Promoting the Culture of Peace is through Peace Education

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury

Former Under-Secretary-General & High Representative of the United Nations

(Welcome letter:Issue #52 – February 2008)   

Anwarul Chowdhury
Anwarul Chowdhury

As we continue our journey into the first decade of the twenty-first century, we cannot but realize the paradox existing in the level of development reached by today’s world. On one hand, through the ever-widening globalization process, an irreversible trend toward a global village has been established, while on the other, divisions have increased. Disparities and inequalities have over the years only augmented causing the world to enter into a new era of insecurity.

Global efforts towards peace and reconciliation can only succeed with a collective approach that is built on trust, dialogue and collaboration. Flourishing of the culture of peace will generate the mindset that is a prerequisite for the transition from force to reason, from conflict and violence to dialogue and peace. These call for, as never before, an integrated approach based on education for peace, human rights and democracy.  For that, we have to build a grand alliance amongst all, particularly with the proactive involvement and participation of civil society and their efforts like the Global Campaign for Peace Education.  I have been particularly impressed by the immensely valuable resource packet of the Campaign on “Learning to Abolish War : Teaching Towards a Culture of Peace”, that shows us that a true culture of peace can be achieved through peace education.

The most significant way of promoting the culture of peace is through peace education. Peace education needs to be accepted in all parts of the world, in all societies and countries as an essential element in building culture of peace. Peace studies in all educational institutions must be incorporated as part of their curricula. Peace studies must be an essential part of our educational process as reading and writing.

The international network supporting the goals of the Global Campaign for Peace Education must receive our continuous support. Never has it been more important for the young generation to learn about the world and understand its diversity. The task of educating children to find non-aggressive means to relate with one another is of primary importance. The participation of young people is very essential. Their inputs in terms of their own ideas on how to cooperate with each other in order to eliminate violence in our societies must be fully taken into account.

The worldwide efforts for spreading peace education constitute the international community’s contribution to the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010), declared by the United Nations and drawing on its 1999 Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace.

The work for peace is a continuous process. It is heartening to see the progress that has been made on peace education but we have a long way to go. As we enter the final years of the Decade, we need to give peace education a higher profile and greater attention. The Global Campaign’spassionate work in spreading peace education, therefore, deserves our whole-hearted support and encouragement.

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury
Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations
27 February 2008

 As Ambassador of Bangladesh to UN, Anwarul Chowdhury played a significant role in bringing heads of government to the Hague Appeal for Peace conference in May 1999, and got the Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice for the 21st Century issued as a UN document. He pioneered the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; first, as President of the Security Council in March 2000 he issued a ground breaking Presidential Statement on the significance of the role of women in peace making; and then, together with Namibia and Jamaica, he saw to a unanimous adoption of the resolution in October 2000.

 Ambassador Chowdhury also spearheaded a pioneering initiative at the United Nations on culture of peace which resulted in the adoption by the UN General Assembly in 1999 of the landmark “Programme of Action on Culture of Peace.” He also initiated the declaration by the UN GA of the “International Decade for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).” Ambassador Chowdhury actively promotes the Global Campaign for Peace Education through his frequent speech making.