Arts in Peacebuilding

Hyun Gyu Jeon / CONF 340 / Dec 3, 2019

Along with the other kinds of peace building theories and practices, arts have been used as one of the ways toward building peace. Arts have been used to serve as a means of making people aware of the impacts of violence, expressing their different cultures, providing opportunities to collaborate interculturally, as well as engaging and healing the traumatic experiences of victims. On the other hand, it also has had potential to serve different objectives. For example, it has been used to re-traumatize victims of conflict in some cases by propaganda.

As more and more people find the importance of arts in conflict resolution and peace building, scholars in fields of conflict and peace are contributing to the development of peace education through arts and are drawing attention to its application on a lot of cases. Now, it is not only used by the artists but also by professional practitioners in conflict resolution to capitalize on arts in building peace.

One of the cases of arts in peace building took place in Nairobi. As a result of an informal settlement of leader in Kibera, the post-election violence happened as a form of aggressive protest. Here, the art was not used as a means of peace building in the first place. People began painting and writing slogans, such as ‘Keep Peace,’ ‘Peace Wanted Alive,’ ‘Keep Peace Fellow Kenyans’ everywhere in the city. They believed that such visual expressions were more powerful than their voices. Then, a coalition government was formed at the end of February 2008, following the protest, which ended the violence. Afterwards, all the paintings and writings were left and made people be traumatized of the experience. Under the lead of artists group called Maasai Mbili in Kibera, a temporary art museum, basing the whole area, was created in the city. People came out and expressed themselves in arts for a few weeks after the end of the violence. It later found out that the drawings of the people were about what they wanted to see or do in the future, their hopes, and wishes. Such a harmonious nature was viewed through paintings and writings in the city, which gave them a feeling of value. It worked as a means of healing.

Likewise, conflicting parties can make use of arts in different ways, and it can be carried on by various groups of people, including artists and conflict resolution practitioners in the field. It is true that arts do not always work successfully in all cases of violence and it is not always applicable as well. However, it does have an impact on conflicting parties, and that it is important to note because not only artists and those professional practitioners can use it. Anyone, whether professional or not, can implement arts in cases of conflict, like the way people of Kenya dealt with violence.


Female Education in South Sudan: Through Media and Cash Transfer

Seoyeong Jo/ CONF 340

south sudan girls education에 대한 이미지 검색결과


The article focuses on female education program called Girl’s Education South Sudan (GESS) in South Sudan and how it helps to educate girls and other vulnerable classes who don’t have access to proper education. GESS’s two main activities for promoting girl’s education in South Sudan are radio programe and cash transfers.  Through these two main activities, the article will address how GESS reduces the gender gap in education and helps children to get away from the post-war trauma and to have the right to receive education.

The purpose of this article is to propose effective way to implement programs to regain the educational rights of the vulnerable classes, especially to the South Sudan’s educational officials, teachers, non-governmental organizations and international organizations, as well as countries at all levels. Furthermore, this article shows the direction of how to recognize the importance of female education in the community, against patriarchal system, early marriage, and gender discrimination.

Importance of female education

South Sudan is a country that newly emerged in 2011 and still struggling through the pain of civil war. Trauma by civil war and the collapse of social infrastructure have threatened South Sudan’s economy and exacerbated poverty. With this humanitarian crisis, education for children in South Sudan is not secured. According to UNICEF, more than 70% of South Sudanese children, or which is 2 million, are out of the school. Education for children between the ages of 6 and 13 is free and compulsory education in the country, but the nation’s severe famine, unstable security, and low-quality education system are depriving children’s educational opportunities. Among them, the most marginalized children in education are girls, with about 70% of the female population being illiterate. Also, it is very difficult for girls to even access education facilities due to poverty, early marriage, and cultural/religious norms. Thus, the enrolment rates of girls are lower than for boys of all grades.

I think education is the most effective way to solve the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and it helps to overcome trauma caused by past civil wars. I believe that intensively supporting the education system for all children, especially the underprivileged, will be of great help to the future of South Sudan. There is still a widespread social and religious norm in South Sudan that against female education. However, children where born to an educated mother have a 50% higher chance of survival, and girls who attends school have a lower risk of early marriage, early pregnancy, and sex crimes. Also, educated parents are more likely to send their children to school, which could raise the education rate in South Sudan in the future. Therefore, supporting female education contributes to eliminate early marriage and sexual violence in South Sudan. It can also helps to remove socio-cultural barriers of gender towards education and help girls gain that they hae right to participate in the Sudanese community.

