Tal & Bennink, 2004; Borneman, 2002; De Soto, 1999; Kelman, 1999; Lederach, 1997; Maoz, 2004; Shonholtz, 1998; Staub, 2006; Theidon, 2006; Weiner, 1998; Wilmer, 1998). Specifically, we suggest that reconciliation consists of mutual recognition and acceptance, invested interests and goals in developing peaceful relations, mutual trust, positive attitudes, and sensitivity and consideration of other party’s needs and interests. All these elements of reconciliation apply to postconflict situations in which the two groups build peaceful relations in two separate political entities—both their states and the situations in which the two rival groups continue to live in one political entity. Eventually, reconciliation supports and solidifies the peace as a new form of intergroup relations and serves as a stable foundation for cooperative and friendly acts that symbolize these relations. A peace that is not supported by at least a majority of a society will always be at risk of breaking down.

In view of the psychological dynamics that dominated years of intractable conflict, reconciliation usually requires mobilization of the masses in support of the new peaceful relations with the past enemy. This is a very complex process that needs a defined policy, planned initiatives, and wide variety of activities—all in order to convince society’s members of the necessity, utility, value, and feasibility of the peace process (Bar-Tal & Bennink, 2004; Bloomfield, Barnes, & Huyse, 2003).

With regard to knowledge, of special importance is changing major themes of the ethos of conflict and the collective memory of conflict to construct new goals and new views of the rival, of the conflict, and of the peace—that is, new narratives (Barkan, 2000; Bloomfield et al., 2003; Borer, 2006; Borneman, 2002; Conway, 2003; Kaufman, 2006; Nets-Zehngut, 2006; Rotberg, 2006; Salomon, 2004; Theidon, 2006). Reconciliation also requires the construction of general positive affect and specific emotions about the peaceful relations with the past opponent, such as hope (Averill, Catlin, & Chon, 1990: Bar-Tal, Halperin, & de Rivera, 2007; Kaufman, 2006; Jarymowicz & Bar-Tal, 2006; Snyder, 2000; Staub, Pearlman, Gubin, & Hagengimana, 2005).

We suggest that one of the most prominent and efficient methods for promoting reconciliation is peace education (Abu-Nimer, 2004; Asmal et al., 1997; Bekerman & McGlynn, 2007; Calleja, 1994; Gordon, 1994; Harris, 2004; Iram, 2006a; Kriesberg, 1998a; Maoz, 2004; Maxwell, Enslin, & Maxwell, 2004; Spink, 2005; Uwazie, 2003). This is usually a process of societal change because peace education is typically launched when society’s members hold a repertoire of the conflict that contains ideas that contradict the principles of the peace process and reconciliation (Danesh, 2006). While it is possible to view peace education as encompassing the whole society that has to change (Bar-Tal, 2004), we focus on its application in school systems only for a few reasons elaborated on here.

Peace Education in Schools

Schools are often the only institution that society can formally, intentionally, and extensively use to achieve the mission of peace education, as they have the authority, the legitimacy, the means, and the conditions to carry it out. In addition, schooling takes place during the formative years in which children and adolescents are relatively open to form their repertoire. It is thus not surprising that peace education in schools has concerned the international community greatly and has preoccupied many of the debates carried out by the United Nations, UNESCO, and UNICEF outlining its nature, goals, and scope (e.g., Bush & Saltarelli, 2000; United Nations Children’s Fund, 1999; UN Resolution 53/243, 1999; UNESCO, 1998).

In general, peace education has many faces, and its focus depends on the needs and objectives of different societies (Bar-Tal, 2002; Bekerman, & McGlynn, 2007; Harris, 1999; Salomon, 2002). In societies engaged in intractable conflict, the objective of peace education is to advance and facilitate peacemaking and reconciliation. It aims to construct students’ worldview (i.e., their values, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, motivations, skills, and patterns of behavior) in a way that facilitates conflict resolution and the peace process and that prepares them to live in an era of peace and reconciliation (see also Ben-Porath, 2006; Bloomfield et al., 2003; Fountain, 1999; Iram, 2006b; Wessells, 1994). On a more specific level, Staub (2002) suggested that peace education should promote nonviolent dispositions, caring for the welfare of others and helping to raise people who take action to prevent violence. In his view, peace education provides knowledge, skills, and emotional elements related to the tendency to devaluate other groups, peaceful ways of resolving conflicts, understanding the origins of violence between groups and individuals, and understanding the functionality of bystanders. Abu-Nimer (2000) proposed that peace education should contain learning about the need for reconciliation with the enemy, the perspective of the other in conflict, the asymmetry of the power, the inequalities that arise from these power differences, and cooperation and nonviolence as the most effective methods for dealing with conflicts and the acquisition of critical thinking. Salomon (2002, 2004) suggested that the goals for peace education should relate to changing the perception of the other side’s collective narrative of the conflict through legitimization of their collective narrative, showing empathy and trust toward the other, critical examination of one’s own side’s contribution to the conflict, and a disposition for engagement in nonviolent activities.

