“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
George Satayana, philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist
The Vision of the Tenby Schools states – A United World At Peace – Through Education.
I believe that there has never been a more important time than now to treat peace as a major area of importance in education. Sadly, 2015 proved to be the year that saw the highest levels of death, displacement and destruction from war and conflicts in over 25 years. We now live in a time when there are very few remaining veterans from the world wars still living. For many in the Western countries, those people (especially when they held positions of power in their countries) were the voice of restraint, the living memory of the atrocious conditions of war.
Now that the collective memory of the horrors of war is passing away, we’re seeing the rapid rise of nationalist politicians in many countries. These are opportunists who see their route to political power on the basis of dividing people, rather than putting in the intellectually more rigorous work of bringing people together. They are able to peddle their messages of division, jealousy, envy and greed in a climate where people believe, especially in Western countries, that they have the ‘right’ to more, rather than making the connections between personal responsibility, effort, commitment and dedication and accountability for the outcomes in one’s own life. In many Western countries today people are little better off than 20 years ago. However, seeking to raise their living standards they resort to borrowing, resulting in a vast cliff of debt that threatens to tumble down on the society with the slightest negative twitch of the economy.
Recently, the United Nations held a major conference looking at the issues of refugees and displaced persons – a massive issue in the world that threatens to spiral out of control as people flee conflict areas. During the opening of the conference, the UN Human Rights Chief had this to say:
This was a very powerful speech that should have received wider coverage than it did. Take, for example, the following;
“”An epidemic of amnesia is at the heart of this moral collapse in some quarters. Many seem to have forgotten the two world wars – what happens when fear and anger are stoked by half-truths and outright lies. A density of hatred builds up. The pin is pulled. The timer, released. And humanity’s rendez-vous with the ‘demon of world history’ beckons again”
A further article about the speech: CNS News – UN Human Rights Chief Lashes ‘Race-Baiting Bigots’
If we are to see peace in our world, not only at today’s levels avoiding escalation, but offering a better future for today’s children, then education has to be one of the most important aspects in the solution. We truly can ‘educate for peace’, as highlighted in this excellent Huffington Post article;