Perspectives on Peace Education in a Multiethnic Society


In today’s multicultural world, education has become a powerful way of preserving and passing along values, and information. However, the formal education system is run by curricula that always has to be re-assessed and revamped in order not to become obsolete. Peace education is currently an engaging educational and sensitization phenomenon that ensures individuals engage in more peacebuilding behaviors than conflict arousing behaviors.

However, the peace education narrative cannot be imported as a curriculum; and has to emanate from the historical accounts, laws and the prevalent local dispute resolution mechanisms obtainable in the country.

In a situation whereby the country is marred in a dictatorship, or its citizens have been historically oppressed in the past; there has to be more effective ways of passing the peace education across without defeating the purpose due to the horrible narratives that govern different peoples and cultures. This study intends to examine the cultural perspectives to peace education and systematically propose a more effective pedagogy to peace education across cultures and ethnic groups.

Background to the study

Peace Education is an important part of the current century; due to the urge to move past having to deal with repairing war inflicted damages that have plagued the previous eras and centuries. This peace education however stems from the fact that disputes have been resolved without violent confrontation in recent times (Murithi, 2008). However, local conflicts have always been present and have been briefly violent including, protests, coups, dictatorial campaigns, massacres, and other forms of conflict.

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This heralds that the local understanding conflict hinges on the history of the emergence of the people and the values that they uphold because of their ability to overcome the challenges posed by the local conflicts and international conflicts that the state or area was encumbered in (Salomon, 2002). This narrative is different across countries and cultures with some countries existing as historical colonies even before the emergence of others; for example, European territories have historical accounts dating farther back than that of the Americas.

These historical accounts also have to be embroiled in the emergence of the role of law and order in resolving disputes and making people behave in a peaceful manner; apart from that the emergence of international dispute resolution courts, arbitration committees, and international non-governmental organizations (Harris, 2008). Before the presence of this, the world has been embroiled in the chaos that can only be responded to by even more conflict.

However so, in recent times, territories continue to invest in military infrastructure to be able to protect themselves and train their soldiers in extreme ways to be able to survive the deep anguish of war even though the current narrative favors peace over war. This is partially due to the waves of globalization and the building of cities that stand to be destroyed and the years of hope that stand to be lost, and the costs of rebuilding a war-torn and destroyed community.

Apart from the drive for peace education, it is imperative that this peace education is not abstract and is as practical as happening in a classroom whereby the teacher intends to install the pedagogy that obtains in that country as pertains to peace and dispute resolutions. The historical accounts however play a role in giving proper perspective to these laws, dispute resolution methods, and peacebuilding techniques. However, raw classroom techniques of the teacher being less authoritarian and validating the contribution of every student can go even farther to instill a peacebuilding attitude in the student (Turay & English, 2008).

This however is not consistent among countries; apart from the fact that the laws are different, the histories are different and consequently, the prevalent local dispute resolution patterns will be different. Even so, in each country, there is the presence of people from different cultures and origins living in that country also trying to inculcate a pattern of peace.

A narrative that undermines a particular culture in historically e.g. the historical account of white supremacy and racism, is going to be perceived differently by people of different cultures. While the account might feel very fulfilling to the hearing of certain cultures, it might feel bashing and loathing to the hearing of the other cultures; specifically, those that were having the short end of the stick historically (Grewel, 2003).

Apart from this, in each community and local area, there is the presence of local dispute resolution techniques that embroil how peace education should be conducted. This study intends to look critically at these issues and examine a way forward for collaborative peace education in a multicultural society; to promote peace even in diversity.

Objectives of the Study

  1. To examine the local dispute resolution systems in different multicultural societies
  2.  To examine the peace/conflict and historical narratives guiding those local dispute resolution systems
  3.  To examine the coherent peace/conflict narrative in different multicultural societies
  4. To assess the sufficiency, generalizability, acceptability and effectiveness, criticism, lapses of these peace/conflict narratives

Significance of the Study

This study is significant in highlighting the obstacles that might hinder the proper propagation of peace education in the world. Even as people get more educated and will encounter different principles of peace education based on historical accounts and locally founded principles, it is imperative to outline the lacunas therein and examine possible unification and probable re-wording techniques and collaborative learning approaches to peace education; par locality; and in different multicultural and multi-ethnic societies. The study will examine available systems in place in the societies under study to see their methods of peace education, learning styles/techniques; and the underlying diversity narratives.

Scope of the Study

The study is only going to cover the West African region for the purpose of the high level of cultural diversity in these countries; due to high level of transnational migration in the area making their population be composed of many ethnic majorities and minorities; and due to the intrinsic multi-ethnic nature of African societies. In African studies, however, the peacebuilding and peace education narrative will also be sought to be studied in different cultures tracing from historical perspectives of wars and the navigations involved resolving them


The study will be done as a case study and the historical accounts will be as far back as centuries; depending on the origins of each ethnic group; however, this study is meant to take a period of 2 and half years; with quality time spent on brainstorming on peace education peculiarities in this subcultures; gathering information locally and internationally about the laws and dispute resolution norms employed in the localities and subcultures in these African settings understudy, and lastly focus group discussions.


  1. Grewel, B.S. (2003). Johan Galtung: Negative and Positive Peace. School of Social Science, Auckland University of Technology. Retrieved from
  2. Harris, I. (2008). ‘History of Peace Education’ in Monisha Bajaj, ed., Encyclopedia of Peace Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2008) Retrieved from ( )
  3. Murithi, T. (2009). An African Perspective on Peace Education: Ubuntu Lessons in Reconciliation. International Review of Education (55), p. 221-233
  4. Salomon, G. (2002). The Nature of Peace Education: Not All Programs Are Created Equal in Nevo & Salomon, eds., Peace Education: the concept principles, and practices around the world, New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, p. 3-13.

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Perspectives on Peace Education in a Multiethnic Society. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved from

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