In order to achieve the stated general objectives of peace education, school systems must undergo a major change. It requires setting new educational objectives, preparing new curricula, writing school textbooks, developing instructional materials, training teachers, constructing a climate in the schools that is conducive to peace education, and so on (Bjerstedt, 1988, 1993; Burns & Aspeslagh, 1996; Harris, 1988; Hertz-Lazarowitz, Zelniker, Stephan, & Stephan, 2004; Hicks, 1988; Reardon, 1988). Peace education allows socializing the new generations in light of the new climate that enables the construction of a culture of peace within the process of reconciliation (Bar-Tal, in press). But this great endeavor does not succeed unconditionally.

As already noted, society’s members involved in conflict are indoctrinated through years of conflict to maintain the beliefs that support it and the evolved attitudes, affect, and emotions (such as hatred and fear) that underlie them (see, e.g., how education contributes to this repertoire in Bush & Saltarelli, 2000; Coulby, Gundera, & Jones, 1997; Graham-Brown, 1991; Stavenhagen, 1996). They adhere to the goals of the conflict, delegitimize the rival, do not trust him, and attribute malintentions to him (see specific educational cases in Firer & Adwan, 2004 [Israel and the Palestinian Authority]; Newberry, 1988 [Rwanda]; Nissan, 1996 [Sri Lanka]; Podeh, 2002 [Israel and the Palestinian Authority]). Thus, an attempt to form new goals and/or provide a positive message about the opponent can be met with distrust and even hostility. Years of indoctrination leave their mark. Peace education is thus viewed with suspicion, especially when it tries to change the well-established beliefs about the rival and the conflict (e.g., Rosen, 2006). Even when peace is regarded as a general positive value, any dealings with the specific aspects of peacemaking are rejected. We therefore suggest that the success of peace education depends on a number of conditions in the political-societal and educational spheres (see Bar-Tal & Rosen, 2008).

Conditions for Successful Peace Education

The first set of political-societal conditions refers to intergroup processes as well as intragroup processes that legitimize peace education and draw support for its use in school. The second set of educational conditions refers to administrative and educational requirements that allow realization of the peace education. Without the fulfillment of these conditions, peace education faces major difficulties and often is condemned to failure. First, political-societal conditions are elaborated on, and then educational conditions are specified.

Political-Societal Conditions

The following four political-societal conditions are proposed for successful peace education in societies involved in intractable conflict (see also Abu-Nimer, 2000; Danesh, 2006; Rippon & Willow, 2004).

Progress toward Peace

Peace education, with its direct goals to establish peace with the rival, can evolve when there is at least well-publicized and open movement toward conflict resolution that includes negotiation with the rival. But full-scale direct peace education can begin when peace agreement is achieved and signed (Iram, 2006a). This sign facilitates greatly the launching of peace education and legitimizes its institutionalization in schools.

Support for the Peace Process

Peace education requires substantial support of society’s members for the initiation of the peace process with the past rival. At least a majority have to support the peace process, including major political parties and organizations and a majority of the civil society. Of special importance is support of the leaders (as prime minister or president) who see it as a very important part of their peace process policy. It communicates to the public a high priority for the educational policy message about peace education by the government and signals governmental responsibility for carrying it out (on Northern Ireland, see Community Relations Unit, 2005; on Rwanda, see Obura, 2003). This support is essential because it legitimizes peace education among society’s members (on Northern Ireland, see Smith & Neill, 2006).

Ripeness for Reconciliation

Another important condition concerns the preparedness of the society to hear the messages of peace education. This condition is different than support for the peace process. Society’s members may be ready for the peace process but not yet ripe for changing the repertoire of conflict that includes collective memory and the ethos of conflict, which play an important role for the collective during the conflict (Nets-Zehngut & Bar-Tal, 2007). They may not be ready for reconciliation, which demands the evolvement of new beliefs, attitudes, motivations, and emotions about the conflict, the rival, and one’s own society. The messages of peace education oppose the messages that have dominated through the years. Without ripeness, peace education will be difficult to implement successfully.

In sum, the described political-societal conditions create an adequate social climate that is necessary for the implementation of peace education. But these conditions should not be viewed as sufficient because they do not refer to the actual implementation of peace education in the educational system. The basic assumption underlying the following section that is there are also several educational conditions that are required for the successful institutionalization of peace education in schools.

Educational Conditions

The first educational condition refers to support from the highest educational authority, which often is the minister of education. It gives legitimacy to carry the mission and creates the proper climate within the educational system that is conducive to the institutionalization of peace education. It also rallies the leaders of the educational system and provides teachers with an incentive to carry it out.

The second condition concerns formulation of well-defined and decisive policy, which includes detailed planning of how to carry out the peace education. The objectives and contents of peace education imply major changes for educational systems mobilized for the missions of intractable conflict as a major societal institution (for an example of Northern Ireland’s compulsory curriculum in schools, called Education for Mutual Understanding, see Gallagher, 1998). Launching peace education requires major changes in educational polices. Thus, with regard to policy, there is need for short- and long-term programs: Short-term programs are initiated and planned for immediate use, while long-term programs aim to reorganize and reconstruct the educational system, and this takes a long time. The need in short-term programs emerges because a deep change of education requires preparations that last years. Short-term programs should be seen as emergency programs that can satisfy the immediate needs of the changing situation until the long-term programs are ready and can be implemented (e.g., the minister of education in Israel declared that the common learning theme in schools for 1994–1995 would be peace and coexistence, following the Oslo agreement in 1993). Long-term programs are supposed to construct the new culture of peace, in which the ethos of peace plays a prominent role (Bar-Tal, in press; Iram, 2006a; Rosen, 2006). In order to carry out this goal, there is a need in long-term educational policy that will be reflected in new curricula and textbooks, in the development of new programs, and in the development of new training curricula for teachers, school headmasters, and school staff.

