Peace Education in Iran

The project "Promoting direct and structural peace education in Iran" supports civil society actors in strengthening a culture of dialogue and peace through educational means. The project contributes to the creation of structures for peace education at schools and universities in Iran (development of curricula and learning modules) through the implementation of direct peace education initiatives such as workshops, qualification courses and exhibitions.

Timeframe

2015 - 2017

Conflict Setting

Since the beginning of President Hassan Rohani's term in August 2013, Iran's foreign and domestic policy is undergoing a transformation. After the successful conclusion of the nuclear agreement in 2015 and the lifting of sanctions, a large part of the Iranian population hopes for domestic and foreign policy reforms. International encounters and exchanges of experiences as well as qualification courses and in the collaboration on common projects can be supportive of the transformation process. There is a very high demand for expertise in peace education and peace research in Iran. However, there are still no systematic qualification programmes or relevant training materials. Given that about half of the Iranian population is under 30 years of age, young people are a particularly important target group for the project and it is important to identify points of reference for peace educational approaches in the educational system.

Approach

The project aims at contributing to the development of peace education training courses and corresponding learning media. The local partners have recognised the need to change teaching and learning methods towards participation and critical discussion. The project's objective is to support them in developing curricula and training programmes that are context-sensitive and connected to international discourses. Additionally, the project draws attention to successful examples of civil society peacebuilding from other countries and regions through public events in several Iranian cities and, thereby, enhances the visibility of peace efforts of the local partners.

Aims & Outcomes

  • In cooperation with Berghof Foundation and several Iranian universities, the Tehran Peace Museum (TPM) plans to establish a peace academy within its own premises. Courses and dialogue events discussing causes of violence and war as well as paths to peace will regularly take place at the academy. BF advises the TPM in establishing the peace academy, develops educational services and brings the TPM into contact with German universities and professors of peace and conflict studies.
  • A basic course concerning peace education in both theory and practice serves as the peace academy's pilot project. The course is designed for a mixed group of students, teachers, professors and employees of NGOs. The qualified participants will then act as multipliers in their educational institutions.
  • The development of a peace education manual provides a basis for the pilot course and further offers of the peace academy. An initial version is available at the beginning of the course and will be tested and further developed throughout the project. The final version in both English and Farsi will be published in print.
  • Following the completion of the successful pilot phase in Tehran (2014-2015), the exhibition "Peace Counts: Success Stories from Peacebuilders Worldwide" will be shown in other Iranian cities that form part of the network "Mayors for Peace". In cooperation with the Berghof Foundation, young volunteers of the TPM have been qualified as Peace Counts trainers over the last two years. These trainers bring the exhibition to other Iranian cities and initiate discussions on civil society peacebuilding in accompanying Peace Counts workshops.

Key Actors

Young Iranians are particularly open, curious and prepared to commit to peace and non-violence, as previous experiences show. Therefore, the project cooperates closely with young volunteers who plan and implement peace education events. Furthermore, it involves educators and researchers who work in educational institutions. The project qualifies and brings key actors of the education system together and provides them with a space for dialogue on how to develop a culture of peace through education.

Partners

Local partners are the Tehran Peace Museum and the Iranian network "Mayors for Peace"

Funders

The project "Promotion of direct and structural peace education in Iran" is supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with funds provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.

December 2016 – Peace Counts Workshops in Shiraz and Saravan

Peace Counts on Tour in Iran: Previously qualified trainers from the Tehran Peace Museum have conducted two workshops in Shiraz (14th of December) and Saravan (17th of December). The workshop in Shiraz took place at the University of Shiraz and was attended by students. In Saravan, students and lecturers of Islamic Azad University as well as lawyers and town officials took part. The poster about traditional mediation was especially well received by the group.

November 2016 – Course „Peace Education“ in Tehran

A novelty in the Tehran Peace Museum: 22 participants from Iranian schools, universities and the civil society have successfully completed the first course on peace education in Tehran. In four modules, the participants were introduced to basics of peace and peace education, violence and violence prevention, conflict and conflict transformation as well as global citizenship. As part of an excursion, they exchanged ideas for their own peacebuilding activities. The Tübingen Team of the Berghof Foundation and the local partner Tehran Peace Museum will incorporate the experiences made in the course into the existing curriculum developed together over the course of the year. The accompanying manual in English and Farsi will be published by the end of the year for future Iranian trainers.

July 2016 – Iranian-German-Austrian expert meeting in Tübingen

How can peace education be implemented in Iran, and in which ways can international research in peace education and peace studies assist in that? For three days, six Iranian, German and Austrian scientists debated these questions together with volunteers of the Tehran Peace Museum and members of the Berghof Foundation. The participants discussed existing drafts for an introductory peace education course, exchanged plans for a future Peace Academy in Tehran and gave short presentations about their current research and the state of peace education in Iran. The European-Iranian exchange is of great value for the content of future workshops and the project itself: current topics of peace education can be contextualized easier and the network can be used for future (academic) cooperation as well.

February - December 2016: Peace Counts-activities

The Peace Counts trainers of the Tehran Peace Museum conducted and will conduct several Peace Counts-activities with different target groups throughout the year:

  • 2nd of February 2016: Workshop for members of the NGO "Council for Promoting a Culture of Peace for Children"
  • 13th of July 2016: Workshop for additional members of this NGO
  • 28th of September 2016: Workshop in cooperation with the Iranian Foreign Ministry and UNHCR for members of organisations working with Afghan refugees
  • 13th until 20th December 2016: Exhibition in the faculty of Law and Political Science of Allameh Tabataba'i University on the occasion of National Research Week
  • 16th of December 2016: Workshop with students of this faculty

Further activities in Tehran as well as other Iranian cities are currently being planned.

Over the course of the project, a curriculum and a manual for a basic course on peace education theory and practice are developed in English and Farsi.