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  Non-Violent Conflict Resolution in and out-of-school
Introduction by Antonella Verdiani, Programme Specialist - Division for the Promotion of Quality Education - UNESCO, Paris

“Good practices”, “better practices”, “best practices”… these are words often used in the field of education and in international jargon when alluding to development projects. But what are we trying to say when we employ such words? Essentially we refer to case studies, which may serve as excellent examples for the selection and development of new projects. The idea of selecting, studying and then circulating these "best practices", contributes to the promotion of creative and sustainable solutions to different social problems such as violence in schools. We can say that these patterns construct a bridge between empirical solutions, research and education.

As a privileged observatory of multicultural and social experiences, it is essential that UNESCO’s objectives be widely communicated, adopted and replicated. In order for more schools and vocational trainers to profit from and adapt these practices, each in their context, which in turn give birth to other solutions to face the increasing violence amongst youth.

The fundamental characteristic of these "best practices" is innovation. These “best practices” are often based on the creativity of the participants: they offer new solutions to old problems such as violence amongst groups or individuals.

It is important to emphasize the dimension of creativity here: all these practices prove that their success is based on the capacity to invent and to enjoy creating. The examples presented in this publication reflect the capacity of the actors – teachers, students, educators, but also parents – daring to change or integrate the formal and non-formal educational programmes by formulating interdisciplinary teaching propositions.

As a result, the responses are fresh, unedited and original. Through techniques and educational theory on peace (mediation, non-violent communication, peer mediation), each trainer has experienced and witnessed the miraculous blossoming of youth formerly considered difficult and violent.

It is necessary to go beyond these programmes, to be inter-disciplinary, to have a transdisciplinary vision of creativity, which, as in all active teaching, has a dominant place in these practices; humour also holds an important place.

Humour not sarcastic irony, but the ability to laugh at one-self before laughing at others without offending. In this regard, authors have proposed numerous contributions using courteous derision in order to transform a conflict into an encounter. This project entails learning or relearning how to meet with others in order to share our different cultural, social, political and religious backgrounds…

Presented here is a selection of contributions that were sent to UNESCO in 2001 from numerous countries. In a quest for quality, we have made a selection, bearing in mind the different cultural and social realities, and the final selection is as representative as possible. The fourteen articles come from: West Africa (Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali), South Africa, Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia), North America (Canada, the United States), Asia (India) and Europe (France, Austria, Spain, Finland).

The authors are university researchers, primary and secondary school teachers, street educators, leaders of associations, trainers, animators, children from evening classes, and youth…

All who have contributed are again thanked - they have shown an rare investment to vanquish violence through their enthusiastic response and the quality of their writing. Their daily commitment surpasses their professional sphere…it becomes an ethic of life. These are the peace makers.

In order for their work to get the recognition it deserves, this manual will be diffused throughout the different networks such as the Associated Schools project and the UNESCO clubs: suggestions will be sought from all readers and may be integrated in a supplementary edition.

In order for the practices presented to be qualified as "best or good", specific experts, as well as the teachers and students whose written comments will be requested, will evaluate them based on criteria of innovation, success, sustainability and good management.

In conclusion, as a result of this project, our conviction is reinforced that education for peace and non-violence, as expressed by the educators and trainers in this work and defined by UNESCO, is notably a daily practice, resulting in patience, listening, respect and above all love.

Start date 2003-06-09 4:49 pm
End Date 2003-06-09 4:49 pm




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