In order to implement peace education, there are two additional crucial conditions. First, the Ministry of Education needs to have the authority and will to implement peace education. Second, it has to have infrastructure and resources (Amamio, 2004). There is a need in the organizational framework for lasting efforts and continuous devotion. The implementation is also related to the availability of experts and professional staff who can realize the institutionalization of peace education in schools. In addition, implementation requires continuous evaluation in order to find out what kinds of programs are efficient (e.g., Kupermintz & Salomon, 2005). Moreover, the implementation of every policy, including educational ones, depends crucially on the ability to mobilize the support of the educational staff on all levels of administration and practice, including senior administrative levels, school headmasters, and teachers (for the teacher’s role in peace education in Northern Ireland, see Smith & Neill, 2006; for in-service teacher training on peace education, see European Network for Peace Education [EURED], 2002). Furthermore, construction of new knowledge is an essential requirement for the implementation of peace education: Peace education demands change in the curricula of all grades. Textbooks and readers are major tools by which the dissemination of knowledge from one generation to another as well as the transference of messages, societal beliefs, and way of thinking are taking place.


The questions that should be raised following the presentation of the present conception are the following: What should be done when the specified conditions do not exist? Should a society leave peace education and wait for the evolvement of the proper conditions? The response to the latter question is unequivocal. Societies involved in intractable conflicts should not wait for the appearance of all the facilitating conditions for the development of peace education. We did not intend to discourage societies from launching peace education but wanted to point out the challenges and difficulties that they may meet. Of special importance are the political-societal conditions that have an immense effect on peace education. In fact, the educational conditions are basic requirements for implementing and instituting any kind of new policy but depend on administrative and organizational policies and practices.

In order to deal with the conditions presented here, in the next section we describe two models of peace education that represent its two extreme types. The dimension that differentiates the two models concerns the political-societal conditions that serve as a background to the development of peace education. On the one side of the dimension are political-societal conditions that are unfavorable to the development of peace education and that do not allow a direct reference to the themes of intractable conflict that concern the involved societies. These conditions limit the scope of themes that can be dealt with within the framework of peace education. But even under these conditions, there is a place for the development of indirect peace education.

Indirect peace education does not challenge directly themes related to conflict, such as its goals, its course, its costs, or the image of the rival. Instead, it concerns either very general themes of peace and peacemaking that do not contradict directly the culture of conflict, especially ethos of conflict, or an array of themes and skills that do not refer to conflict at all. This type of peace education may focus on an array of themes, such as identity, ecological security, violence, empathy, human rights, or conflict resolution skills (EURED, 2002; Harris, 1999; UNESCO, 2006).

On the other side of the dimension are political-societal conditions that are favorable to the development of peace education and that allow a direct reference to all the issues and themes that concern the societies involved in intractable conflict. Under these set of conditions, it is possible to develop a direct peace education that refers to all the themes of intractable conflict that contributed to the development of the culture of conflict and its maintenance and that served as barriers to its peaceful resolution. Moreover, direct peace education directly presents themes that allow construction of new ethos—an ethos of peace that will serve as a basis for the evolvement of a culture of peace that also includes new collective memory corresponding to the new emerging culture. We do not suggest that the two models are always exclusive. Our basic claim is that under very unfavorable conditions for launching peace education, educators should not give up and feel helpless but should rather launch its indirect type. In all the other conditions that provide some or much support for launching peace education, all the combinations between the two models are possible. We now present the two models of peace education in detail.

Two Models of Peace Education

The two models outline the scope of possible themes of peace education. We definitely do not exhaust all the themes of peace education that can be launched in societies engulfed in intractable conflict. But the description of the two models suggests an approach and direction to the various conditions that limit or favor the development of peace education. Since the conflict situations of various societies differ and the conditions of the particular conflict are not static but change, educators can select various combinations that fit the particular conditions of the conflict as well as the context, culture, and structure of the particular society. First, we describe the indirect model of education.

Indirect MOdel OF Peace EDucation

The indirect model of education, as was pointed out, is suitable in societies in which the conditions do not favor a direct reference to the themes of the ethos of conflict that maintain the intractable conflict. In most cases, this happens when the conflict is ongoing, the violence occurs, and most of society’s members support the continuation of the conflict and hold a sociopsychological repertoire of the ethos of conflict. Moreover, institutions such as the Ministry of Education and large and significant segments of the society object to launching direct peace education. In these cases, there is a need to approach peace education indirectly by trying to establish a new repertoire that is conducive to peacemaking but at the same time does not negate directly the contents of the ethos of conflict and of collective memory of conflict. This proposition does not claim that indirect peace education is not important but does suggest that it does not challenge directly the culture of conflict and does not try to change the foundations that underlie the conflict, and therefore its utility is questionable in the short run. But there are themes of indirect peace education that in the long run may have a positive influence on the young generation and thus eventually on strengthening peacemaking and reconciliation. These may be transferred to the conflict situation by the students and form a basis on which it will be easier to impart themes of direct peace education. Without peace education, societies may be doomed for continuing bloodshed, suffering, and misery. Peace education, even in its indirect form, may open a window of hope for future conflict resolution and reconciliation.

