Many (urban) areas in Europe suffer from structural inequalities and/or often dysfunctional integration policies. The resulting tensions have intensified the fear of difference. The erosion of trust particularly affects strongly migrant communities and the schools within them. How can schools and the communities surrounding them engage in the kind of sustained dialogue, integration and peacebuilding that is so urgently needed?
Over the past years, we noticed that traditional approaches to peace education seemed to fall short of proposing adequate strategies.
In an attempt to support schools to engage in sustained dialogue with the broader school community so as to improve the wellbeing of pupils, the climate in the schools and living-together in the wider community, a consortium of six partners brought together by the Evens Foundation launched Learning Communities for Peace.
This European project, funded by Erasmus+, aims to support primary schools to build their own unique peacebuilding strategy and become hubs for peace within their community. The project was launched in November 2016, with the first partners meeting in Sweden.
The operational work to identify, develop, test and evaluate Learning Communities for Peace strategies, steered by 5 primary schools in Croatia, Greece, Sweden and the UK in close collaboration with the partners, forms the core of the project. This phase, which lasts until June 2018, is being monitored by researchers from the University of Cambridge.
After this experience the partners will work together to develop a set of intellectual outputs to share the project experience with policymakers and other primary schools that have an interest in working with the broader school community.
The six partners involved in the project offer a combination of experience in peace education and community-building strategies, and in research/higher education and practice.