GESS SOuth sudan에 대한 이미지 검색결과

GESS program to support girl’s education

Recognizing the importance and lack of an educational system for female, Ministry of General Education and Instruction of South Sudan implemented the Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) program in 2012. The purpose of the GESS is to provide direct education cash transfer to female students and to seek community change to improve awareness and learning rates for girl’s education.


As a peace education, GESS uses the radio to promote Social and behavior change towards education. The radio program is a 15-minute-long radio show that addresses the challenges of girls and their families face in school enrollment and learning. The radio interviews the female students, teachers, and parents in seven states. The show tells the anecdotes of the hardships that interviewees face and serves as an educational role model by explaining why education is important to women and suggests how to overcome obstacles. In addition, GESS works with the BBC to produce a radio program called “Our School” and broadcasts on 25 local radio stations and two national stations. Our School mainly emphasizes the advantages that students have when they remain in school and advises parents on solving realistic challenges such as how to get to school safely and how to pay tuition. Moreover, Our School actively communicates with local residents by setting up a section to discuss education directly with listeners over the phone.


Another serious education problem in South Sudan is that the student’s school completion rate is very low. Many students, especially girls, quit school mainly for financial reasons, even if they are in the middle of their academic years. Since poverty is a major barrier to education, GESS aims to lower economic barriers for girls to enroll in school and graduate through financial support. Cash transfer is an educational subsidy that is directly paid to girls who enroll in school and attend regularly. All female students at primary and secondary schools who constantly attend school are eligible for cash transfers at least once a year. In 2018, about 200,000 girls benefited from cash transfer. According to a survey conducted by Forcier Consulting in September 2015, GESS’s cash transfer program provided the full amount of cash directly to the recipient student and, in almost all cases, the recipient girl used the money for educational support items such as textbook and notes. In addition, this program helped girls pay for their registration fees.

The greatest achievement of the GESS’s cash transfer program is the establishment of a mechanism to deliver government funds to elementary schools in areas occupied by anti-government militants. South Sudan’s education ministry had no clear way to deliver government funds to anti-government elementary schools. However, cooperation with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the South Sudanese government, GESS has succeeded in providing government aid to elementary schools in anti-government areas as well as delivering UK AID donations. With successful cooperation with the government and foreign aid foundations, GESS is currently engaged in cash transfer activities at more than 3,400 schools.

Ways to use this resource effectively

I believe that radio programs and cash transfers are the most familiar and effective way to implement peace education for girls in a patriarchal society where awareness of education is low and early marriage is frequent. A more effective way for female students and citizens to use radio and cash transfer is for the government and educators to promote GESS and complement radio and cash transfer programs by using the following methods:

Continuous partnership with non-profit organizations like GESS

In order to change the negative perception of female education, the central government and local governments should actively cooperate to implement policies on girls’ education. However, currently education policies in South Sudan are mainly focused on men. The quality of education in schools is also low due to frequent threats from militant groups and post-war trauma. In particular, girls living in rural areas are more isolated from education than any other class in South Sudan. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for the South Sudanese government alone to establish systematic female education policies. Therefore, the government should actively cooperate with non-profit organizations such as GESS to help female students attend school and increase the school graduation rate by directly paying cash to female students living in conflict or poverty areas. The current government is a partner with GESS, but it is time for the nation to establish a solid relationship with organizations that actively implement education programs nationwide.

Regular education conference

There is a limitation in GESS’s radio program since students and parents who live in poor areas don’t have access to listen to the show. Therefore, educators should hold regular education conferences from region to region so that all classes can access the content covered by radio programs. Participants at the conference are students, parents, teachers, and government education officials. Teachers and education officials at elementary, middle and high schools should systematically explain the importance of education, especially for girls. The conference should also include an explanation of how the tuition used, school curriculum, and meal system in school. Education conferences must be held at least once a semester, and after the conference, educators and education officials must take question and answer sessions to communicate with citizens.


In South Sudan, where the education system has been disrupted by a long civil war, GESS provides information on education through the media and gradually change the perception of women’s education in a patriarchal society. GESS also helps to increase the education rate of girls in the poor and vulnerable class through financial support. Furthermore, cash transfer helps to manage the school facilities and improve the quality of education by delivering funds to schools. In other words, GESS’s media program and cash transfer especially fits well with elementary and secondary girls in South Sudan, who have low access to education.

