Towards a Global Peace Education (PEP)
Canadian astronauts who had the opportunity to travel in space, all came up with the same observation. As they looked down on our little planet travelling alone through space, each independently realized that we have no other place else to go and must therefore act accordingly.
Hence, the importance of establishing global peace. Clearly, we need an agreement on global peace equivalent to the Paris agreement on global warming before we ruin our only home. But how long will it take and how long have we got? And how can we use increasing access to the printed word around the world? The first war recorded in human history occurred in the Middle East some 5000 years ago and it appears that we have never stopped.
Role models have obviously played an important part in this. For most of us our parents are our first role models. Around the world people almost universally speak the same language as their parents. Our analysis of the time required for substantial global change must, therefore, recognize the old saying, "Like father like son." Or, perhaps, "Like grandfather like father". Regretfully, global change for peace thus takes more than one generation.
Role models and family values continue to have an important place throughout our lifetime. As we age, our personal horizons gradually expand to include not only family but neighbours, friends, teachers and more. (Sadly, terrorist organizations know all too well how to use this to their advantage.)
As a personal example of generational influence, during my early years in Calgary, Alberta, our family attended the Baptist church but after graduating from university and moving to Peterborough, Ontario, I married into a Presbyterian family and some years later my wife and I had two young children. We began attending a Presbyterian church where eventually I began teaching Sunday school to a class of students of about twelve to fourteen years of age. On one occasion, and much to my surprise, I was requested to deliver the sermon to the whole congregation on the occasion of their annual layman's day.
Wishing to be sincere I carefully selected topics and examples that were close to my own heart and beliefs. Quite appropriately this emphasized how parents act as primary role models. When the service was over I thought I could walk out quietly through the lobby and go straight home but to my surprise it was now full of church members, including the minister himself, all wanting to offer congratulations! I was surprised and still remember that as a special moment in my life.
Another example occurred when one Sunday afternoon I passed through Checkpoint Charlie from West Germany into Soviet controlled East Germany. To say the least, the scrutiny on going in was intensive. Realizing this, I very carefully put my Canadian passport into an inside pocket where I could frequently touch it just to make sure it was still there! Instead of taking it for granted as perhaps we usually do, I began to realize how valuable being Canadian really is. Around the world, many people regard Canada as the best place in which to live.
Over many recent years, my interests have consequently focused on the development of a document called The Global Peace Accord. Nation states that join can use it to document their own description. They can then see themselves as if in a mirror and seek to improve, not only for themselves, but also to encourage other nation states to do likewise. The accord is thus a tool to encourage global peace. A section is being added to this to improve the point-score evaluation for nation states who adopt this.
To do more than just end war, we also need a Global Peace Education Program (PEP) that will actually build peace. New Zealand has already made a start and perhaps we can benefit from their example.
By: Jack Scrimgeour