Peace education in conflict zones – experience from northern Sri Lanka

Harris, Simon and Lewer, Nick (2008) Peace education in conflict zones – experience from northern Sri Lanka. Journal of Peace Education, 5 (2). pp. 127-140. ISSN 1740-0201


In September 2005, adult students from Kilinochchi, located in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)?controlled Wanni region of northern Sri Lanka, were awarded University of Bradford, UK, validated postgraduate certificates or diplomas in conflict resolution and peace preparedness. The diploma is, we think, a landmark in peace education when an internationally recognised higher educational course on peace and conflict resolution has been conducted in an area under the de facto authority of a militant separatist group with their full knowledge, cooperation and participation. We argue that in conflict or post?conflict situations, formal tertiary?level peace education programmes are important. This is because they provide local stakeholders with a safe educational space ? one in which they can engage and experiment with the discourse of peace without overtly political implications. Such programmes also help develop peace?building capacity by offering people the necessary knowledge with which to analyse and think about the causes, management, resolution and transformation of violent conflict in a depoliticised, safe and educationally rewarding context.

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