In our 30 years’ existence we have explored many ways of educating for peace, working with schools, pupil referral units, school consortia, local authorities, clubs, parks, committees, teams, collectives and groups of people regardless of age or anything else.
Why Focus on Peace?
The skills associated with peace help with a range of issues we face as individuals and as communities
We need individuals with the skills of peace to combat the prevalence of aggression and violence and polarisation in our society:
- Knife Crime against young victims across England and Wales has surged by 69% in the four years from 2014-2018
- Reports of hate crime rose in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote, the overall level was up 20% on the same period in July 2015 and there were spikes in hate crime after the Westminster and Manchester terrorist attacks.
- 100% of those consulted in 2017 (22 organisations or individuals involved in peace education work) cited this as a major problem, citing: disconnection, segregation, echo chambers, divided communities, prejudice, polarised public discourse, divisive rhetoric, narratives of hate and division.
We need to support schools with conflict and developing the skills of peace. In spring 2017, Peacemakers conducted a survey around peace and conflict and social and emotional leaning with teachers from across the country.
- 50% of young people have bullied another person and 43% have been bullied
- 96% of respondents think that social and emotional learning is essential or important to their children and young people. Yet only 33% say they do it well.
- 62% say their schools have a problem with conflict at lunchtimes in particular and 46% think they need more support with dealing with conflict.
To promote Well-being and Mental Health
- Rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in a generation, admissions to hospital as a result of self-harm have doubled in four years and calls to the counselling service ChildLine about exam stress have tripled.
- “The question we should be asking ourselves is what are the emotional and mental health needs of all children and are they being met in our schools?” Natasha Devon, the government’s mental health champion.
- “The promotion of well-being cannot be confined to the provision of PSHE classes. To achieve the whole school approach, senior leadership must embed well-being throughout their provision and culture. ... to allow more time to focus on well-being and building resilience.” Children and young people’s mental health — the role of education - Health Select Committee
These issues show why we have an ever increasing need for peace education skills:
- The need for empathy and the ability to see things from different perspectives where there is so much fear and anger against what is different and ‘other’.
- The skills to be able to listen and to have discussions in an age of polarisation.
- The need to develop self-esteem and resilience, to self-regulate and self soothe.
- To know how we can make a difference when we are in danger of being overwhelmed by systems.
- The ability to be able to think critically in the face of both news overload and fake news.
How Do We Work?
- We work with you - our approach is participative and engaging
- Our workshops are active - we love learning by doing
- We put relationships at the centre of what we do.
All our work starts and ends in a circle. The circle helps:
- people to get to know each other
- more meaningful dialogue
- make things fair
- share responsibility for the work
- lead to better listening
- us to work collaboratively.
From the circle, we'll split into groups or pairs to do activities and skills practise. We allocate plenty of time to skills building, practising what we explore and taking it deeper.
We use games to build skills, especially when working with young people, though not exclusively! Games help us relax and have fun, build relationships and learn in different ways.
We put the development of relationships at the centre of what we do. By focusing on relationships, we develop skills of social and emotional learning, resilience, communication and problem solving skills. These help us to resolve conflicts when they do occur.
When working with a whole system change, we work with you, not doing it for you or to you. Our philosophy is built on a restorative approach.
What is Peace?
A big question! Peace means different things to different people. Peace can be a state of being, a place, a sound or a person. It is often a mix of many things that add up to peace. What is it for you?
Many learned and experienced people agree that there is no one definition of peace. Though many words have been dedicated to trying.
One concept of peace we like and work towards is that of positive peace: the presence of peaceful beliefs and behaviours, cultivating values such as inclusion, participation, justice, equity and equality – as well as the absence of violence and aggression.
Another is from Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of non-violent communication, who describes violence as ‘resourcelessness’ - people resort to violence when they don’t have the capacity or skills to find another response to the circumstances that they find themselves in. Peace is a process of resourcing ourselves better.
We have evolved our own vision of different aspects of peace which looks at cultivating different knowledge, skills and attitudes for developing the aspects of nurturing personal peace, developing peaceful relationships and building peaceful communities.
What does peace mean to you?
- My bedroom
- All our ideas have been heard
- Being on my bike
- Saying nice things to each other
- Chilling with nature
- Everyone included
- Jumping on a trampoline
What is Peace Education?
Peace education is the process of acquiring the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviours to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.
Peace education, or education for peace, is the explicit teaching of those attitudes, skills and knowledge needed for peace. Still pretty broad really.
The General Assembly of the United Nations defines a culture of peace as ‘all the values, attitudes and forms of behaviour that reflect respect for life, for human dignity and for all human rights, the rejection of violence in all its forms and commitment to the principles of freedom, justice, solidarity, tolerance and understanding between people’.
To build this culture of peace, the United Nations has called on every country to ‘ensure that children, from an early age, benefit from education to enable them to resolve any dispute peacefully and in a spirit of respect for human dignity and of tolerance’.
The UK Peace Education Network, which we belong to, defines Education for Peace as founded on the following attitudes:
- Respect for others regardless of race, gender, age, nationality, class, sexuality, appearance, political or religious belief, physical or mental ability.
- Empathy – a willingness to understand the views of others from their standpoint.
- A belief in positive change by individuals and groups of people.
- Appreciation of and respect for diversity.
- Self esteem – accepting the intrinsic value of oneself.
- Commitment to nonviolence, equity and social justice.
- Concern for the environment and understanding of our place in the eco-system.
- Commitment to equality.
Educating for peace often takes place in schools. But peace education can happen anywhere, with anyone. We all need to be part of this vital work to build a culture of peace,
Who We Are: Vision and Values
Our vision is of people working together to build peaceful communities, helping our society to be more peaceful and so creating a more peaceful world.
Who We Are
Peacemakers is the working name of The West Midlands Quaker Peace Education Project and is a branch of Central England Quaker Charities. Established in 1987, it is based in Birmingham situated above the Quaker Peace Hub in Central Birmingham. Quakers have a very longstanding commitment to peace and the work of the charity comes out of this.
Our work is grounded in the Quaker practices (known as testimonies) of peace, simplicity, truth, integrity, equality and the environment.
Peacemakers works for positive peace: more than the absence of conflict but the presence of peaceful beliefs and behaviours, of justice and inclusion as well as non-violence.
We respect every individual and value everyone’s contribution and actively reject discrimination of any kind.
We see education as a means of developing human potential, and healthy relationships as a foundation for learning.
We value quality in all our work and see learning as a lifelong experience. We are always seeking to improve our work - evaluation and innovation is therefore of central importance to us.
We value creativity in responding to the unique needs of each group.
- Our contribution to a more peaceful world is to work with people in different types of communities to create peace through exploring, learning about and practising peace. We have a particular emphasis on working with children and young people, especially in school communities.
- We support people within communities to build, strengthen and repair relationships at all levels.
- We equip them to deal non-violently and creatively with the inevitable conflicts that arise for us all.
- Our work centres on positive peace which is more than the absence of conflict it is the presence of peaceful beliefs and behaviours, of justice and inclusion as well as non-violence.