(19 October 2017) The annual Georg Arnhold Symposium Preparing educators for peacebuilding in violent conflict has been organized this year in Florence, jointly by the Georg Eckert Institute and UNICEF Innocenti, 16 – 18 October 2017 to explore methods for supporting and empowering educators working in situations of highly escalated conflict, widespread violence and of transition from war to peace, and to contribute to sustainable and positive peace.
The Georg Arnhold Symposium’s main objective is to provide a venue for a global dialogue on violence, conflict and post-violence settings, affecting all societies both in the North and South, and for constructive responses to violence in the educational system taking place at the personal, organizational, and societal levels.
“It is important to build a global dialogue about the role of education in conflict situations around the world” said professor Giovanni Scotto of the University of Florence and lead organizer of the Symposium, “to overcome the stereotype that conflicts and conflictual situations are mainly in the South.”
The gathering offered an opportunity to share insights and review case studies coming from the direct experiences of the participants. For three days the group of researchers, street educators and activists discussed and shared experiences from different parts of the world, highlighting the importance of locally developed knowledge, models, and strategies to address violence with education.
“It is important to adhere to and start from the reality and experience of individuals,” continued Prof. Scotto. “If we want to build a sustainable peace in conflictual situations. There are different ways of experiencing violence, each of them requiring a different kind of answer.”
According to the conference organizers understanding the training of educators working in settings of acute violence and conflict, and supporting their work are essential steps towards developing better educational responses to armed conflict and violence as well as for building sustainable peace.
The Symposium aims to highlight the importance of locally developed knowledge, models, and strategies to address violence through education, and also to build a community of practice on education in peacebuilding. The ultimate objective is to strengthen the ability of both international and local peace educators, learning from local wisdom, experiences and resources.
Peacebuilding is a research topic which deserves close attention for the implications it can have on the lives of young people and for the role that young people can play in sustainable conflict resolution. In 2015 UNICEF Innocenti dedicated a full edition of Research Watch to Youth, conflict and peacebuilding, and in May 2017 organized the 15th global symposium on the Contributions of Psychology to Peace jointly with the University La Sapienza in Rome and the International Union of Psychological Science.
The Georg Arnhold Symposium is one of the three activities that are managed annually by the Georg Arnhold programme, in addition to a Summer School and a Professorship by the Georg Eckert Institute.