Education for Peace
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 11/25/2003
The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan has recently submitted his Report to the United Nations General Assembly on the University for Peace.
The report refers to substantial progress over the past year. It has now five MA programmes running in human rights; international law and settlement of disputes; international peace studies; gender and peace-building; sustainable development, natural resources and peace in collaboration with American University in Washington, DC. These are offered at the HQ site near San Jose in Costa Rica, Central America. Of the eighty students many are on scholarship and they come from 33 countries around the world. Most will return to their country of origin with increased expertise and motivation to bring peace and minimize violent conflict. Next year over one hundred students will graduate, and by then there will be additional MA programmes running.
Higher education is one of many ways of helping to bring peace to our tortured societies, but the University for Peace is now being recognized worldwide as an institution that will make an increasingly significant contribution. Among the governments that are assisting or have guaranteed assistance in the near future future with substantial funding are the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and Costa Rica. In addition the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Foundation have assisted generously along with the Philanthropic Collaborative and the Dutch National Postcode Lottery. Much of the support guarantees the operations at HQ in Costa Rica, but in addition the worldwide operations of the University have expanded in Africa in particular but also in Asia and the Pacific and Central Asia with courses being offered in Budapest in Hungary and Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. The University also maintains its position as an important institution in Latin America with, for example, activities in Uruguay and in Colombia. For instance, the World Centre for Research and Training in Conflict Resolution initiated by the University is fully supported by the government of Colombia.
These activities and this support along with the groundwork being laid for large scale distance education has left the University poised to address the root causes of prejudice and hatred through both its graduates and through its network of experts, researchers, academics and partnership institutions.
The full Report of Kofi Annan to the General Assembly (A.58/430, 10 October 2003: 58th session, Agenda item 25, University for Peace) can be viewed at http://www.upeace.org/ga_english.pdf . It is also available in Spanish: http://www.upeace.org/ga_spanish.pdf