To transform our societies to an enduring culture of peace requires concerted action on many levels. We must build on the awareness gained thus far and define clear-cut pathways to move forward. Well-informed, sensitive, and responsive programs are needed to assist all people at different levels.
On the global level, many groups and individuals are working to further the concept of the culture of peace. The Global Movement for the Culture of Peace is an example of an action-oriented coalition that has been successful in generating international attention to the issues, especially in terms of the roles that women and young people can assume. I believe that a global network should be created to connect organizations, groups, and individuals around the world, to offset geographical isolation as well as unite efforts around common goals.
At the national level, advocacy must remain an important goal. Given electoral cycles and changing representation among national leaders, the transcendent nature of the culture of peace must be continually communicated to decision makers. Equally important, nongovernmental networks and partnerships are crucial in broadening outreach to individuals. By integrating the fundamental principles of the culture of peace into coalitions and alliances, more might be able to be realized with the same amount of resources.
At the community level, local-level governance determines policies for those living within the community. It has the reach, authority, and capacity to enact change and can determine the tone and direction for its populace. In addition, it influences others who come into contact with the community, transferring the values and priorities associated with the community.
At the level of the individual, early childhood provides a unique opportunity to address issues that would contribute to transform the culture of war to a culture of peace. Different types of programs or interventions are needed to support this, particularly those which would provide appropriate educational curricula. The events that a child experiences early in life, the education that this child receives, and the community activities and sociocultural mind-set in which a child is immersed all contribute to how values, attitudes, traditions, modes of behavior, and ways of life develop. Early childhood affords a window of opportunity to instill the rudiments that each individual needs to become an agent of peace and nonviolence.
For more information on this foreword, please visit our resource library.
Foreword excerpt reprinted courtesy of the MIT Press.
Following the formal end of the Cold War and birth of the United Nations, the idea of peace grew into something more than just the absence of war or conflict. Learn why early childhood provides a unique opportunity to transform the culture of war into the culture of peace.