July 21-28 2024
The Pedagogy and Peace Politics of Change: Navigating the Tensions Between Tradition and Modernity
Nepal today epitomizes a crossroads of transitions and an exchange of knowledge and culture as it did on the ancient Silk Road, a pathway of trade between East and West. IIPE 2024 aims to be a crossroads of peacelearning for peace educator-activists and scholars where Nepalese participants will exchange perspectives with global participants on shared, diverse challenges and problems. IIPE Nepal invites questions that open new perspectives on global and local issues. All participants will offer their experience to the learning community that will build shared understandings towards adapting for the survival and well-being of peoples and Earth in this time of crises. IIPE in Nepal offers a unique opportunity for incorporating ancient wisdom with present knowledge for peaceful futures: how can these ways of knowing be brought together to better educate and learn for peace?
Nepal: Themes & Issues
In the context of Nepal, we’ll explore political, economic and ecological challenges that also exist globally. Nepal is diverse in landscape, languages, geographies, and ethnicities; strivings here offer a microcosm that mirrors global contexts. Nepal, a federated constitutional democracy since 2015, faces pressures of militarism, autocracy, displaced peoples, human rights violations, competition for resources, culture including gender, as well as pressures of global great power dynamics that exist in all present-day democracies. These challenges, like those in the global peace community, raise questions of how to navigate the tensions between ancient cultures and spiritual traditions and the present economic and political pressures of the modern globalized world. (See the country profile for Nepal (Timalsina et al.) (1) on “Mapping Peace Education” for additional context and an introduction to historical and present peace education efforts in the country.)
At IIPE 2024: Nepal, we will delve into the diverse perspectives of Nepalese and global participants on threats and challenges such as the climate catastrophes that are transforming our geographical landscapes as well as the pressures due to political shifts in great powers that transform the contexts of our realities. These shifts seem to render ordinary citizens helpless. Yet, educating for peace aims to empower citizens to open their minds to the potential of cross-contextual thinking together to generate collective understandings and creative alternative paths for actions.
Peace Frameworks for the IIPE 2024: Nepal Learning Community
IIPE’s intensive experiential learning community offers a rare opportunity for exploring paradigm shifts in our consciousness and deep foundational “truths” about the world. Peace scholarship and learning has been based on the diminution and prevention of violence, as both physical (direct) and structural and psychological (indirect) violence (Galtung (2); Reardon, 1988 (3)). This remains critical. These paradigms reflect a shift in focus from violence (negative peace) towards a more expansive vision that includes creative constructive peace action (positive peace). The following three dimensions of focus offer a conceptual framework for our plenaries, community dialogues and workshops.
- Intra-interpersonal Peace. First, Latin-American sentipensar (Escobar) (4) thinking-feeling is an integrative paradigm shift that has emerged from Latin-American experiences (In Factis Pax, Volume 17 Number 1 (2023) (5)). This is very similar to peacelearning in its intra- and inter-personal, dialogical, empowering, and transformative potential (see note on peacelearning below).
- Justice as a Common Societal Good. Second is a societal, relational understanding of peace as a positive, normative condition based on the presence of justice in a well-run society. “(T)he pursuit of peace entails both an understanding and the application of principles of justice, including rights and duties, by the government and by citizens”, according to Dale Snauwaert (6). “Peace is a basic good, and an ethical good of the highest value. Establishing and sustaining peace within all levels of societies is a basic and urgent imperative of justice” (Snauwaert).
- Holistic Ecological Peace. Third, an ecological peace paradigm (Gerson (7); Reardon, 1994 (8); Wenden (9)) calls for the transformation of human centrism and domination over nature that has come to define the Anthroprocene Era to be transformed through an integrated, holistic, and relational paradigm for peace that sees intersubjectivity and interbeing (Thich Nhat Hanh) as necessary to fulfill the Earth Charter’s conception of right relationships (https://earthcharter.org) (10). The climate threat also presents a clear frame for exploring the tensions existing between indigenous, ecological knowledge and ways of being and the influences of modernity.
Holistic Peace Action. The three frameworks above make contributions to the need for a holistic weaving of peace action that illuminates the multiple and interdependent modes of engaging in change. Traditional modes of political and nonviolent action are necessary, but for many lead to hopelessness as state authorities have learned to diffuse these approaches. Many are drawn to forms of prefigurative politics (Engler & Engler) (11) and pedagogies (Kester et al.) (12), experimenting with new relational (personal and social) and political modes within the shell of the old order. These prefigurative modes often operate in isolation, failing to effectively engage present paradigms. IIPE Nepal will explore transformative peace action, which requires engaging in both modes of action; establishing new ways of being while resisting and confronting injustice within present structures.
Peacelearning and Pedagogical Applications
IIPE invites participants to consider these three relational dimensions – intra-interpersonal, justice as common societal good, holistic ecological – and holistic peace action – as the overarching horizon of learning-action among the diverse residential participants.
The general pedagogical process of IIPE is defined as peacelearning. Peacelearning invites attention to the centrality of learning and is pedagogically grounded in the core values of human dignity, diversity, solidarity, and cooperation. Peacelearning is directed toward both inward and outward change, and is pursued through an inquiry praxis that connects cognitive concepts to the learner’s experience of the world (Jenkins) (13). More specific pedagogical practices are invited from participants and their own expertise. These can include arts-based experiences, conflict processes activities, nature engagement, spiritual, and embodied practices amongst many others.
(1) Timalsina, R., Dhungana, RK., & risal, S. (2022). Nepal. In Jenkins T., & Segal de la Garza, M. (Eds.), In Mapping Peace Education. https://map.peace-ed-campaign.org/view/mapping-peace-education/entry/397/
(2) Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, peace, and peace research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–191.
(3) Reardon, B. (1988). Comprehensive peace education: Educating for global responsibility. Teachers College Press.
(4) Escobar, A. (2020). Pluriversal politics: the real and the possible. Duke University Press. Arturo Escobar emphasizes “sentipensar (and its correlative noun, sentipensamiento) as currently used by activists in various parts of Latin America, to suggest a way of knowing that does not separate thinking from feeling, reason from emotion, knowledge from caring.”
(5) See the special issue of the journal In Factis Pax based on the 2022 International Institute on Peace Education held in Mexico
(6) Snauwaert, Dale (2023). Teaching Peace as a Matter of Justice: Toward a Pedagogy of Moral Reasoning. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
(7) Gerson, Janet C. (May 2023). Generating an ecological peace paradigm. Presentation & Project Launch, International Peace Research Association 2023, Trinidad & Tobago.
(8) Reardon, B. & Nordland, E. (Eds.) (1994). Learning peace: The promise of ecological and cooperative education. SUNY Press.
(9) Wenden, A. (Ed.) (2004). Educating for a culture of social and ecological peace. SUNY Press.
(10) Earth Charter, Article 4-16.f: “Recognize that peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.”
(11) Engler P and Engler M (2014) Should We Fight the System or Be the Change? New Internationalist, 4 June. Available at: https://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2014/06/04/fight-system-or-be-the-change.
(12) Kester, K., Seo, R., & Gerstner, N. (2023). Prefigurative Pedagogies for Working Toward Peace and Justice in Changing Times: Insights from Korea. Journal of Peace Education.
(13) Jenkins, T. (2019). Reardon’s edu-learner praxis: Educating for political efficacy and social transformation. In D. Snauwaert (Ed.), Exploring Betty A. Reardon’s perspective on peace education: Looking back, looking forward (pp. 199–205). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-18387-5_15