USC tutor's new book gives peace a chance

Friday 5 June 2009

5 June 2009

University of the Sunshine Coast academic Dr James Page wants “peace education” to get higher priority at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of schooling in Australia.

Dr Page believes people can learn how to strive for peace both in their personal lives and between countries.

The 55-year-old former high school teacher and United Nations representative, who’s been widely published in journals and taught overseas, has released his first book for the general public.

The book analyses the reasons for peace education and how it can be implemented.

Dr Page, who tutors USC students in Communication and Thought, said literacy was a good analogy.

“We aren’t naturally literate so we need to be taught to read and write. We aren’t naturally peaceful so we need to be taught the techniques of peaceful interaction to reduce conflict in our personal lives, our environment and internationally.”

The book has an endorsement from the Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura. Dr Page worked with the global educational organisation as a member of the Australian delegation in the International Year for the Culture of Peace Taskforce in Paris 10 years ago.

“Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations”, published by Information Age Publishing, is based on Dr Page’s PhD dissertation.

He said education was the key to a peaceful future.

“It’s not about moralising,” he said. “It’s logical that we should be teaching people to appreciate the dangers of war and to be interacting more peacefully with each other.

“Negative images in the media tend to obscure the fact that in recent decades both large-scale violence and individual violence has decreased in many societies. That’s a counter to the pessimism that you cannot achieve peace. We need to imagine the future we want to achieve.”

– Julie Gatehouse