It is possible to outline a number of major themes that correspond to the previously stated principle. We focus on five major themes that, in our opinion, are important for establishing the infrastructure for the peace process. These themes allow indirect movement toward a change of the repertoire that supports conflict and the establishment of a new repertoire that begins the process of reconsideration and eventually the construction of new skills, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and values that support peacemaking. We suggest the themes of reflective thinking, tolerance, ethnoempathy, human rights, and conflict resolution (Figure 3.1). These themes concern the development of openness, criticism and skepticism, exposure to alternative ideas and their consideration, sensitivity to human rights, empathy toward other groups, and knowledge of and skills on how to resolve conflicts. It should be noted that all these themes contribute greatly to the solidification of democracy and humanism and should be part of every educational system that cherishes these values. The major assumption of this approach is that fostering general democratic and humanistic values is serving as a necessary platform for peace education in general and in the regions of intractable conflict in particular (e.g., Ardizzone, 2001; UNESCO, 2006). However, we do realize that other educators of peace education may suggest other themes and consider them equally important.

Each of the themes within the conceptual model for indirect peace education are now described:

Reflective Thinking

John Dewey provided one of the earliest expositions of reflective thinking. According to Dewey (1933, 1938), reflective thinking denotes questioning held beliefs, including dominant assumptions, and raising doubts and skepticism about the present understanding of an issue. This type of thinking requires open-mindedness as a prerequisite. Open-mindedness may be defined as a “freedom from prejudice, partisanship, and other such habits as close the mind and make it unwilling to consider new problems and entertain new ideas” (Dewey, 1933, p. 30).

Conceptual model of indirect peace education.

Figure 3.1   Conceptual model of indirect peace education.

This view has prevailed through the years, and reflective thinking refers to the ability of not taking any knowledge for granted but rather to consider and reconsider various alternatives in order to reach valid inferences, decision, or evaluations. Kruglanski (1989) conceptualized this skill as epistemic motivation of fear for invalidity. Moreover, reflective thinking facilitates learning and enables deeper understanding of the relationships and connections between ideas and/or experiences (Rodgers, 2002). This thinking allows one to be evaluative and critical of the policies, goals, or practices employed by the society of which one is a member.

With regard to conflicts, a variety of methods were developed for promoting reflective thinking in situations of conflict between individuals because increasing reflective thinking can promote the ability to examine one’s own contribution to the outbreak and continuation of the conflict. Of great relevance in these cases is learning from experience through reflection (Cseh, Watkins, & Marsick, 1999; Marsick, Sauquet, & Yorks, 2006; Marsick & Watkins, 1990). The ability for reflection increases awareness of the complexity of situations and the assumptions used to judge the new challenges. In addition, reflection leads one to explore sources of information that might otherwise be ignored. This type of learning can potentially be transferred to the collective level in situations of conflict. Students can learn to critically evaluate and judge the nature and the course of the intractable conflict in which their society is engaged. They may raise criticism about the way it is handled, about the acts of their own society, and about the prevailing delegitimizing view of the rival and develop views about its possible peaceful resolution.


Tolerance refers to the recognition and acceptance of the rights of all individuals as well as the groups to have different thoughts, opinions, attitudes, will, and behavior (Agius & Ambrosewicz, 2003). This ability is related to the openness to bear, to allow, and even to hear messages that contradict held opinions. Tolerance can be divided into the following two categories: Political tolerance refers to the ability to put up with the actions or the point of view that one rejects or opposes (Sullivan, Pierson, & Marcus, 1982). Political tolerance is usually understood to imply restraint when confronted with a disliked group or practice (e.g., Heyd, 1996; Mendus, 1989; Sullivan, Pierson, & Marcus, 1979). Social tolerance refers to the control and prevention of negative stereotypes and prejudice toward other individuals or groups and is usually considered a separate concept that can contribute to political intolerance (Gibson, 2004; Sniderman, 2000, Vogt, 1997). Thus, social tolerance refers to the willingness to accept representatives of different groups (ethnic, national, cultural, religious, and so on). Political and social tolerance is a necessary condition for openness in a society, allowing for public debates without conformity and fear of sanctions.

Peace education requires that tolerance be learned and practiced (Iram, 2006a; Vogt, 1997). To become more tolerant means to keep an open mind, to eliminate negative stereotypes and prejudice, to learn about the contributions of people from different groups, to challenge biased views and attitudes, and to engage in thoughtful dialogue about controversial issues (Bullard, 1996; Vogt, 1997). In addition, perceived threat from an out-group, as well as anger and fear, lead people to become more intolerant toward those whose beliefs differ from their own (see Gibson & Bingham, 1982; Marcus, Sullivan, Theiss-Morse, & Wood, 1995; Skitka, Bauman, & Mullen, 2004). Therefore, the crucial component for developing tolerance is decreasing the perceived threat, anger, and fear of other groups. Moreover, intolerance derives from the belief that one’s own group, belief system, or way of life is superior to that of others. Education for tolerance is challenging these societal beliefs.

