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Peace education may be defined as the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.

There is thus no shortage of official statements on the importance of peace education. There are numerous United Nations declarations or instruments which confirm the importance of peace education. Koichiro Matsuura, the current Director-General of UNESCOmarker, wrote of peace education as being of "fundamental importance to the mission of UNESCO and the United Nations". Peace education as a right is something which is now increasingly emphasized by peace researchers such as Betty Reardon and Douglas Roche There has also been a recent meshing peace education and human rights education

Ian Harris and John Synott have described peace education as a series of "teaching encounters" that draw from people:
  • their desire for peace,
  • nonviolent alternatives for managing conflict, and
  • skills for critical analysis of structural arrangements that produce and legitimate injustice and inequality.
James Page suggests peace education be thought of as "encouraging a commitment to peace as a settled disposition and enhancing the confidence of the individual as an individual agent of peace; as informing the student on the consequences of war and social injustice; as informing the student on the value of peaceful and just social structures and working to uphold or develop such social structures; as encouraging the student to leave the world and to imagine a peaceful future; and as caring for the student and encouraging the student to care for others" .

Often the theory or philosophy of peace education has been assumed and not articulated. Johan Galtung suggested in 1975 that no theory for peace education existed and that there was clearly an urgent need for such theory. More recently there have been attempts to establish such a theory. Joachim James Calleja has suggested that a philosophical basis for peace education might be located in the Kantian notion of duty. James Page has suggested that a rationale for peace education might be located in virtue ethics, consequentialist ethics, conservative political ethics, aesthetic ethics and the ethics of care.

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