Creating Lasting Peace Through Education with Amr Abdalla
Listen to this episode: Duration: 45 min.
In this episode, Dr. Amr Abdalla, professor emeritus and former vice-rector at the University for Peace, talks with Mirian Vilela about his 25 years of experience teaching peace and conflict resolution. He discusses the importance of participatory, interactive approaches when teaching peace and conflict resolution, and how the University for Peace created a space to develop this. To him, the connections between education for global citizenship, peace, and sustainable development are clear: giving people the tools for peace promotes development and prevents violent conflict. While there will always be conflict, education is crucial to creating long-term peaceful solutions and to prevent violence. Amr believes that learning critical thinking skills is key to creating lasting peace. This involves a 360-degree approach that helps the learner to deconstruct assumptions and embrace universal values. He talks about the importance of helping people learn how to deal with conflict to avoid violence. In reflecting about changes in education and cultural differences, he relates an anecdote from his son’s Kindergarten show-and-tell that made him confront the conventional education style that he grew up with and tells an example of when a student made him think differently about violence.
Questions and Topics Addressed in this Episode
- What is the role of education in transforming conflict and building a more peaceful world?
- What are your insights on your experience in education in the field of peace?
- What does critical thinking in practice mean to you?
- What are the similarities and differences between education for peace, education for sustainable development and education for global citizenship?
- How do new educational paradigms fit within different cultural contexts?
- Are methods of education changing in places where traditional systems are more dominant?
- In your 25 years of education, what are the most important things you have learned?
Creating Lasting Peace Through Education
Who is Amr Abdalla?
Professor Amr Abdalla is professor emeritus and former vice-rector at the University for Peace. He is an eminent scholar in Peace and Conflict Studies and has extensive experience as an academic in higher education having taught at universities around the world including Addis Ababa University, George Mason University and the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences. He began his career practicing law in Egypt and later earned a Master of Sociology and a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. He began teaching at University for Peace in 2003, became Dean in 2004, and then went on to become Vice Rector.
In addition to teaching, Amr serves as Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution at KARAMAH (Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights). He also promotes inter-faith dialogue and cross-cultural messages through workshops and presentations. He created the first conflict resolution manual for Muslim communities, founded Project LIGHT, an anti-discrimination project, and established Ahl el Hetta, a community sectarian violence prevention program in Egypt.