Education for tolerance thus may facilitate public debates in societies involved in intractable conflict about peaceful resolution. It may allow the presentation of views that contradict the dominant societal beliefs of the ethos of conflict and encourage the development of minorities with alternative views about the conflict and the rival.


Ethnoempathy is the ability of a person or a group to experience what the other ethnic person or group feels and thinks. According to Eisenberg (2000), empathy is an affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition and is similar to what the other is feeling or would be expected to feel. Hoffman (2000) postulates that empathy involves two interacting components: Cognitive empathy entails cognitive awareness of another person’s thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and intentions, and affective empathy is the vicarious affective response to another person, meaning the ability to vicariously experience what the other feels.

One of the most promising routes for promoting empathy is fostering the development of perspective taking, which means putting oneself in the other’s place and seeing the world through his eyes, feeling the emotions he feels, and behaving as he would behave in a particular situation (e.g., Deutsch, 2000; Hoffman, 2000; Selman, 1980). Empathy has been found to be related to forgiveness, concern for others, and prosocial behavior in general (Eisenberg, 2000; McCullough et al., 1998). Moreover, empathy enables one to see members of other groups as humane individuals who can be trusted and who have legitimate needs and goals and with whom it is desired to maintain peaceful relations. Thus, ethnoempathy may be transferred to the view of the rival. It may direct the attention to the needs and suffering of the opponent in the conflict and change the delegitimizing practices. Selman (2003) provides impressive evidence of how schools can develop social awareness toward other group members. This learning illuminates the meaning of conflicts in a new way and promotes understanding and cooperation among different ethnic groups.

Human Rights

Human rights may be defined as “those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings” (United Nations, 2003, p. 3). Human rights as a general concept is concerned with the dignity of the person: civil, political, social, economic, cultural, environmental, and developmental rights (United Nations, 1948, 1966a; 1966b; 1996b). They focus on various specific rights, such as a right to life, freedom of different kinds, security, equality in different domains, nationality, and the prevention of torture, cruel treatment, arbitrary arrest, and so on. The rejection of human rights not only causes individual tragedies but also creates conditions that foster conflicts within and between societies and nations. The main goal of education for human rights is strengthening the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms among the young generation. In general, this line of education requires the development of knowledge, skills, and values that cherish and support the previously noted rights: civic-political, social-economic, and cultural (see Flowers, Bernbaum, Rudelius-Palmer, & Tolman, 2000; Graves, Dunlop, & Turney-Purta, 1984; United Nations, 2003). Achievement of this educational goal requires accepting differences and recognizing one’s own biases, taking responsibility for defending the rights of others, educating others about human rights issues, and critiquing and analyzing information related to human rights (Amnesty International, 1997; Flowers et al., 2000; Fritzsche, 2004; United Nations, 2000).

Education of human rights and peace education in the area of intractable conflict are closely linked concepts that complement and support each other (Bartoli & Psimopoulos, 2006). Human rights education presents the different types of human rights (e.g., cultural rights); explains their importance and the relevance of those rights in daily life, including conflict situations; and attempts to persuade students to behave according to them (Flowers et al., 2000). Human rights education in regions of intractable conflict, in spite of being indirect, can promote more humane attitudes and the awareness of the necessity to behave toward the opponent in conflict in accordance with human rights principles. In addition, the perceived images of societies involved in violent conflict can change as a result of promoting a better understanding of human rights and their importance (Mertus & Helsing, 2006). Increasing the ability of analyzing situations related to human rights can lead to a deeper awareness of the abuses of human rights by both sides (as they often take place), of the costs that the societies involved in the conflict pay, and of the contribution of both sides to the continuation of the conflict. Furthermore, the learning of human rights is supposed to develop a sense of responsibility for defending the rights of other people, including the group of the rival.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution skills refer to the ability to negotiate, mediate, and collaboratively solve problems in the context of conflict situations. In essence, they provide the ability to resolve the conflict peacefully, viewing it as being of a mixed-motive nature and solvable. The goal of learning conflict resolution is to develop the following main abilities and skills (e.g., Bodine & Crawford, 1998; Deutsch, 1993; Jones, 2004; Raider, Coleman, & Gerson, 2000): understanding that conflict is a natural and necessary part of life; becoming a better conflict manager (knowing which type of peaceful conflict resolution method is best suited for a particular conflict problem); becoming aware of how critical it is to the process of constructive conflict resolution to share information about one’s own perspective and to understand the perspective of the other side; effectively distinguishing positions from needs or interests; expressing emotions in nonaggressive, noninflammatory ways; reframing a conflict as a mutual problem that needs to be resolved collaboratively with compromises via negotiation and/or with the help of a third party; and brainstorming to create, elaborate on, and enhance a variety of peaceful solutions. Four main educational approaches were proposed within the conflict resolution learning framework (Bodine & Crawford, 1998): the peer-mediation program approach, in which students receive training in mediation and mediate disputes among their peers (Coleman & Deutsch, 1998; Hall, 1999; Johnson & Johnson, 1996); the process curriculum approach, in which students are taught the conflict curriculum as a separate course (Bickmore, 1999); the peaceable classroom approach, which is included in the core subjects of the curriculum and in classroom management strategies (Levin, 1994); and the whole-school peaceable approach, in which conflict resolution principles are learned and implemented by all members of the school (Avery, Johnson, Johnson, & Mitchell, 1999).

