XIII World Congress 2003
Education for Peace:
The Best Investment for Future Generations


The Verbania Declaration

XIII World Congress - IAEWP
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Verbania, Pallanza, 16-17-18 May 2003
Delegates from 33 countries supported this Declaration

“The Role of Education in Sustainable Peace
and Human Betterment: a Wake Up Call for a
New Millennium’ Peace Education”









We see the world as many children do: a world with no boundaries, where there is space for everyone and everything.

We live in one world, not in a world for the rich and another for the poor, for one ethnic group and the other, etc. Education is inserted in all societal dimensions with this New Millennium demanding to stop existing violence, environmental degradation, discrimination against women, unequal justice, extreme poverty, and more. Education cannot remain on the sidelines.

We also see as equally important that education contributes to peace and prosperity, to happiness and well-being of all beings and living beings, to the respect of human rights, to participation and empowerment, to diversity of all forms, and to a profound love for life in all its forms.

A New Millennium demands a new approach and commitment to education.

We the participants to The XIII World Congress On Education For Peace, recognize that present education systems have many shortcomings in terms of both content and level and, thus, we propose a new millennium of education for peace, to complement all levels of existing educational systems

We also recognize there have been many important advancements in education with corresponding benefits. Yet, due to the lack of certain aspects of education, or because of misunderstanding of the role played by human and spiritual values such as kindness, love and compassion, there has been a growing gap between generations, with the resulting loss of interest in a meaningful life.

This kind of imprint, that reflects purely material values, needs to be removed. We see all decision makers, in private and public policy, have a major responsibility to remove shortfalls which are growing within societies at large.

Education – Some Of The Missing Elements

From an strategic perspective we must bring Peace Education as a fundamental approach to education as well as one of its thematic priorities in public policy making. The implementation will require the development of good human relationships through friendly relations, both at family and educational levels. This is to say from the very time of conception (in the mother’s womb) until university level. By taking this whole spectrum of life into account, then there will be real hope to find solutions and help all human beings improve.

This extended view of education - e.g., starting from the mother womb - would require future parents to develop themselves to be able to then educate their children. Thus, future parents also need education, over and above taking care of their physical health - without polluted food or environment.

We declare that every human being is very precious indeed and, therefore, our societies have to correct preparations of the future parents to create a good environment for the unborn child. It is not enough to declare that he/she is "my child"; there must also be responsibility education, both on the physical and mental levels in order to give the child the best start.

We are concerned about the high level of violence in many societies. Therefore, we need to avoid violence in whatever form or fashion. Once a person becomes violent, we, as a society, develop many weapons that eventually perpetuate violence against ourselves and our own natural and human environment.

Interdependence: Essential Pillar of Education

We live in an ever interdependence place. What happens in one country affects that country and the rest of the world at the same time.

In relation to the natural environment, we state that, overall, we have so far destroyed it at an increasing rate. Education and awareness creation will play a central role to reverse present trends. The models of human progress have resulted in a significant augmentation of pollutants that, in order to restore the environment to its original balance, will require a different approach and instruments. It is in this respect that we believe that the deterioration of the natural and human environment is directly connected to each individual’s physical and mental well-being.

In this context, we note that because of our mistreatment of animals, we begin to see the results in our own lives. We declare that it is imperative to show them love and compassion, give them a natural environment to live in, and for this we need a new kind of education too.

With regard to the protection of animals as beings and their safeguarding, we acknowledge the fact that there have been many resolutions by the UN, but these need to be implemented correctly. This does not only pertain to rare species but to all animals without any discrimination.

Healthy Living; Human Awareness And Education

We have realized that there is growing fear in our societies concerning a large number of diseases. It is clear that we lack the understanding on how to prevent and/cure many of them. Thus, education is to play a fundamental role. The lack of education causes lots of fear in people’s minds in addition to problems to our physical bodies.

We recommend fundamental changes in strategic priorities to improve existing research and realignment of education towards covering both mind and physical problems. If our societies had the proper and correct education, there would be clear opportunities to remove and solve all such fears. The effects of such fears in our physical body and mind can also speed up the ageing process. So, for this reason, we clearly recognize that, with a proper and continuous education, we may be more healthy and not only slow down the ageing process and live healthier lives, but also benefit from constant rejuvenation throughout our lives, from generation to generation.

It is essential to understand that if our societies decide not to address all of the above issues, we will create additional conditions to decrease and shorten our lives and bring about clear conditions that often cause premature death.

The Notion of Proper Education; Healthier, More Meaningful,
Happy and Longer Life

Attaining Peace. We strongly believe that proper education is the moto to peace education, and to attaining peace in the world. However, we state that developing world peace will not be successful without developing inner peace. Simply said, world peace is not possible without inner peace, individually or collectively.

We affirm that inner peace is the most solid foundation for world peace. For this we need inner peace education based upon the very aim of one’s own social culture-social background.

Peace Investment. Peace education is the best investment in this new millennium. Education must not be defined as an expenditure but, on the contrary, an investment in human development and transformation. We are aware that many societies continue to invest their finances in activities that are leading or are directly feeding violence (arms, chemicals, etc). These pattern of expenditures is harming the well being of everything and everyone on Earth.

Education is the best form of non-violent investment. It is essential to share with the public the need for Peace Education and understand the implications of non-violent investments.

An educated society must be a healthy society. In this respect, and as we already declared above, it is essential that societies develop natural medicines and protect the environment.

Our Children; Toys and the Media

There are many forms of education that are affecting our children. One is toys and the other is media.

Toys. Until now experience shows how inappropriate toys impact children negatively. We must transform this trend and have toys that help the child‘s development with positive imprints, and takes care of all its elements. We need toys that teach different things to avoid negative education of children with wrong means, which are all very harmful.

Media. Children are exposed to many new and very effective forms of media, including television, internet and more. It is clear that media is greatly dominated by economic values and many of its programs are designed void of ethical and moral content. As a result our children are being exposed to values that are indeed violent and out of their cultural context.

The Solution: Education Within a Culture of Peace

One shortcoming in present education - by 17-18 young people have developed with the aim to leave their parents. Education should develop better human relationships and respect; parents must help this process and play an active part in their children’s education.

We note that, presently, both parents bringing up their children with the view to make them leave home and children wanting to go and do their own thing, are creating the conditions for many problems to develop and houses are empty.

Moreover, non-violent peace culture is not enough - we need to integrate spiritual culture and have them grow together - Culture of Peace and spirituality.

New Millennium Brings New Hopes

We duly understand that implementation of the proposals outlined above would require the commitment and recognized responsibility of all actos in every society. Thus, Peace Education and the education reforms that are needed are not only the responsibility of governments. Civil society, religious groups, researches, academics, media, family members, all forms of organizations, private sector, and all others must be part and parcel of the new reform process.

All will require a major revolution in values, attitude and behavior. All the participants at the Congress expressed the hope that with true commitment and responsibilities we can commence a new golden era for every one to benefit from societal processes at the local, national and global levels.

If education is to play a role, and in our view it must do so, it is essential to adopt golden rules that are rooted in the added values of our interdependency, diversity, fraternity and humanistic values to improve both our material and spiritual welfare.

All those responsible in Governments, International Organizations, Parliaments, Unions, and so many more, must unite behind one single hope: Human betterment.

in support of