Through these programs, female student will be able to vividly plan and build their own future that was unimaginable in the past. Education allows girls to move away from a patriarchal society, and take their own leading thoughts and actions. Therefore, these two resources, which help directly receive education, can be used to develop the power to enable marginalized women to lead change in the community and further within the country.

The two main stakeholders in this project are the South Sudanese government and educators. Through this article, they can undestand how female students receive education and what kinds of major educational activities being conducted in South Sudan. Through this information, they will be able to establish policies to help and improve GESS’s programs. Also, through the Peace Learner website, they can learn the types of peace education forms, which can be used as a role model for improving education in South Sudan.

You can share additional questions on this topic with your colleagues. Here are some questions I recommend…

1) How does sexism in South Sudan affect education?

2) What do you think is the most effective way to solve the education gap between boys and girls?

3) What is the most urgent issue to address in order to improve South Sudan’s low-quality education?

Resource used:

Photo resource:

Bridges for Peace for Both Jewish and Arab Schools

The role of education programs is perhaps important in conflict-affected countries because it prioritizes a concern for the protection of children and a response to the negative impacts of conflict on their education.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is one of the world’s longest-running and most controversial conflicts. This conflict over last several decades has been about theological differences between Judaism and Islam. The complex hostility between the two groups dates all the way back to ancient times as Israel’s origins can be traced back to Abraham, who is considered the father of both Judaism and Islam. However, tensions between Jews and Arab Muslims have been escalated by the Balfour Declaration which was the public statement by the British government announcing support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. In 1948, Israel was officially declared an independent state, then it marked the beginning of more violence with the Arabs, which led to numerous wars since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Israel and Arabs have little contact or opportunity for positive interaction. This lack of contact often leads to having a tendency to develop negative perceptions of each other. Therefore, it is crucial to help children to engage in peace education programming that provides an opportunity to narrow gap based on different cultures, religions, and backgrounds.

The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, which is the non-profit and non-government organization, has developed a wide range of educational methods that use sports to bring Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestine boys and girls together to overcome fears and break down emotional barriers. The Center has implemented The Twinned Peace Sport Schools (TPSS), which is supported by FIFA, in the Israeli communities as well as in various other locations.

TPSS is the longest-running sport project in the region and has a purpose on brining young generations together in an entertaining environment based on the principles of equality, diversity and respect. This program takes part in the following activities:
1) Weekly training and peace education: Approximately 40 Jewish children and 40 Arab children meet separately twice a week for training focused on soccer skills and peace education. The activities are structured around the ‘Peace Education through Sport Curriculum’ developed by the Peres Center for Peace.
2) Joint training and cultural activities: Approximately five times per year, both children groups will meet for joint activities. They play soccer in mixed team, which helps them develop values of teamwork, equality and mutual understanding.
3) Inter-language learning: Based on lesson plans designed, the children begin to learn their counterparts’ language.
4) Annual tournament: The high point of the year is the “Mini Mondial” which unites all participants of the wider TPSS project. This has to date exhibition matches with teams of Israeli Jewish and Arab mayors, international ambassadors, and Israeli Jewish and Arab premier league soccer players, coming together and playing with the children.

“Playing Fair, Leading Peace” soccer match at a Jerusalem school. Photo courtesy of the Peres Center

This program combines leadership training, “Playing Fair, Leading Peace,” for university students with peace education activities to enhance the impact of sports initiatives. Israelis and Palestinian young leaders are recruited and given training in the proven methods of fostering peace through sports, leadership and dialogue. The students then get hands-on experience, going in to schools and working with Jewish and Arab schoolchildren, who in their “twinned” groups.

The two stakeholders that would be interested in this article would be non-profit organizations and college students. Nonprofit organizations working for the rights of children in the Middle East can use this source when they consider initiating education projects for children, or nonprofits sports organizations can join to the peace education program, adopting curriculums structured by the Peres Center for Peace. College students also could use this source as an example for their studies related to Middle East or education when researching about educational methods applicable to attempts for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

You may use this source more effectively if you visit the Peres Center for Peace’s website, there are other projects you can see that the Center implements. They have developed programs in sports, cultivation of leadership and entrepreneurship, and environment. Furthermore, this resource gives many opportunities for those who are interested in communication, education, and peacebuilding, and also to get involved in projects to become constructive and influential leaders, promoting intercultural dialogue in diverse ways.