Conflict resolution skills can be seen as one of the central components of peace education (e.g., Johnson & Johnson, 2005). The main concept of conflict resolution education is to promote an understanding of conflict and to assist individuals in developing a nonviolent, constructive approach to conflict resolution (Raider, 1995). According to Deutsch (2005), the key concept of conflict resolution education is “to instill the attitudes, knowledge, and skills which are conducive to effective, cooperative problem solving and to discourage the attitudes and habitual responses which give rise to win–lose struggles” (p. 18). Changing the students’ perspective of different types of conflicts from a win–lose struggle to a mutual problem to be resolve collaboratively is an important component of peace education. It is assumed that the described acquired perspective to conflict resolution will be transferred to the particular situation of the intractable conflict in which the society is involved. It will tune the students to the need to resolve the conflict peacefully via negotiation.

In sum, all the five proposed dispositions are essential in the peace education framework in regions of intractable conflict. Each of them has a unique quality and the potential to contribute to a more peaceful outlook among students that is needed as a platform for fostering cognitive, attitudinal, emotional, and behavioral changes among societies engaged in intractable conflict. It is our hope that the described skills and knowledge develop among the young generation reflective and critical thinking about the intractable conflict and especially about the peaceful resolution of the conflict, open a new way to see the opponent, and encourage them to express the new views openly in the society. Moreover, the achievement of these dispositions among students will foster a more humanistic and democratic approach needed in these regions (e.g., Aloni, 2005, 2006).

One of the most important questions that should be raised following the proposed conceptual framework of indirect peace education is related to the ability of students to transfer their knowledge and skills acquired by the indirect approach to the context of the intractable conflict in which their societies are involved. We assume that such transfers are possible because of the human tendency for consistency and consonance, which leads individuals who acquire humanistic values to act according to these values (Abelson et al., 1968). But we also are aware of the human tendency to use various defense mechanisms to avoid unwanted and unpleasant thoughts and attitudes (Cohen, 2001; Freud, 1966). Several case studies provide an initial response to this question (Lustig, 2002; Van Slyck, Stern & Elbedour, 1999), although there is a need for further research to examine empirically the model for indirect peace education and especially the question of the ability of students to transfer the possible educational achievements (e.g., new dispositions, beliefs, and so on) of this model to the specific context of intractable conflict.

Direct Peace Education

Direct peace education, as noted, can be launched when the societal and political conditions are ripe and the educational system is ready administratively and pedagogically for this major endeavor. Direct peace education refers directly to themes of conflict and tries to change societal beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors related to culture of conflict. Examples of direct peace education are the Education for Peace (EFP) project, carried in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which attempted to transform the lives of students, teachers, and the whole community by confronting the participants with the topics that stood at the heart of the conflict (Clarke-Habibi, 2005). Figure

3.2 presents the proposed conceptual framework for direct peace education, which is discussed further here.

Direct peace education can focus on many different themes that refer to the conflict, rival, peace process, and so on. Its main characteristic is that it refers directly and specifically to the themes of the conflict between the engaged societies and the peace process. We selected as an example five themes that serve to illustrate the possible themes of direct peace education. But we would like to stress that the previously noted themes of indirect peace education do not negate the themes of direct peace education and should be used to complement and strengthen them.

Conflict and Peace

This is a general theme in which topics of conflict and peace should demonstrate, in a concrete and detailed manner, the essence of conflicts, reasons for their occurrence, the different categories of conflict (especially the violent ones), and their results (including genocide, the meaning of wars and their cost, conflict resolution methods, the nature of the peace and reconciliation process, the meaning of peace, the different kinds of peace, methods and obstacles to achieving it, ways of sustaining it, the roles of international institutions in promoting peace, international treaties regarding principles of conduct at wartime, and international courts and human rights) (e.g., Avery et al., 1999; Graves et al., 1984; Merryfield & Remy, 1995).

Conceptual model of direct peace education.

Figure 3.2   Conceptual model of direct peace education.

Particular Peace Process

Teaching this subject, referring directly to the particular conflict, should begin with the description of the violent conflict in which the society was involved and the heavy price it paid and move on to the peace process that started, with its difficulties and achievements, and refer to the differential but dynamic relations between one’s own society and different segments of the rival society. It is especially important to discuss the meaning of peace, present the agreements that have been signed, describe the obstacles to the peace process, and analyze the reconciliation process, which is crucial to sustaining peace (e.g., Fountain, 1999; Galtung, 1996b; Perkins, 2002).

