The Education, Conflict, and Emergencies SIG has two Highlighted Sessions and a Business Meeting at CIES2019:

Business Meeting

Monday, April 15

10:00 AM-11:30 AM

Hyatt Regency, Street (Level 0), Grand Ballroom A

Achieving Humanitarian-Development Coherence in Education: Three Donor Perspectives

Monday, April 15

10:00 AM-11:30 AM

Hyatt Regency, Bay (Level 1), Seacliff B

see below for description

Expanding Educational Frameworks for Peacebuilding: Evidence from Colombia 2016-2018

Wednesday, April 17

1:30 AM-3:00 PM

Hyatt Regency, Bay (Level 1), Seacliff

see below for description

Highlighted Session:

Achieving Humanitarian-Development Coherence in Education: Three Donor Perspectives

Monday, April 15

10:00 AM-11:30 AM

Hyatt Regency, Bay (Level 1), Seacliff B

 

Crisis and conflict contexts have become more complex, urbanized and protracted, and typically involve multiple, simultaneous stresses and shocks from climate-related hazards, conflict and criminal violence, forced displacement, and/or pandemics. These contexts also witness political and economic instability, and host governments challenged with governance deficits and corruption. As a consequence, humanitarian and development communities are increasingly challenged to be fit-for-purpose in these environments. Growing caseloads and timetables stretch the under-resourced humanitarian system. High-risk and volatile operating environments hamper effective development partner engagement and the ability to address underlying vulnerabilities and causes of conflict and crisis. 

 

How to achieve more coherence and alignment between the humanitarian and development communities has long been debated. The issue recently reached the top of the global policy agenda at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016. A principal call was to shift the focus from delivering aid to ending need more effectively and sustainably by working collectively and coherently, so that humanitarian action reinforces development gains and development assistance addresses vulnerabilities and reaching those furthest left behind. This requires distinct ways of working at the levels of policy, practice, systems and tools:

 

● to act early and preventively without waiting for crises to occur; to reinforce rather than replace national and local systems; 

● to strengthen coherence and collaboration among humanitarian, stabilization, peacebuilding, human rights and development actors on the basis of comparative advantage; 

● to go beyond the notion of quick onset emergency work, and require longer-term actors to capably work in the absence of predictability, stability and robust institutional partners; 

● to pursue context-specific approaches that reinforce local systems and build community resilience to shocks in a manner that transcends institutional boundaries, and; 

● to underpin these efforts with flexible and innovative financing arrangements and partnerships. 

 

The education sector is uniquely placed to advance coherence and alignment between humanitarian and development policy and practice. Education in emergencies, and its links to child protection, supports access to safe, relevant and quality education and the promotion of psychosocial wellbeing of learners and educators — which offers foundations for recovery, rehabilitation and development. Moreover, education serves to strengthen the resilience of children, families and communities affected by crisis and conflict. Investments into longer-term education programs play a vital role in helping all sectors of society understand disaster and climate risk, reduce vulnerabilities to natural hazards, and prepare for crises. Relevant and quality education can counter the underlying causes of violence and foster inclusion, tolerance, human rights awareness and conflict resolution – fostering the longer-term effort towards cohesive communities and peaceful societies.

 

Currently, several donors have recognized the need for better understanding of, and strategies for, humanitarian-development coherence in the education sector. This panel will share perspectives from USAID, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Union: both how they understand the issues, and how they are addressing the need for improved coherence.

