March 20, 2021

An Education in Peace

Throughout March, three students who were eager to develop their interest in Beliefs and Values beyond the classroom, attended a series of consultations on the topic of ‘What is the relevance of Peace Education in today’s world?’, with fellow Quaker Schools, Ackworth, Bootham, Sidcot, and Mount School York.

Alongside other young citizens, Anna, Eliza and Leander in Year 9 were each given the opportunity to contribute their ideas towards developing a Peace Education curriculum.

In the consultative sessions, students discussed the different approaches to peace education and listened to the voices of those involved in peace education work.

Leander reflected “I expected the conference to be a discussion which brought together ideas about peace, and how to achieve it and if that is even necessarily possible.

I really enjoyed hearing other people’s views on the topic of peace since it expanded my own personal views since my ideas were regularly challenged. This allowed me to see peace in a very different way, for example that it is something that must be constantly chosen to achieve and act on in every aspect of my life.”

She continued “To achieve peace in a society, the people in it must be at peace with themselves because if there is inner conflict with yourself, that conflict and negativity might start to affect everyone else meaning peace has not been achieved.

Before the conference I thought that peace could be defined, but afterwards I realised that there are so many personal views on the topic that it cannot really be defined. This means that I am very interested in listening to more personal views on peace, meaning my attitude has changed.”

Ryan Maze, Beliefs and Values Teacher, commented “The peace conference offered students from across the country the opportunity to engage in a dialectic about the nature of peace and the means by which it can be achieved from within the pacifist context of Quakerism. Students and teachers alike were able to hear expert testimony, share their beliefs in small groups, and then present their conclusions to the entire group. The peace conference was engaging, informative, and professional. In a time of ever-growing ideological pluralism and political polarisation, peace education (and, ipso facto, this conference) is entirely relevant to today’s world – perhaps more so than ever before.”

After reporting their experience back to the School, Anna, Eliza and Leander are now looking forward to joining the third and final Peace Education consultation, due to take place in April.

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