Resource used:

Peace Building in Nigeria

Jungmin Kim/ Conf 340/ 11/19/2019

Nigeria is Africa’s Midwest region where made up of a complex race of more than 300 tribes. Historically, Nigeria is full of conflicts, including life threatening, others minor and pedestrian. There has been constant conflict among regional tribes due to differences in the level of development , ethnicity and religion. Conflict management requires the application of resolution techniques to regulate these conflicts; and peace-building seeks to develop constructive relationships across ethnic and national boundaries to resolve these deadly conflicts. The government in Nigeria must address the root causes of these conflicts.


The ethnic-religious conflict in Nigeria is divided into southern, middle, and northern regional conflicts depending on the center of the occurrence, and the conflict also varies with regions. In the case of conflicts in the central part of the country, the conflict has become even worse as it overlaps economic issues with the chronic and daily pattern of ethnic-religious conflicts in Nigeria.Conflicts between ethnic-religious communities usually appear in an intensified form. ( Inequality as the northern region lags far behind the southern region, and land disputes among nomadic Muslims and agrarian Christians are the main reasons behind the deepening of the Sino-religious conflict.)In the north, anger over poverty and discrimination combined with the political ideology of Islam, giving birth to Boko Haram, an Islamic political militant group. The Nigerian government claims to have effectively eradicated Boko Haram in December 2015, but fighting has continued in the northeastern region.In the southern part of the country, the central government, led by the northern Muslim-born president, and local armed rebels are confronting each other.

Path to peace
Peace building can come in form of direct effort which mainly focuses intentionally on the factors driving or mitigating  conflict, in an attempt to reduce  structural or direct violence. The Kroc  Institute indicates peace-building as “the development of constructive personal, group, and political relationships across  ethnic, religious, class, national, and  racial boundaries … to resolve injustice in  nonviolent ways and to transform the  structural conditions that generate  deadly conflict”.  
The U.S. Government and U.S. Embassy in Nigeria work very closely with a number of organizations in Nigeria to protect people and to have respect for human rights. They work with the Plateau Peace Building Agency, by giving grants for the agency’s ongoing efforts to work for peace and dialogue in this embattled state.


Sri Lanka: Empowerment in Youth Education

The war in Sri Lanka has ended but conflict and trauma has not. Many communities are left with war scars — physically and emotionally. But how can we rebuild a country that are broken up by ethnicities, religions and trust issues?

It begins with the youth. The younger generation is not responsible for the past, but they have been greatly affected by it and they also have the ability to heal its effects. Historically, tensions within Sri Lanka were primarily between ethnic differences: the Sinhalese Majority and Tamil Minority. Now a days tensions have shifted towards religious differences. But in order to prevent the same-types of conflict from re-occurring in the future, we must practice both conflict prevention and peace-building practices.

Personally, I believe that rebuilding peace between communities is possible through an educational approach amongst the youth. I would like to propose that schools have some kind of textbook reformation with classes that talk about the recent civil war, even if it may be a little uncomfortable. This aids the conflict prevention aspect. There needs to be an open-space for discussion and understanding why it happened. Focusing less on pointing fingers and more on what caused it. If we can learn to approach ethnic and religious differences, we can learn to be more culturally sensitive and understanding towards each other which prevent arising conflict in the near-future. Religion classes could also help children learn more about each other’s cultural beliefs in a respective manner, that shows there is no right or wrong. There is only difference, but difference is okay and it is possible to live in harmony through mutual respect and acknowledgement.

As for peace-building practices, the funding of extra-curriculars would be very beneficial in improving relations amongst those of different ethnicities and beliefs. This doesn’t have to be limited to only children, but programs should be established for individuals of all ages within the communities. Many children affected by the civil war lost their opportunity for education and employment (Generations For Peace, 2015). Therefore, this would be a great way to help them reintegrate into community building practices, that they were never able to experience due to the war.

The establishment of a community center could help communities be brought together through group outings, sports, art classes, choir groups, etc. For instance, Generations For Peace created a Sports For Peace “programme for youth in.. the worst-affected districts [of] the war” that aimed to “build relationships and encourage interactions among youth of different ethnicities” (Generations For Peace, 2015). Students would have positive experiences with other cultures, contributing to the peace-building of communities in Sri Lanka.

As for stakeholders, I would like to reach out to some non-profit groups that are interested in developing education for World Peace purposes. I would also like to personally reach out to my CONF340 Professor Romano, whom have had much experiences in the Conflict Resolution Industry for guidance and his opinion on the matter.

By creating a strong foundation, it will take some time but Sri Lanka can slow build itself up into becoming a strongly diverse and unified country. We cannot erase the past, but we can build a new future together and that begins with the youth.