Highlighted Session:

Expanding Educational Frameworks for Peacebuilding: Evidence from Colombia 2016-2018

Wednesday, April 17

1:30 AM-3:00 PM

Hyatt Regency, Bay (Level 1), Seacliff

 

The current state of affairs in Colombia blurs the line between war and peace. Simultaneous to the signature and the implementation of the Peace Accords between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia witnessed the escalation of warfare between the national army, the left-wing guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN), paramilitary-mafia networks and FARC dissident groups. In 2018 alone, 124 human rights activists and community leaders have been assassinated across the country for defending issues related to victims’ rights, land ownership, environmental protection, among others (El Tiempo, 2018). Teachers have also received a growing number of threats and have been victims of violence and intimidation (El Colombiano, 2018; Semana, 2018). The country is oscillating between the continuation of war-minded policies and the transition to peace. This takes form, for example, in the defunding of the peace process (including a suite of transitional justice measures), the dismantling of government institutions devoted to defend victims’ rights, and the return of drug policies inspired by the war on drugs,. 

 

The workings of the education sector echo some of these turbulent circumstances. Even though the Peace Accords presented education as (1) a social development strategy for rural areas, (2) a means to guarantee the reintegration for ex-combatants and (3) an opportunity for the reconciliation of the parties affected by the armed conflict, they did not include a cohesive educational peacebuilding strategy. This gap goes in hand with the mushrooming of isolated educational strategies oriented towards peace. For instance, the Ministry of Education designed peace education learning materials (Cátedra de paz), yet did not include a program to train teachers and implement it in schools. It also created a new citizenship training program (Plan de formación ciudadana), which avoids the use of the term ‘peace’ to bypass polarization and guarantee sustainability. Historical memory is just one of many purposes included in peace and citizenship education mandates and has generally depended on efforts from the National Center for Historical Memory (CNMH) and other civil society actors. A new truth commission has adopted pedagogy as a key pillar but struggles to gain legitimacy given the political environment. While drug policy reform is seen as a crucial aspect of peace, school policies concentrate on measures to tackle micro-trafficking and drug consumption, establishing little connections with peacebuilding goals. The lack of a cohesive strategy for educational peacebuilding limits the country’s potential for achieving social transformation and sustainable peace.

 

To gain insight into the role of education in Colombian peacebuilding, this panel draws from the overlapping fields of Education in Emergencies, Transitional Justice, and Peace and Human Rights Education. We will explore the complex relationship between education, conflict and peacebuilding. To do so, we tackle the following questions: What are the possibilities for educational peacebuilding in Colombia's current political landscape? And what are the conceptual contributions and limitations of 'education and peacebuilding' as a guiding framework through which to read Colombia’s current situation? 

 

We answer these questions through four empirical studies. Based on semi-structured interviews with a wide range of actors, the first contribution explores the production and appropriation of peacebuilding-oriented educational policy. Through the study of a school located on the Colombian-Venezuelan border, an area heavily affected by war, it shows how flawed policies have the potential to be appropriated when they respond to local needs and interests. The second paper draws from data collected through focus group with students in urban schools in the Colombian Pacific; it explores how discourses related to citizenship and peaceful coexistence education foster individual and de-politicized understandings of violence that curtail youth engagement in historically-informed collective conflict transformation. The third paper discusses the understudied relationship between drug policy and educational peacebuilding. It explores the landscape of educational drug policy initiatives addressing this crucial factor for violence in Colombia, illustrating its ambivalent, often contradictory, and largely ineffective character, as well as its articulation with other educational peacebuilding initiatives in the country. The last contribution addresses the significant role that historical memory plays as a pedagogical effort for peacebuilding in Colombia. Based on interviews and questionnaires with teachers, it explores their efforts to incorporate historical memory while participating in a teacher’s network for memory and peace sponsored by the National Centre for Historical Memory (CNMH). The study of these teachers’ practices illustrate the particularities of historical memory as peace education, and the possible motivations behind teachers’ involvement in peacebuilding despite difficult conditions of insecurity, low remuneration, and rather vague curricular peace mandates.

 

Peace and security are key components of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations. This panel will explore the potential and limitations of current frameworks for peacebuilding through education via a specific country case, Colombia. It invites further reflection on how educational systems intersect and coexist with a wide range of actors and institutions such as transitional justice, drug policy or rural development, traditionally analyzed as separate. 

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