Seeking Peace in a Pandemic

This article is part of World War “V”: The COVID-19 Pandemic, a collection of all CNS COVID-19-related articles.

May 22, 2020
Masako Toki

The following is an excerpt of an analysis originally published by Inkstick Media.

Appreciation to all educators is surely enhanced, as parents struggle to homeschool their kids, and gratitude for expertise and thoughtfulness grows. I cannot help citing my favorite quotation by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: “…education, is quite simply, peacebuilding by another name. Education is the most effective form of defense spending there is.”

Teen boy wearing a paper surgical mask, looking frightened

Used with permission by Inkstick Media, Source: Gabe Pierce

As we struggle to visualize a post-coronavirus world, the task we face is nothing short of peacebuilding. Achieving this will require an explosion of cooperation, driven and propelled by new depths and scope of empathy, an understanding that what affects someone on the farthest corner of the planet from me, affects me, too, whether it’s a burgeoning, contagious virus or the equally contagious plague of violence.

In my work, students learn more than just about the horrors of nuclear war. I’ve witnessed first-hand how education directly cultivates empathy among young people. Annan’s successor, too, called for establishing “more education and training opportunities… in order to empower young people to be a force for change and disarmament.” This call by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, issued exactly two years ago this weekend, should have even more resonance today, when change and empowerment to effect it is needed more than ever.

Continue reading at Inkstick Media.

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