[Generations For Peace]. (2015, Feb 5). Youth Empowerment – Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka | Generations For Peace. Retrieved from

Global Climate Change

This posting will speak about the current state of climate change and how it is affecting our world on a global scale. The resource that was used to put together this post was the UN website ( This information is brought to you directly through the United Nations web page to demonstrate how critical this situation is. Not only does this article talk about the affects of climate change on our worlds surface and atmosphere, but it also explains how climate change is affecting our global economies and finances. Climate change is can not be taken lightly anymore and with the proper information, we can all do our part to stop it.

Image result for climate change global issue

This resource is well suited for younger readers such as middle school students and can easily be adapted to any other age group. The subject of climate change is more important now than ever before due to the rise of our population and energy consumption and it is critical that everyone has a working understanding of this problem. Its for this reason that this resource can be used in a formal setting as well as an informal setting. It is also compatible with a variety of community groups such as global activists and university professors. Anyone who cares to understand our global climate has access to this resource.

Educators can incorporate and use this resource very easily throughout their academic career by simply visiting the source and summarizing its information. Simply type the URL into the search or browser section of an internet application and follow the link to this resource. The subject of climate change can be a simple concept to demonstrate and requires little materials and logistics when being explained or lectured on. Useful materials for educating about climate change would be the use of global statistics of the effects of climate change and the use of field studies can also be utilized. This resource can also be combined with other methods of teaching such as adding this subject into a science or environmental class. This method would be useful because it would be incorporated into the agenda of most educational institutions.

This resource can inspire many people to become engaged with climate change and that is the beginning of where we need to be on this subject. The amount of knowledge and skills learned by using this resource are almost limitless due to the nature of the situation of climate change. It would be incredibly engaging for anyone who is studying climate change and using this resource. Conflict resolution would be the most important type of peace education learned from this resource. It would encourage more people to want to act on this crisis rather than just let someone else handle it.

The two stakeholders that would be interested in this resource would be non-profit organizations and journalists. Non-profit groups would benefit due to the fact that this issue can be dealt with without the need for massive funding. These groups can spread the word of climate change and that alone will encourage the population to act. Journalists can also benefit from this resource due to their wide range of audiences. Journalists have the tools to get this message across in a wider and more broad range than any other contributor. However, anyone who is truly interested in making a difference in climate change will find this resource interesting and would be more than willing to spread the word about this crisis.

Image result for climate change global issue

Two Koreas: Road to Peace

  • Abstract and source of information
  • The Division of Korea and the Korean War
  • Efforts to peace: Unified Korean sporting teams and Korea family reunions
  • Obstacles of reconciliation
  • Ways to use this source

Abstract and source of information

This post will provide some information of division of Korea and how two countries are trying to build a peace during the armistice, and factors that interrupt the peacebuilding for not only a students, but also an adults, whose discipline or matter of concern is in international relations or conflict resolution. But this post is also open to various people who engage in other disciplines, if they want to know about the conflict between two Koreas. The words of this post will be narrated in simple words so it is accessible to middle to high school students and even students who have difficulties with understanding English.

Resources used in this post

The Division of Korea and the Korean War

The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also known as the South Korea and North Korea, are one of few divided countries that existing today. After the liberation from Japan in August 15, 1945, the United States occupied the South and the Soviet Union occupied the North, dividing Korean peninsula by latitude 38˚ N, or the 38th parallel. At that moment, the tension of the Cold War tightened which made impossible to reunify the peninsula. In 1948, the South Korea formed its own government, ROK, in Seoul by voting first president, Lee Syungman, and at the same year the North Korea installed Kim Il Sung as the first premier of the DPRK in Pyongyang. Both Koreas were not acknowledge each other’s structure and had ideological conflict, which lead to Korean War or 6.25 War.

In June 25th 2015, under the command of Kim Il Sung, the North first cross over the 38th parallel and invaded the South. As the South Korea was not ready for the war, Seoul, capital of the South, was conquered by the North only in 3 days. As the invasion of the North was confirmed, the United Nation (UN) send UN troops from 16 different countries and 5 medical support countries to help ROK for the war. One famous battle, the Battle of Incheon, led by General MacArthur, made the South to retake the Seoul back and this catastrophic war continued until 1953. This tragedy killed over 2.5 million people and destroyed every city. In 1953, both sides finally made an agreement of ceasefire; however, it is not the end of war but just an armistice. 

Efforts to peace: Unified Korean sporting teams and Korea family reunions

Even in the status of ceasefire, there are few events that led Koreas into peacebuilding: Unified Korean sporting teams and Korea family reunions.