Presentation of the Rival

One of the most important themes concerns the presentation of the rival with whom the society had an intractable conflict (Bar-Tal & Teichman, 2005; Teichman & Bar-Tal, 2007). This theme concerns legitimization, equalization, differentiation, and personalization of the rival. Legitimization allows viewing the opponent as belonging to an acceptable category of groups behaving within the boundaries of international norms, with which it is possible and even desired to terminate the conflict and construct positive relations. This allows recognition of the legitimate existence of the other group with its differences, which may be in the realm of goals, values, ideology, religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, culture, and other domains. Equalization makes the rival into an equal partner with whom it is possible to establish new relations. This requires recognition of the principle of status equality between the groups, a principle that is brought to bear first in negotiations and later in all types and levels of intergroup interactions. Differentiation leads to the heterogenization of the rival group. It enables a new perception of the rival that has hitherto been viewed as a homogeneous hostile entity. The new perception implies that the other group is made up of various subgroups that differ in their views and ideologies. Thus, differentiation also makes it possible to see that members of the rival group differ in their opinions regarding the conflict and its resolution. It provides a more human view of the other group and does more justice to its complex structure. Personalization allows one to view the rival group not as a depersonalized entity but as made up of individuals with ordinary human characteristics, concerns, needs, and goals. This is a process of individuation after a long period of deindividuation and consists of a further step after differentiation. Personalization may be reflected in differentiation on three levels: within an individual, among individual members, and among roles. Within an individual, differentiation refers to the level of complexity of individual perception. Differentiation among individuals allows the acknowledgment of individual differences, namely, to view groups as composed of individuals who differ in appearance, characteristics, opinions, concerns, needs, and goals. Finally, it allows viewing members of groups in different personal or social roles, such as mothers, sons, students, teachers, physicians, peasants, and so on.

History of the Conflict

Under this topic, the history of the conflict should be presented and analyzed in an unbiased way, based also on facts that do not present the involved societies necessarily in a flattering light. In essence, this means that direct peace education demands that both parties reconsider their own past acts and those of the rival. According to Salomon (2002, 2004), the main long-term goal of peace education in regions of intractable ongoing violent conflict is changing the perception of the others’ collective narrative and the beliefs related to this narrative.

The new history within the framework of peace education topics should present in new light the background to the conflict, its development, the causes behind the wars and their results, the price paid by the involved societies, mediation attempts that have failed, the committed atrocities, the violence, and so on (Bar-On & Adwan, 2006; Chirwa, 1997; Gardner Feldman, 1999; Hayes, 1998; Hayner, 1999; Lederach, 1998; Norval, 1998, 1999). These themes should serve as a basis for the formation of new collective memory that is synchronized with the collective memory of the past rival.

New Affect and Emotions

On the affective level, two concomitant processes need to occur. On the one hand, there is a need for a reduction of collective fear and hatred, and, on the other, there is a need to initiate collective hope, trust, and mutual acceptance (Bar-Tal et al., 2007). The collective emotion of hope arises when a concrete positive goal is expected (Lazarus, 1991; Stotland, 1969). It includes the cognitive elements of visualizing and expecting as well as the affective element of feeling good about the expected events or outcomes (Staats & Stassen, 1985). The development and maintenance of hope involves the higher mental processes of vision, imagination, goal setting, planning, and considering alternatives, all of which require openness, creativity, and flexibility (Snyder, 1994, 2000). Developing a collective orientation of hope for peace implies the formation of new goals, such as living in peaceful coexistence and cooperation with yesterday’s enemy. This implies stopping bloodshed, destruction, misery, hardship, and suffering and at the same time allowing for the emergence of peace, tranquillity, prosperity, and growth. It also requires adopting new ways for achieving these goals, such as negotiation, mediation, compromise, concession, and reciprocity (Jarymowicz & Bar-Tal, 2006). In addition, there is a need to create a collective affective orientation of the former rival’s acceptance, and this should substitute for hatred. It denotes a positive evaluative reaction toward the other group, implying at least trust and the intention to form positive relations. These emotional changes are necessary for the establishment of new relations.

Principles of Peace Education

Principles for successful peace education are discussed in the following sections.

Peace Education Should Be Community Oriented

Peace education cannot be separated from the experiences of community in which the school is embedded (Hertz-Lazarowitz, 2004; Jones, 2005). Schoolchildren and adolescents are part of the community in which they live and are greatly influenced by the views expressed in it. It is thus of importance that the schools will reach and involve the community in the program of peace education. This can be done in different ways, either through involving the parents in the schools and/ or going out into the community (for details of the EFP project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, see Danesh, 2006; for a discussion of peace education in Northern Ireland, see Duffy, 2000; for a discussion of the Peace Education Programme in Kenya, see Obura, 2002).

Peace Education Is an Orientation

Peace education can be regarded neither as a separate subject matter nor as a project but must be seen as an educational orientation that provides the objectives and the instructional framework for learning in schools. It must be incorporated into the objectives and curricula of other subjects and be interwoven into their instruction (Harris, 1988; for a description of the EFP project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, see Clarke-Habibi, 2005; see also Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, 2004). Peace education provides a prism through which students learn to view and evaluate topics and issues raised in the various subjects, and through this process they learn to view and evaluate the peace process.

Peace Education Should Begin During Early Childhood

Of great importance is to begin peace education as early as possible, even in kindergarten. The accumulated knowledge in psychology (Devine, 1989) indicates the influence of early learned social knowledge on the thinking, feeling, and behaving of human beings. Early acquired material is not erased, even when alternative knowledge is provided and learned, but remains to be stored in the repertoire and exercises implicit influences on human beings. Therefore, peace education should begin early to provide a new perspective to young children in order to form a new repertoire toward the conflict, the past rival, and new, peaceful relations (see, e.g., Cole, Arafat, Tidhar, Zidan-Tafesh, & Fox et al., 2003; Rosandic, 2000).

