Education and Nonviolence


What were the main themes covered in the theme group?

On the first day we got to know each other, our interests, our expectations by asking and answering ourselves: Who are we? Why are we here? What is our relation to nonviolence and education? We interviewed Yolanda, Ismael and Violeta, a teacher and two students from Spain about violence or nonviolence in their school: what do they hear and see? What do they want to hear and see? Finally we collected and clustered some ideas: What is the relationship between nonviolence and education, referring to the 'what, how, why, when and where' of education.

On day two we talked about education on - and in - the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis as an example of formal education and macro-level violence. Omar and Ranaan presented their different experiences as a Palestinian and Israeli activist, problems including political influence, and principles of political education (like controversiality and non-indoctrination) in public schools.

On day three we looked - in small groups according to interests of participants - at two aspects of education and micro-level (non)violence: (a) methods of non-formal nonviolence education, especially nonviolent communication and (b) problems of structural violence or nonviolence of institutions of formal education themselves.

 On the final day, the participating African nonviolent educators presented their work in their countries - in South Africa, Malawi, Benin, Ghana (and West Africa) as well as Rwanda. All presentations had in common the stress on of the inclusion of girls and women in (nonviolence) education. The presentation on Rwanda made clear the difference between (nonviolence) education in situations after war and in “peace”. we prepared the report for the market.


What was it that participants brought to the theme group?

As a co-convenor I was impressed that almost all participants were important resource people and even could have been (and at times were like) co-convenors themselves. They brought a broad spectrum of experience in many aspects of nonviolent education (in which I had little or even none). So for example they convinced me that one text book on the conflict in Palestine and Israel I presented as a good example wasn’t so good after all. Also, some managed the double role of interpreter and participant very well.

Main points of discussion

One thread through our discussions was the issue whether formal education institutions were a form of structural violence itself. Although no-one denied that this is possible, all but one (who later left the group) admitted that there are - more or less - spaces for nonviolent education possible within them, too.

Outcomes? Any future plans?
There are no explicit outcomes, but I want to stay in contact to exchange (and publish) resources, perhaps through the counter-militarization website of WRI.




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