Unified Korean Sporting teams

After the division in 1945, two Korea’s national sports teams had unified under the name of Korea (KOR) and competed in international sports competition, such as Olympics and Asian Games, in total of 5 times. Team Korea used the Unification Flag and the anthem “Arrirang.”

1. 1991 World Table Tennis Championships

2. 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship

3. 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (women’s ice hockey)

4. 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships

5. 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games (Canoe)

Korea family reunions

The Korean War not only divided the land itself, but also it divided families. In August 2018, family reunion was held in the North Korea. Dozens of families from both North and South made an emotional reunion. They met their relatives at least 65 years. Over the years, North and South have arranged 20 family reunions in past 18 years. 

Obstacles of reconciliation

There are some factors that interrupt the reconciliation between two Koreas. Most of the people can think of missile and nuclear issue from the North Korea is the biggest issue. However, the biggest problem is the attitude of the North. Their egocentric, self-righteous, and stubborn behavior definitely prolong the conflict. Recently, in August of this year, North Korea shut down peace talks with South Korea after the North launched two ballistic missiles. It is certain that if the North Korea don’t mind to change their arrogant behavior, the conflict between two Koreas will last forever.

Ways to use this source

             This post can be a resource or study material for readers who wants to know about the situation between the South Korea and the North Korea. Moreover, readers should learn that a peace doesn’t happen immediately. There are dozens of struggles, efforts, and variables that can change the whole situation. 

Author and references of photo used

Juyoung You (Student in Global Affairs B.A., George Mason University)

This research has been made for the course CONF 340


Migration from North Africa: A land of opportunity for Africa, an uninvited guest to Europe

CONF 340 / Myungjin Choi / November 5, 2019


Migration is one of the most popular movement that has been widespread around the world. There are many different reasons for the migration such as to find work, education, avoid politics and culture. Particularly in Africa, there are massive population movements; displaced people and labor migrants across national boundaries from the African continent to the Europe caused by poverty, violent conflict and environmental stress. However, many European countries are not willing to allow the African migrant and immigrant workers to join their countries who are mostly the poor people attempting to improve their lives. They think that African migration causes negative influence to the international and capitalist development in Europe. On the other hand, some European historian think that African migration can be beneficial to the Europe that labor exporting movement can improve the economic changes. Under the UN Development Programme (UNDP) report, interviewing 1970 migrants from 39 African countries in 13 European nations, many African migrants did not move to Europe for the job; instead they wanted to earn better lives from the developed countries because they did not have enough food, water, shelter, medicine and education.


The large scale African migration started around 200,000 years ago due to the technological innovations that caused the increase of population and their expansion to the urban areas. For example, 15,000 years ago in Egypt and Sudan, with their development of cultivation using the way of mechanized farming, damaged environment by reducing arable soil and causing desertification to spread. Climate changes also have been cause for migration that drought has forced inhabitants to leave many locations throughout the continent because of their poor agriculture and water scarcity. After the end of WW2, some European countries were economically booming because that local workers could not fill the vacancies and labor reservoirs were limited. Therefore North-Western European governments headed to Africa to find solutions from the migrants. During the 15th century, the Portuguese first arrived on the West African coast for the slave trade and were soon followed by the Dutch, British and French. The slave trade rapidly developed European economies and commodities while destroying opportunities for economic and political development in Africa. Famous historian Walter Rodney viewed slave trade was beneficial to the European economy, saying that “Europe has developed by under developing Africa.” Furthermore, there has been a concept of migration in the past, but it is different from the current concept. While the number of migrants now increases due to the civil war, food and water shortages, in the past, Europeans forcibly took and colonized many slaves as they occupied Africa. Thus, if it was a forced migration in the past, it is now a trend to move first to find a better lives. Currently, many North African immigrants are crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. And this issue is considered to be a very central issue among countries in the European Union, including Italy, France, Germany, Hungary and Malta, with different opinions on migration. While Italian officials think that North African Movement as economic migrants, many other EU states considered it as war refugees.

Economic Migrants vs. War refugees

In July 2019, newly elected and re-elected members of European Union Parliament has reviewed EU’s foreign policy to find a compromise throughout the meeting, which includes the issue of irregular migration of North Africans to European borders. This meeting has been took place at the fortified coastal city of Birgu in Malta after Italy’s new coalition government agreed to open one of its ports to a second NGO boat carrying 182 migrants from North Africa. This has been the most complicated and sensitive issue faced by EU policymakers beside the Brexit. While some think that African migration was absolutely beneficial in the past from the labor opportunity and expanding market, in recent days, many EU members think that migration is limiting job opportunities to their national people, fleeing violence, economic decline, persecution and their sizes are expanding tremendously. On 2015, they said, “Europe is longer experiencing the migration crisis.” It is common that most African migrants coming to Europe are desperate people who suffer from poverty and warfare and they are most likely the refugees. They must be repatriated.

