National HWPL New Year Peace Educator Meeting
The ‘HWPL New Year Peace Educator Meeting’ was held online on January 14, 2023, with sixteen peace educators from Croatia, Kosovo, Greece, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Pakistan participating in HWPL’s peace education activities. Teachers and professors who have completed peace educator training and are conducting peace education, as well as those who will participate in future educator training, also attended the New Year Peace Educator Meeting.
The event began with teachers who previously received peace educator training introducing the peace education they conducted in their respective countries last year, along with their impressions of the education. They announced their plans for how they would conduct peace education this year.
Dr. Hajdi Xhixha, professor of business and technology, emphasized the importance of peace education for the future of the country. “The Balkan Region has suffered a lot from continuous wars and conflicts, and states of the Region are still suffering from ethno-nationalism conflicts. In addition to this, my presence here with you and also being a peace educator, means a lot for me, and also for Kosovo. Kosovo state needs educated generations with peace culture, with the aim to bring a better future for Kosovo society.”
He expressed his feelings about attending peace educator training. “I have attended the peace educator training during September – November 2022, where I have learnt a lot on how to orientate students and young people to perceive all kind of relations through peace culture. As a professor of political science, after the peace educator training, I think it will be better that our study curricula includes peace culture knowledge.”
Ms. Zeljka Gospočič, an English teacher at Croatia’s Ante Starcevic Zagreb Elementary School said, “What I like about this peace education program is that children learn outside of their books. They learn more about other people, culture, and heritage. They learn why it is important to respect each other and preserve their own. They learn how to be kind to each other, how to be grateful for what they have, and how to respect their teachers and their parents. I am very glad to say there were many students interested in working on this type of project. As I said, we were in a war thirty years ago and I don’t want my children to grow up hating one another. Beyond just the war, I don’t want them hating each other just because we are different. I want them to learn to respect others so they can enjoy and live in a peaceful world.”
In particular, the teachers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are suffering from ongoing civil war, expressed a strong desire for peace.
Mr. Bertin Kabumba Cituli, an English teacher at Horizon 1 High School said, “As you may know, the context of war caused by the M23 armed group in the DRC from the last two decades up to now ties up the stability of the country.
“My country promised to take a commitment to incorporate the peace education of the HWPL in their education curriculum as a contribution to the restoration of peace in the world. It is true; if children incarnate the culture of peace from a young age, it is another way to interrupt drama that could occur if this were not done. I am therefore convinced that we should protect the future generation by feeding the young people and the communities with peace as a legacy for future generations.” He said he plans to spread peace education to schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo that will change the future of children.
Presentations by the more experienced teachers served as inspiration for the teachers who are planning to engage in peace education. The event also included a question-and-answer session for participants to encourage and support each other. The event concluded with the teachers who attended writing a pledge to reaffirm their role and mission as peace educators, and to commit to fulfilling their responsibilities in their respective countries.