The Huffington Post recently featured an interview with Dr. Jamshid Damooei, Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting and Director of the Center for Leadership and Values at California Lutheran University. Dr. Damooei previously completed a study of the Peace Education Program, finding that for participants the program resulted in “a tremendous improvement with regard to believing that feeling peace is a possibility.”
Dr. Damooei discussed the tremendous value of peace education in the interview. Here’s an excerpt:
Could you please elaborate on the impact of the Peace Education Program around the world?
Peace education is an effective way of learning to coexist with one’s fellow members of society. I like to think that using a peaceful approach is within our instinctual capabilities as human beings. To find peaceful solutions to our problems is to strive for balance in what we look for in our lives. For many of us, reaching peace requires introspection, which is very important in supporting our personal, familial, and social lives. It is hard to imagine that someone without inner harmony could be an instrument of peace for their community.
However, on a functional level, using a peaceful approach is essential in discovering some of the most profound principles of humanity. There is a direct relationship between social justice and peace. Opting for a diplomatic resolution to the problems that we face in our life is not a mere fantasy, it is the outcome of learning to use peaceful methods in dealing with one another. It helps us to develop positive relationship with others. It enables us to develop social skills, realize the choices we have in our lives, discover our inner strengths, become hopeful, and feel contentment regardless of changes in our living conditions.
Currently, the focus on peace education primarily comes as an element of correcting the problems we face in our political and civil lives, which are very important but discordant. Nonviolent struggles for change have proved repeatedly to be the only method for sustainable peace. Our apparent inability to live in peace and harmony with our community and environment has changed the continuation of life on Earth as we know it. Our non-peaceful political environment continues to bring us to the verge of a nuclear disaster more often than we ever imagined not long ago. More than ever, we desperately need to learn and teach others how to protest and ask for change in no other way than peaceful and non-violent resistance.
There are several peace education programs for young people or adults who are in correctional facilities, in addition to some used to heal long standing political problems that separate people from one another. More recently, many schools and colleges are paying close attention to principles of peaceful resistance. However, we do not have to resort to teaching peace only when we are faced with dire problems and severe strife. It should be an inseparable part our curriculum in every school, staring from kindergarten all the way to university.