Thus, this migration issue has caused serious controversy between the countries in the European Union. Germany and France strongly opposed Italy’s acceptance of North African refugees and migration. Italy has issued temporary residency permits to migrants, stressing the importance of European and African solidarity. However, other European Union countries said that if they continue to accept migrants from Africa, more people will continue to come and damage the European people in economy and employment.  

Speaking at the annual Atreju’ meeting in the Italian capital Orban said: “if you are willing to repatriate immigrants, we will try to help with repatriation. Shared distribution, not. Shared repatriation would be very good.” Oppositions rejected the idea migration can lead to cultural enrichment, arguing integration fails and warned migration brings “public safety problems.”

Due to the undecided policy from European Union on migration, Europe is struggling with rising levels of migrants from Africa. There are different views existing in the Europe upon the African migration that some agree with migration that it helps labor shortage and commodities in Europe, which helps their economic survival. On the other hand some disagree with continuous migration and illegal immigration that if it starts to accept, it will continue to accept and it will have a lot of negative impact on the rights and employment opportunities of the European people. This argument among European Union member state is still progressing toward a more standardized EU immigration policy.


The Singing Revolution: Music for Independence

Josselyn Rodas | CONF 340 | October 28th, 2019

When we think about the word, “revolution”, we usually paint a picture of a momentous event with loud expressions and fists raised up high. We don’t typically think of a music festival in this context. For example, when we think of the word “music”, it can connote a range of emotions whether they be of happiness or even hardship but not necessarily a revolution. When would we relate a political revolution to music? Well, in June 1988, Estonia created a relationship between music and a revolution; known as the “Singing Revolution”. Estonia has had a history of utilizing music as a coping mechanism for its citizens. Dating back to as early as the 1800s, music festivals were held that were filled with double entendres in the lyrics during the era of the U.S.S.R, eventually becoming the Soviet Union. Music gave Estonia a platform and a voice to express themselves amongst one another through songs and in unity. It was the Singing Revolution in the 1980s that allowed Estonia to create their own revolution. Through five long nights of singing for their independence from Soviet control, Estonian’s sang their songs of protest until their goal was achieved. Estonia gained their independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991 through music; a nonviolent protest.

Courtesy of
Statue of Gustav Ernesaks – Director of Estonian Male Choir – at the Song Festival Grounds

The Estonian Singing Revolution is an example of a nonviolent protest that can be a resource for everyone to learn from. Utilizing nonviolence for protest, and in this case by means of music, is applicable to people and communities of all ages. Although it can be implemented in a variety of different educational settings, it is most suited for settings of practicing nonviolent protests but can also be implemented in classes that have the ability to touch on the history of peaceful protests. Because nonviolence practices are not limited to age, it can be useful to younger audiences and adults. Educating the youth on nonviolence through history and with relatable examples like music, can serve as a successful tool to inform formal classrooms about nonviolence.

Educators can implement this source through nonviolence educating workshops. This includes teaching what nonviolence protests are and practicing it. By discussing with classrooms what different forms of nonviolence practices exist and learning the historical significance of these forms of protest, the example of the Singing Revolution is a helpful resource that shows a new method of nonviolence. I believe it is important to show that nonviolent protests are not done in just one way. They can include a variety of practices and the Singing Revolution is one of many forms of expressions applicable.

This source is supported by nonviolence peace education. The Singing Revolution was a protest done for raising awareness through solely singing; without the use of force in any physical way. It is supported by this form of peace education because of how it was conducted and the type of practice it used to create a protest. Students engaging with this source can gain skills of nonviolent practices, knowledge on peaceful protests, and find new tools to apply to their own ideas of peaceful protests. I believe this source will allow students to view peaceful protests in not only its definition but in a relatable aspect. It is important to have learners be able to not only be educated on peace education but also allow them to explore what peace education means and can mean.

Two specific stakeholders who may find this source and my post beneficial include nonviolent protests educators and nonprofit organizations. Nonviolence educators can use this source as an example to their classrooms when teaching about the history of peaceful protests and the many methods applicable to protesting nonviolently. Nonprofit organizations can organize workshops that support teaching nonviolence practices like in ways such as the Singing Revolution.

