Temple Rome’s Dr. Maria Ponce de Leon recently collaborated in a project entitled, “The Culture of Peace for the Security of Future Generations”, sponsored by the Abdulaziz Saud Albabtain Cultural Foundation. Mr Albabtain, a Kuwaiti philanthropist and strong proponent of intercultural dialogue and world peace, had envisioned a project in which all actors of the international community commit themselves to introducing special lessons on the Culture of Peace into educational programs and materials. This proposal was welcomed and approved by the General Assembly of the U.N. in September 2017.
As a first step towards the realization of this project, Dr. Ponce de Leon together with two other colleagues, were contacted by the Albabtain Foundation and asked to prepare a “model manual”, to be utilized as a guide for the composition of seventeen manuals for all educational levels, ranging from kindergarten through university. On September 5, 2018, the model manual was presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations at the high level Forum on Culture of Peace, and was accepted by the participants with a special request to add lessons on the protection of cultural heritage.
An international team of academics (from Italy, Kuwait, the United States, Tunisia and Canada) for the drawing up of the manuals was then selected on the basis: experience in teaching and in subject matter; mastery of at least two languages (English and French) besides the mother tongue; and geographical diversity.
Dr. Ponce de Leon was personally responsible for drawing up the first volume of the Secondary Education level, as well as coordinating the compilation and editing of the three other manuals of that level.
The project “Culture of Peace for the Security of Future Generations” intends to offer a meaningful contribution to the field of Strategic Studies, at all educational levels. The Manuals are designed to promote the Culture of peace as a viable and essential component not only within educational institutions, but also with an extended influence to local and international government policy-making agencies as well as religious communities.
The “Culture of Peace project” is envisioned to be introduced in the classroom at an early age and proceed on to all subsequent levels. It is a long term process which should provide both children and young adults with an awareness and respect for human values and rights. In addition to developing the skills of active listening, dialogue and mediation, its proposed courses with diverse levels of competency, include topics such as: guidelines for peace in today’s world; peace and conflict theories; international/ regional organizations; international treaties and conventions; intercultural dialogue: the role of religious institutions and communities in the current geopolitical context; and new threats to peace in the global context: resources, international terrorism, organized crime; as well as numerous others.
The “Manuals” were officially presented to the international community at the “World Forum for the Culture of Peace” on June 13, 2019, at the International Court of Justice (Palace of Peace) in The Hague, Netherlands and are being donated by the Foundation, to instructional institutions in numerous countries, which intend to implement their usage.