DEFENCE EDUCATION DIPLOMACY FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE AND SECURITY
The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) network of defence universities, institutions and colleges can be harnessed to provide cross-sharing platforms for the common syllabus to study peace and prevention of conflicts, research and joint teaching opportunities as well as academic and administrative staff mobility programs. These programs are envisioned to produce an entwined mesh of academic scholarship among ARF members for networking, alternative means of communications, confidence-building measures and mutually beneficial knowledge and skills sharing to continue enhancing ARF’s efforts in building peace and security in the Asian region and the wider world. Defence education can serve as a potent instrument to serve defence diplomacy. This year’s theme reflects these aspirations. There will be three sub-themes with each having an invited panel of speakers to deliver their thoughts on topics related to the sub-themes.
Defence Educatiobn Diplomacy for Sustainable Peace and Security
Peace education gained prominence after the Second World War when education was considered to be a principal means to unite people towards sustainable peace given that traditional diplomacy was inadequate to respond to international conflicts. Peace education gained impetus in 1999 with the adoption by the UN General Assembly of UNGA Resolution 53/243 that sets the program of action on the culture of peace, involving, among others, the strengthening of education and training in promoting dialogue, consensus building, conflict prevention, crisis management, peaceful settlement of disputes and post-conflict peace-building. The fostering of a culture of peace in institutions of higher learning is also part of the agenda. Even though, a universally accepted definition of peace education is yet to be formalized, it is commonly understood as a process of “empowering people with skills, attitude and knowledge to create a sustainable environment and a safe world,” and the philosophy of teaching people nonviolence, love, compassion, and reverence for all life.” The main goal of peace education is to prepare people with the competencies to resort to non-violent and peaceful alternatives of resolving disputes. Predicated on the premise that conflict cannot be eliminated, peace education attempts to empower people with the know-how to manage conflict peacefully, thereby creating a climate for durable peace. Nonetheless, peace education has not generally been incorporated into the mainstream of professional military education. Peace education is largely viewed as antithetical to the essence of the military as an instrument of organized violence, and given that military personnel are trained for war as a way of maintaining peace. It is therefore understandable that many believe peace education runs counter to professional military education as the latter is aimed at mastery of military art. This situation could, however, hamper efforts in promoting a culture of peace to supersede a culture of violence. The 25th ARF-HDCIUM accordingly presents the opportunity for the nurturing of a culture of peace in the military if peace education could be factored into the curriculum of professional military education. As peace education is not “pacifism education,” it could complement conventional military education by fostering an orientation to strive for peace apart from imparting the knowledge, skills and attitude to perpetuate it. Moreover, defence diplomacy could indeed be enhanced when military personnel are committed to preventing violence and utilising non-violent ways of resolving conflicts. This sub-theme panel welcomes papers to discuss these related issues.
PEACE EDUCATION IN PROFESSIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION AS A PATHWAY FOR INCREASING THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN PEACEBUILDING OPERATIONS
Contemporary security is comprehended solely not on military but political, economic, lawful, psychological, and technological issues in a holistic approach. Military education on peacebuilding should be based on conflict analysis and socio-economic development that are sensitive to the dynamics of local conflict contexts. If military intervention is to be contemplated, the need to plan for a post-intervention strategy is also of paramount importance. Military intervention in peacebuilding efforts is one instrument in a broader spectrum of tools designed to prevent conflicts and humanitarian emergencies from arising, intensifying, spreading, persisting or recurring. The consolidation of peace in the aftermath of conflict requires both diplomatic and military action within an integrated peace-building effort to address the various factors which caused the conflict and mitigate the risks of it erupting again in the future. The enhancement of military knowledge on concepts such as international peace operations, humanitarian principles (neutrality, independence and impartiality), civil-military relations and peacebuilding efforts are crucial for building knowledge and expertise to deal with complex emergencies. The role of education in peacebuilding in post-conflict settings could play a stronger role in the peacebuilding architecture of the UN system. This sub-theme panel welcomes papers to discuss these issues and propose ways to enhance this critical aspect to build and instill knowledge and skills for peacebuilding efforts by the military within the ARF members and later share it within the global community via the UN.
ENHANCING COLLABORATION AMONG DEFENCE UNIVERSITIES/ COLLEGES/ INSTITUTIONS FOR THE INFUSION AND INTEGRATION OF PEACE EDUCATION
This sub-theme panel will discuss building sustainable cooperation, coordination and collaboration in implementing peace education efforts in joint research, funding for research, and lecturer and staff mobility programs. These efforts will build academic scholarship and sharing of best practices of peacebuilding based on theories, models and approaches used by past and current UN missions. There is a distinctive role for research that generates new knowledge and insight into longer-term peacebuilding and conflict prevention initiatives. Peace education, as a component of peacebuilding processes, is premised on the conviction that educational activities, broadly understood, constitute valuable tools for promoting nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution and for building cultures of positive peace. Some of the joint research areas envisioned are peacebuilding and sustaining peace programs, partnerships for capacity building and training, and the protection of civilians. The ARF HDUCIM network can also initiate mobility programs in which academic staff in member institutions can conduct exchange lectures, visiting lecturer programs and research fellowships. As all academic institutions also rely on its administrative staff to run its daily operations efficiently, staff mobility programs such as short attachments for administrative officers among ARF HDUCIM members will enhance their knowledge of best practices, new skill sets and more importantly build peer-ship and friendships beyond borders. This web of academic and administrative staff linkages will provide another layer of communication for sustaining peace and security in the region. This panel welcomes presentations deliberating these matters.
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