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Peace Education Curriculum Development in Myanmar: Seeking Sustainability in Process and Outcome

Tue, April 16, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Bay (Level 1), Bayview B

Proposal

This session will explore the theme of sustainability as it relates to the “Learn and Share Together” project, a peace education curriculum developed in early 2018 as an educational tool for communities in Southeastern Myanmar. Learn and Share Together is a project of People in Need (PIN), an international NGO with operations in Myanmar, as part of their social cohesion program. The overall objective of the social cohesion program is to contribute to the mitigation of the effects of inter-communal/religious violence and the promotion of peaceful coexistence through community development and peace education.

The Learn and Share Together curriculum was developed through a collaborative partnership between two US-based peace educators (Grace Michel and Katie Zanoni), the staff of People in Need in Myanmar (both local Myanmar and international staff), the community stakeholders from various civil society organizations and schools in Southeastern Myanmar, a team of Burmese translators, and a subject matter expert from Shalom Myanmar (a leading peacebuilding NGO). The curriculum was developed for village leaders in several communities in Karen state in Southeastern Myanmar, and for teachers to integrate into classroom learning for children ages 11-15.

This session will discuss the question of sustainability in both the process and outcome of the Learn and Share Together project. Reflecting on the positionality of the curriculum developers as US-based English speakers, it will explore what models of global collaboration and exchange support sustainability within and through the educational space. Specifically, it will also offer lessons learned about the efforts to dismantle north-south power hierarchies and systems of dominance through global collaboration. Considering the question of the cost of an education that focuses on modernity, it will discuss how the project aimed to build the curriculum from a cultural wealth and assets-based approach, honoring indigenous wisdom and local knowledge to support sustainable peace in a conflict-affected context.

The session will also share experiences and lessons learned regarding efforts to build sustainable pipeline of peace educators through a train the trainer/teacher model. It will explore the sustainability of the participatory learning model introduced by the Learn and Share Together project in an educational context that has historically been highly didactic and dependent on rote memorization.

Through critical reflection on the experience of the Learn and Share Together project, the author aims to deepen understanding of how peace education can be undertaken in ways that support sustainability.

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