‘Peace and conflict studies a must in NE’

SHILLONG: There is an urgent need to introduce peace and conflict studies in the curriculum of boards and universities of the North East in view of the militancy problem in the region.

This was observed by peace activist from Manipur and a faculty member of Martin Luther Christian University, Leban Sarto who was speaking to pressmen after the conclusion of a five-day workshop organized by the Peace Count Academy (PCA) to train individuals from across the region in conflict resolution at Pinewood Hotel here on Saturday.

Peace Counts documents the best methods and measures for peace-building and conflict resolution, focusing mainly on successful initiatives from the civil society.

Sarto, who is the organizer of PCA in NE, informed that the National Curriculum Framework, 2005 had advocated the need to introduce peace studies in the country but majority of the states are yet to act on it.

The peace activist informed that in his home State of Manipur, the introduction of Peace and conflict studies in the curriculum is being actively considered.

“We are hopeful that the other States in the region will follow suit,” he said.

Sarto said that the introduction of peace and conflict studies will bring a new breath of freshness and inspiration to “peace builders in the region”.

Rallying behind Sarto’s argument was peace activist and college teacher from Nagaland, Toshi Aier, who believed that school kids are vulnerable to violence and if not given the message of peace at a tender age may be swayed away by messengers of unrest.Aier, along with around 20 other participants, was deliberating on peace issues at Peace Counts, a programme sponsored by the German government and Berghof Foundation to train individuals from across the region in conflict resolution.”Nagaland is already seeing the fruit of increased public participation in peace building, with a Peace Festival taken around the state using theatre, art and music to spread the message,” he said.

Peace Counts is about producing reportages, which combine personal stories with structural background, said Michael Gleich, a journalist from Germany.

He lamented that peace makers do not get much attention compared to trouble makers. He added that “conflict was nothing bad”, but the question is on how to deal with it successfully.

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