Research

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Teaching Peace in a Charged Landscape: The Democratic Potential of Peace Education During Colombia's Peace Process

Primary Investigator(s): Michelle Bellino

Funding Agency: Spencer Foundation

Period: 1/1/2019 - ongoing

As Colombia transitions from more than fifty years of internal armed conflict, how will educators engage with students around the complex causes and consequences of protracted violence, and the fragile transition to peace? Negotiating an end to the conflict has polarized society, raising questions about security, accountability for past violence, and the potential for far-left and far-right political ideologies to divide Colombia’s democracy. In contrast to other post-conflict settings, there is a strong national initiative and educational policy context for Colombia’s Cátedra de Paz, a cross-curricular effort to implement peace education, as peace processes continue to evolve. This study draws from a diverse sample of secondary schools in Bogotá to examine how teachers approach conversations about peace, conflict, and justice, as well as how they perceive school demographics and conflict legacies as enabling and constraining these interactions. Deepening our understanding of opportunities and challenges across classroom contexts will inform efforts to better support teachers and young learners in navigating difficult conversations. This study will have relevance to other post-conflict contexts, informing educational reforms, in addition to transitional justice decisions such as integration and resettlement policies that significantly impact the educational sector.