Interdisciplinary Inquiry

10/08/2012

Announcing the Global Peacebuilding Center at the US Institute of Peace

The Global Peacebuilding Center at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a new initiative that offers a range of resources for educators – including a Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators and other lessons and activities to help bring peacebuilding themes and concepts into the classroom. When the United States Institute of Peace was created by Congress in 1984, education was at the core of its mandate. Since that time, the Institute’s education and training work has helped shape the field of professional peacebuilding, and now this work is being extended to reach younger audiences through the Global Peacebuilding Center.

Encompassing a public education space at USIP’s headquarters at the northwest corner of the National Mall, and a virtual center at www.buildingpeace.org, the Global Peacebuilding Center is introducing new audiences to the challenges and the importance of peacebuilding. It is bringing to life core concepts in international conflict management, and highlighting the essential skills that peacebuilders use at the local, national, and international levels.

Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of the Global Peacebuilding Center, writes:

There is no doubt that today’s global challenges require the energy and enthusiasm of young people, and that these qualities can be channeled in positive and productive ways. Understanding the ubiquitous nature of conflict and the means to prevent, manage, and resolve it without violence can help equip young people with the attitudes and abilities to become active global citizens. This, in turn, can empower them to play a most constructive role in shaping the future of our world.

Peacebuilding is all about people, and part of the mission of the Global Peacebuilding Center is to bring this work to life for younger audiences, making connections between their own lives and the wider world. The educational programs offered at the Global Peacebuilding Center integrate two multimedia exhibits that tell the story of the many ways in which peacebuilding takes place around the world every day. But more than merely showing this work, the purpose is really to engage young audiences––to get them to think about and talk about conflict and peace, and to learn and to practice core peacebuilding skills.

The Peacebuilding Toolkit for Educators, from which the educational programs are drawn, is a resource that was developed by and for teachers to help bring peacebuilding themes and tools into the classroom. It is based on experiential learning, and uses a range of methods including role-play, small group work, large group work and discussion to help keep students focused and engaged. It helps bridge from the individual and local level to the international level, and encourages a commitment to conflict management and peacebuilding. On the website, educators can access and download teaching materials. They can also join the Educator Network, through which they can communicate with other educators, share ideas and best practices, and engage as part of a larger community of peacebuilders.

The website of the Global Peacebuilding Center, which was activated earlier this year, was developed with a focus on young people and educators and it offers resources and activities on a range of places and issues.  At www.buildingpeace.org, younger audiences can sign up for a Virtual Passport and earn stamps as they complete quizzes on peacebuilding; they can also find places to share their own stories, ask questions of experts, and discover multimedia content from around the world. Educators can find materials for the classroom; a forum to engage with other teachers; best practices and suggested resources; as well as information on USIP’s Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding.

Posted at 11:10 PM

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