“While conflict is a part of life, there are other non-violent ways of addressing the conflict that we see. The issues of peace education is to develop these capacities, develop these skills for citizens, our youth and for all our leaders to see that there are alternative non-violent ways of addressing the challenges that we go through,” Dr Sylvester Maphosa, chief research specialist in the governance and security programme at Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) told CNBC Africa.
With AISA’s peace education colloquy underway from the 20-21 November 2013 in Pretoria, the focus will be on using education to build peaceful relationships in the classroom and informal settings.
In the face of escalating school based and community violence, the goal of the forum is to create knowledge, build relationships and have a practical impact on peace building in the country.
Maphosa explained that one of the means in achieving peaceful relations in informal communities is by using traditional moral values, such as 'Ubuntu' which means human kindness, as a tool to build relations amongst people.
“It is important for those communities that are emerging from violent conflict to program for non-formal moral values, such as Ubuntu to build peaceful values,” he said.
Once a peace agreement is signed in a community, a forum is hosted by a number of actors to facilitate and strehgthen the peace building process.
“When we speak of the peace building process, this entails all of the human security elements, including, environmental, health, education, economic, social dimensions and reconciliations. All these issues need to be addressed,” he explained.
On the other hand, peace education cannot be successful without a strong economic structure. Maphosa added that the economic recovery of a post conflict community is essential as it works on strengthening financial institutions while peace education focuses on resolving social challenges.
“Economic recovery focuses on the economic dimensions, strengthening the financial and economic institutions of a country while peace education will focus on the other social dimensions of the citizens,” he concluded.
“There is a relationship between the two. One liberates the other and without sustained economic structure of institutions, peace education cannot be a success.”