Session Submission Summary

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Speaking Up: Educating for Civic Purpose on Both Sides of the Wall

Mon, March 26, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 14th Floor, Suite 4 (Room 1401)

Group Submission Type: Panel Session


The facilitators (2) will moderate a panel comprised of three (3) panelist presenters on framing civic learning in divided societies and conflict-affected environments. The panel’s discussant will facilitate the final panelist and pose questions to the researchers on the viability and translation of their work on civic education in the international development sphere. The facilitators and discussant will also focus on reframing civic learning/education at the macro level as an integral part of education programming in fragile and conflict-affected states, as research indicates that political and economic inclusion act to counter violent extremism. The proposed panel format will be an informal discussion between academics and implementers on the challenges and opportunities in approaching civic learning in conflict and development.

Each panelist’s approach will address the framing elements of civic learning, developed by Creative Associates International (Creative), that foster student leadership and transformative change in divided societies and/or conflict settings. Creative’s ‘civic learning in conflict areas’ framework includes peace education, student voice, action civics/community service learning, civic learning, global citizenship education, and preventing violent extremism. Given the lack of emphasis on civic education at the donor level, this panel presents formative and highly relevant research on the applications of civic education to buzz word topics like countering violent extremism (CVE), but also to longer sustaining undertones in Education programming, namely stability, host country adaptability, and youth engagement.

The panel structure (two facilitators, a discussant, and three presenters) will allow for engagement between the theory and the practical application of civic learning activities in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. The implementers (facilitators and discussant) will expand the panel from case studies presented by the panelists to the larger application of civic education using the Creative civic learning framework. The three presenters were chosen to highlight and showcase three discrete elements of the framework; however, due to the decentralized locus of civic learning, there may be overlapping elements within the civic learning framework presented in their papers. The discussant will engage the panelists and draw the audience’s attention to these overlaps to clarify their synergistic roles within civic learning as a discipline and as a tool for intervention. The lack of a unified approach to civic learning among practitioners and academics alike, and even a lack of clarity regarding its definition and terms belonging under its umbrella, allows for groundbreaking consensus-building in the CIES international forum.

Existing knowledge within civic education/learning literature has not yet been used effectively to demonstrate to funding agencies that civic learning interventions are ‘value for money,’ but civic learning applications to education, economic growth, and prevention of violent extremism are undeniable. Drawing from varied contexts (Central America and Southeast Asia), the presenters can demonstrate a global view of civic education in practice, with specific focus on youth engagement and countering violent extremism, namely gang violence. The panel will endeavor to address the contentious issue of the roots of violent extremism and insurgency by presenting research and case studies related to civic learning as a social and economic inclusion method for prevention of these tendencies in conflict-affected, impoverished environments. Given the current political climate in the United States and abroad, this particular panel on civic learning appeals to the burning questions many of us attempt to answer: how can we break down walls without ignoring why they were built in the first place?

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