Peace Education Should Be Open-Minded

It is essential that peace education be open-minded and avoid becoming simple indoctrination. This means that it needs to remain open to alternative views, with an emphasis on skepticism, critical thinking, and creativity (Harris, 1988; Reardon, 1988). These characteristics are necessary in peace education in view of the objectives, which are supposed to prepare students to function in society. Students, thus, have to learn to weigh and evaluate issues, consider alternatives, voice criticism, originate creative ideas, and make rational decisions. It is the openness of peace education that develops students psychologically and that specifically prepares them to adhere to the values of peace education while providing them with tools for coping with real-life issues in accordance with these values. It also equips them to solve dilemmas of contradicting values that are encountered in real-life situations, but, perhaps most important of all, it facilitates the internalization of peace values and inoculates them against embracing nonpeaceful alternatives.

Peace Education Should Be Relevant

Peace education by nature deals with the problems that concern a society. These problems are high on the public agenda and often the focus of public controversies. It is thus imperative that peace education be related to concrete current concerns and issues of society. Peace education not only must deal with values and behavioral principles on a general level but should also relate them to specific issues and cases that arise in a society. A relevant approach will show students that they are dealing with real-life issues that concern society. In this way, they will be encouraged to apply general values to specific instances in societal dilemmas. Each society has its own specific concerns and issues to which peace education must refer. Therefore, the content of peace education must reflect the unique situation of each society, and programs will need to be tailored to address the relevant themes.

Peace Education Requires Experiential Learning

Since peace education aims to form a state of mind, its principal modes of instruction target experience. Experiential learning is the key method for the acquisition of values, attitudes, perceptions, skills, and behavioral tendencies, in other words, their internalization (Kolb, 1984). Internalization cannot be achieved by merely preaching; its main acquisition mechanism is practice (Galtung, 1996a). Students need to live in the conditions described in peace education in order to internalize its objectives, and they must put into practice the ways of life prescribed for society by peace education for the achievement of its goals (Bretherton, Weston, & Zbar, 2003; Wessells, 1994). Such a learning climate should include conditions that reflect the objectives of peace education, such as tolerance, cooperation, peaceful conflict resolution, multiculturalism, a nonviolent environment, social sensitivity, respect for human rights, and so on (see Corkalo, 2002; Deutsch, 1993; Hall, 1999; Hicks, 1988; Rosandic, 2000).


There is no doubt that peace education is essential for facilitating the extension and stabilization of the peace process and eventually the establishment of the reconciliation between societies engaged in intractable conflict. Peace education in school system is not the locomotive that pulls the peace process, but it definitely can be seen as the tracks on which the train of the peace process can move. It provides one of the main bases for societal change, and without it, it is difficult to establish lasting peaceful relations.

After decades of indoctrination in which schoolchildren in societies engaged in intractable conflict were socialized for participation in such conflict and all the channels of communication and societal institutions were mobilized for the maintenance of the conflict, educational systems alone cannot redirect the society to change its ethos and culture. Remember that the whole educational process was directed to strengthen the rationale for the continuation of conflict, to develop delegitimization of the rival, and to reinforce patriotism in order to secure and maintain mobilization for the conflict, participation in it, and even the readiness to die for the collective.

The peace process needs mobilization of the masses, leaders, mass media, and elites to support the peace process and work hard to change the prevailing beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors that served as the basis for the fueling of the conflict for many years. In this endeavor, school systems play an important role. Through the schools, it is possible to reach the new generations and begin to develop there individuals with a new repertoire that have a new outlook on the conflict, the rival, the peace process, and so on. They will be the future members of society who will be able to look at reality through a new prism that allows them to free themselves from the chains of the past and look to the future with new goals of establishing peaceful relations with the past rival, support the peacemaking process, and hope for reconciliation. In addition, we should not forget the substantial number of school staff who, by carrying the practice of peace education, become agents of change themselves in society.

Clearly, there is no one way of peace education. The goals and the programs depend not only on the conceptions and creativity of the pedagogues but also on the specific needs and the context of each society. The general themes are more or less constant, but the particular content, techniques, and methods must be adapted to the particular cases by the particular educators. They have to select and/or construct the particular programs and later implement them according to the general guiding principles that facilitate the achievement of good outcomes and meaningful contributions to the cause.

Of special importance for launching peace education are the political-societal conditions that can either facilitate or hamper peace education. These conditions have to serve as a compass as to what is possible to do in the society. But the main point that we tried to communicate is that under every condition (even during violence), peace education (in its indirect way) can flourish because its themes also support humanism and democracy, which are well accepted by many societies. It is hard to imagine any objection in most societies to positively valued themes such as tolerance, reflective thinking, peace, acceptance of the “other,” rejection of violence, or human rights. Nevertheless, societies that are ready for the peace process and ripe for the painful cultural changes can go much further and, in addition to focusing on general democratic and humanistic education, can tackle directly the foundations that fuel the conflict, namely, the ethos of conflict, the collective memory of conflict, and collective emotional orientations that underlie it.

Educating the young generation about the rewards and the importance to live in peace is probably one of the most important challenges for human beings wherever they live and for educators who are supposed to implement these ideas and goals. Such education will depend, at least to some extent, on whether the next generation will encounter bloodshed, suffering, and misery, or whether it will embark on a new road that will lead to peace, security, and prosperity.


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