Educating for Peace
We believe a community can be united in a common ambition to build peace while still being a group who may hold similar, diverse or disparate ideas. Our community, created through a purposeful commitment to bringing together those with different experiences, is strengthened by our diversity. On local, national and global platforms, we seek to engage with and impact positively on individuals and communities who hold similar aspirations.
In developing our peace education strategy, we identified three interrelated strands in which the College has capacity to effectively develop, deploy and share resources so as to fulfil our responsibility to our mission:
Understanding of Peace
At UWCSEA, our mission requires that we find avenues for all members of our community to understand Peace as something that includes concepts such as social justice, equality and human rights, and to be more than the ‘absence of conflict’. As such, our Learning Programme and curriculum seeks age-appropriate ways in which to seed and nurture these concepts in our students.
Promotion of Peace
We aspire to promote Peace in all of our contexts - for the individual, our communities and our global societies. We are embedding structures to support learning for Peace and engaging in systematic implementation across the College.
The Initiative for Peace is one way in which we hope to reach our aspiration to build peace in local and global contexts. The first steps towards this goal has been the creation of an IfP Toolkit which gives guidance and support for educators and others who wish to adapt the model for use in their own context and communities.
IfP is secured for the future through the Kaira Karmakar Memorial Endowment at UWCSEA, established in memory of our beloved student and friend. Hers is a lasting legacy of peace through compassion, friendship and focused action.
Partnerships for Peace
A natural extension in our ambition to create lasting and sustainable peace is to develop meaningful links with like-minded organisations that are in pursuit of the same goals.
An example of how we hope to extend our reach can be found in the ongoing relationship we have with Amala, an organisation dedicated to providing access to education for displaced youth.
The story of IfP
Since 2001, the IfP has empowered young people from Kashmir, and in Timor Leste, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Cambodia and the refugee camps in Mae Sot Thailand to fulfill their potential as agents of change.
Initiative for Peace (IfP) is an action-based programme that offers UWCSEA students the opportunity to actively promote peace international understanding and reconciliation in areas of conflict. Every summer, a group of students from UWCSEA arrange conferences in post-conflict areas.
Founded by a group of students and staff to promote peace in global, national and regional conflicts, the IfP is now an annual event, which takes place following a year of preparation. The event brings together young people and youth leaders from across the divides caused by conflict in order to create friendships and nurture ideas that can ensure a stable, sustainable and long-lasting peace in the area.
UWCSEA students spend a year in planning and preparation, with a focus on peace building and creating conference programmes that prioritize the main issues relevant to the host countries they will be visiting. Our students receive training from specialists in the fields of public administration, conflict resolution and negotiation with the aim of equipping delegates with the tools to empower them to lead and sustain their own initiatives after the conference. Ultimately, we hope that these delegate-led initiatives will contribute to the prevention or foster the resolution of conflicts within their communities.
In this way the success of each conference is determined not by what happens there but by what happens afterwards. Examples of how this works in real life are many:
- following the 2009 conference in Timor-Leste, two participants, Leonardo Rosa and Salles de Sousa, were inspired to set up a project to reforest the hill behind their community
- East Campus graduate Kimheang Chham ’16 was a student facilitator in 2015, and went on to found IfP Cambodia during her Gap Year, when she helped to organise and facilitate an IfP event with East Campus students in June 2017
- an student IfP facilitator in 2018, UWCSEA alumnus Casper Øhlers ‘19 went on to run an IfP conference in his home town of Roskilde, Denmark in 2019 supported by 8 other UWC students and alumni