Historical events such as the Singing Revolution serve as great examples that peaceful protesting can be conducted in more than one way and still be just as effective. The Singing Revolution serves as a form of protest that shows audiences that their voice can be heard by singing their hearts out which can lead to something as groundbreaking like attaining freedom and gaining independence.


Women’s Rights in Oman

Hwarang Kim | CONF 340 | October 21, 2019

Evening view of Muscat, Oman


Oman is a beautiful country located in the Middle East. On the world map, it is right next to UAE (United Arab Emirates). Since I spent my childhood there for several years, I have grown up under Oman’s culture. With my personal experiences and online resources, I would like to share some stories and introduce a hidden aspect that visitors do not easily face. Hopefully, this article provides general information of Oman and ongoing problem under the iceberg.

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Many countries in the Middle East are fairly wealthy with plenty of oil. Oman is an Islamic country and Arabic is most spoken language. Unlike other neighboring nations with gun shots and bombings, Oman is like an oasis in the desert. Conflicts can never be seen rather it is just too peaceful. However, Omanis suffered from the dictatorship of previous Sultan, Said Ill bin Taimur. Thanks to new leader, Qaboos bin Said al Said, Oman became a country as it is now. He took over his father in 1970 and still maintains his position. Since 1970, the economy has grown so fast under his hands. Citizens respect him in many ways that his achievements are being educated in schools. Qaboos bin Said has a very good relationship with Queen Elizabeth II that his children are off to the United Kingdom for education. There were also times where she visited Muscat, Oman. Tight bonds with UK is another component for Oman’s security and economy.

“Everyone in this nation is equal. There isn’t any difference between big and small, rich and poor; for equality mandates, everyone to be siblings under the umbrella of social justice.”

– Sultan Qaboos of Oman

Under the iceberg

Visitors or newcomers of knowledge in Oman does not know about Omani women. They may be ordinary and satisfied with their lives in such a peaceful country, their rights and belongings are rather “missing”. According to the government of UK, women have to cover all parts of their body excluding their hands. On the other hand, men are more free to wear in public places. Men are also allowed to marry up to four women. This journal will handle gender-based discrimination, especially in the case of women.

Women can only be married to one man. If they chose to divorce or re-marry, they lose their child custody. In contrast, men still holds custody of every child being a “legal” guardian. This is unfair and not acceptable in other countries. Furthermore, there are no laws that mentions prohibition of neither domestic violence nor marital rape. Thus, sexual violence or harass frequently occurred (Wermuth, 2016).

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Picture taken by me (2009) – 2 women dancing in my home

Living in Oman was such a new experience and a culture shock as I am born between a Korean father and mother. On the weekends, there is nothing wrong with seeing a men walking in front and three wives and kids following in a mall. There were also times where three to four wives would shop together to purchase fruits and ingredients for cooking. Since I have grown up, appellations between wives and kids are a rising question.


Government under Sultan Qaboos is reinforcing laws for a better nation. They also need to set a focus to gender related laws to be more stricter. This will allow men to behave less violent against women. It is an opportunity for admirable Sultan Qaboos to make its nation a better place for both men and women to live. Perhaps, Oman could be a perfect nation to reside. Other than discrimination issue, I have never countered any problematic barrier.

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Picture taken by me (2012) – Salalah desert

Ultimate goal of this article is to introduce a topic that people never thought about. The means of people include former teacher, community worker, non-profit organization, journalist, or even students like me. It would be satisfactory to me if this resources could contribute one’s understanding or to be strengthen by suggesting additional implementations.

Learning gender equality is significant part of peace education. I have a strong faith in the future of gender difference. It is important to accept difference between a man and woman. Therefore, we must respect each other for a better community. To successfully understand gender equality, one must have knowledge, have positive attitude, and implement it in real life.

In conclusion, whatever the issue is in a global world, I believe there is always a solution for peace-building and it is our ultimate goal for the world to maintain a ‘perpetual peace’. I hope this blog helps both students and teachers specifically because I may be a great source for you to get to know my personal experiences. For professionals in this field, I may only be part of a source since I do not owe any paper. To think deeper on this topic, I have prepared some questions:

Oman is one of the peaceful countries in the Middle East, why do you think it has maintained its security for a long time?

Gender inequality is an another topic to write a whole paper about. If you were to state just one reason for its effect, what would it be and why.

If you were to suggest a possible resolution for gender equality in Oman, what would it be?