Thursday, January 15, 2009

Human Rights Learning As Peace Education: Pursuing Democracy in a Time of Crisis

International Institute on Peace Education 2009

July 26 - August 2 Budapest, Hungary

Human Rights Learning as Peace Education: Pursuing Democracy in a Time of Crisis

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The International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE) 2009 will take place from July 26 to August 2 in Budapest, Hungary. The institute is being co-organized by the EJBO Foundation in partnership with Global Education Associates with the support and sponsorship of UNESCO.

IIPE was founded in 1982 by Dr. Betty Reardon and faculty colleagues at Teachers College Columbia University and has been held annually in different parts of the world. For 26 years the IIPE has been providing unique short-term, residential, cooperative learning experiences in peace education. The IIPE is not a traditional conference but rather a "learning community" in which the organizers and participants work together to nurture an inclusive, highly interactive learning environment. It is an intensive multicultural and cooperative learning opportunity in which participants learn from and with each other about substantive peace issues and interactive teaching approaches. The IIPE is also an opportunity for networking and community building among those who educate and work for a culture of peace in the host region and around the world.

"Human Rights Learning as Peace Education: Pursuing Democracy in a Time of Crisis"

IIPE 2009 will explore the theme of "Human Rights Learning as Peace Education: Pursuing Democracy in a Time of Crisis." Human rights learning, as facilitated by peace educators is critical, participatory and learner centered. It is intended to prepare learners to work toward the transformation of the existing order of violence and injustice into a world social system based upon the principle of universal human dignity. This principle of human dignity underlies all human rights concepts and norms and is at the core of human rights learning (HRL). HRL emphasizes modes of critical thinking and self reflection that are necessary for internalizing the essential principles of human rights, enabling individuals and communities to become agents of change (PDHRE). HRL begins with "assuming the rights of learners to decide themselves what they will believe and develops means through which the learners can acquire information while forming their own opinions and determining their own course of action about the issues of concern to themÅ in the absence of authentic human rights learning people will not be able to achieve their full dignity."(Reardon)

Such critical thinking is essential to participatory democracy. "Strong democracy" (Barber) is based upon a positive conception of liberty dependent upon self-determination, equality, deliberation and direct participation in the political decisions that affect our personal and social lives (Snauwaert). The realization of human rights can be seen as the necessary conditions and core values of participatory democracy and positive peace. Educating for critical thinking and democracy would include questioning policy that deprives or denies any individual or group of any of their fundamental human rights. Such inquiry is a key process of peace education pedagogy.

The world is now seized by multiple, complex economic and political crises. Many of the policies and political decisions that have contributed to these crises have been justified as furthering "democracy." The global economic crisis can be attributed in large part to the decisions and behaviors of a minority of the human family who control the world's resources and act in short-term self-interest at the expense of the majority and the biosphere. The political crises stem from similar origins, the policies and strategies of those who wield state power without regard to universal human rights

During the year of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the "International Year of Human Rights Learning," it is fitting that the IIPE consider the framework of Human Rights as an ethical vision for just and democratic global and local societies. Human rights learning as peace education offers a pedagogy for an education toward the realization of essential rights, responsibilities, duties and obligations of an informed and engaged democracy. Through human rights learning as peace education, citizens may be capacitated to critically examine and challenge political ideas; inquire into economic and environmental policies; propose and consider alternatives; and work toward a more just global future.

We invite applicants to join the IIPE 2009 inquiry that will identify and assess the social, political and educational structures that pose impediments to the realization of human rights and a culture of peace. We will seek to examine the links between economic and political crises at the local, state, regional and global levels and look for ways to address them through education. Through our common discourse and reflection we will learn together about possibilities for formal, non-formal and informal education to capacitate citizens to pursue democratic change. We encourage all applicants to consider how they might contribute to this exploration from their own experiences locally, nationally and regionally, as formal or non-formal educators, or as advocates or activists. Together, we hope to illuminate the possibilities for human rights learning as peace education to guide us through and transform this epoch of political and economic crisis.


Barber, Benjamin (1985). Participatory Politics for a New Age. Berkeley, CA:
University of California Press.

PDHRE ­ Peoples Movement for Human Rights Learning.

Reardon, Betty. Statement prepared for PDHRE.

Snauwaert, Dale (2005) "Reclaiming the Lost Treasure: Deliberation and Strong Democratic Education" Educational Theory, 42:351-367.

Application Information:

An online application will be available beginning in early January, 2009. Applications must be submitted by March 15, 2009 for full consideration. Notices of acceptances will be sent in early April. If you require an earlier response for funding or institutional purposes please contact the IIPE secretariat at info(at)

Acceptance for participation in the IIPE is based upon applicant's potential contribution to the goal of developing and strengthening peace education and human rights learning in the host region and toward a more global perspective on peace education among all participants. The IIPE attempts to practice the principles of peace education by engaging all participants in our short term learning community in an experience of participatory learning in which all of us can learn from each other. Therefore the IIPE is limited to 65 total participants. The IIPE requires full-time participation from all participants. You must be able to participate in the full period of the IIPE (July 26-August 2) for your application to be considered. If after acceptance a participant finds he or she must leave early or arrive late, their place will be given to another on the waiting list. For full details on acceptance criteria and application procedures please visit the IIPE website.

Participation Fees:

Participation fees cover all onsite costs including food, housing (double occupancy), local transportation and excursions. Participation fees for 2009 are still being determined and should be announced when the application period opens. Participation fees average between $450-650.


The institute operates on a self-sustaining basis in which all participants, including the organizers and presenters pay their own travel and participation fees or find their own funding. The IIPE attempts each year to raise a small scholarship fund for participants coming from currency poor or post-conflict countries. Unfortunately scholarships are not provided for participants applying from the US or Western Europe. Scholarships come only in the form of participation fee waivers (the IIPE does not provide financial support for travel or other expenses). If you think you will be in need of scholarship please indicate so when applying. We hope you might consider a contribution to the IIPE to fund scholarships. Your generosity will help ensure that those potential participants in greatest need of training and solidarity will be able to attend the institute. We would be grateful for any amount you may be able to donate. All donations are tax deductible. You may download a donation form or donate online by credit card at

Contact Us:

The International Institute on Peace Education is globally coordinated by Global Education Associates.

The International Institute on Peace Education

care of: Global Education Associates

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1626B

New York, New York 10115


email: info (at)

tel: 212-870-3290

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