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Organization: DONYA Children's Research Institute
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

DONYA Children Research Institute (DCRI) is an independent, specialized, and non-governmental organization, which has been active in Iran since 1994 with the aim of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD )  in Iran. This institute was established with the efforts of a group of experts in education and training, academics, researchers, educators and the administrative staffs of educational centers for Early childhood development. Since 1994, DCRI has undertaken several projects and programs throughout Iran with the participation of governmental and non-governmental departments, and international organizations. Due to the promotion of the holistic needs and support for young children from birth till the age of 7, the institute was given a special promotional award by the Organization for the Promotion of Science

Objectives:
- Promoting programs for ECCD in particular the underprivileged children in Iran
- Developing Living Values through training programs for children and their families
- Mobilizing the local community, specially women, to help and support young children
- Influencing national policies regarding support for and attention to young children  

Basic Necessity

DCRI has always followed the objective of institutionalizing the, that if children of a country are raised well and benefit from humane and fundamental trainings, a bright future will await that land.

To achieve Peace Culture, living values, understanding, tolerance and even democracy should be taught from childhood. If these concepts are practiced from early childhood, children will grow up to be effective and responsible citizens of that society.

Children Research Institute has always borne in mind five working subjects as the main policies of its programs:  1. Attention to child-centered and society-based education 2. Attention to education of Peace Culture 3. Attention to children with special needs 4. Attention to educational programs with the aim of eliminating sexual discrimination 5. Attention to policy making in national programs for the support of young children.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

From 1980 to 1988 Iran was involved in a great and extensive war with Iraq. This war (like any other war) inflicted several damages on human, economic, environmental and other resources. Displacement, handicaps, loss of family and other social damages were part of the problems that attacked Iranian children. A third of the country was directly damaged in this war, and other parts were seriously afflicted.

At the moment, Iran and Iraq are in cease-fire, and the two countries have officially signed certain peace treaties.

On the other hand, Iran is located in the Middle East which is, and has always been, exposed to all kinds of threats and wars and violent conflicts.

Due to all these factors, Iranian teachers and educators witness certain unusual behavior. Violence is found in simple and complex forms in training centers, and is sometimes reinforced by official and unofficial sources and even families.

Iran is a country of great ethnic, religious and climatic diversity. Although the official language of the country is Farsi, more than 8 other languages and hundreds of dialects are spoken throughout the country. The country's great ethnic diversity has led to the emergence and growth of different cultures. Also, people of different religions, both official and non-official, live in Iran. If seen creatively, this great diversity can lead to cultural growth and development. Otherwise, all these differences can prepare the ground for violence and war.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

Children Research Institute, with the aim of teaching Peace Culture to children (under 6 years of age), in 1999 started its official activities in Iran for the expansion of peace trainings.

A great section of our programs are about ECCD and "Cultural of Peace" is one of DCRI activities.  

B - Culture of peace

B - 1 - The Creation of the Peace Group

The creation of the peace group within DCRI was aimed to organize all programs within the framework of co-existence, tolerance, acceptance and respect for all the differences, and the eradication of violence as a solution to problems.

"Peace must be taught from childhood" was the motto the group included in its agenda from the beginning, because if children learn peace-mindedness and Peace Culture, they will better play their part as peace promoters in the society as adults.  During its first year, the Peace Group devoted time to the theoretical studies concerning peace and the identification of related areas. At the same time, the following activities were undertaken:

- Collecting poems and songs with the theme of peace for the children
- Collecting stories and books with the theme of peace for children, and compiling a list for kindergartens
- Identifying the rituals, beliefs and ceremonies that promote the concepts of co-existence, tolerance and arbitration
- Introducing peace defending national and international figures
- Distributing the statement by Federico Mayor, UNESCO Secretary-General, on the International Year of Tolerance on a wide scale

Holding 28 meetings in 1999 and following the identification of various aspects of peace, the Peace Group drafted the Declaration of Peace Culture.

B - 2 - Declaration of Culture of Peace

The Declaration of Peace Culture, formulated in 15 sections, stresses the need to respect the rights of refugees, senior citizens, children, women and the disabled, and the need to protect the environment, cultural heritages, individual rights, freedom, and to avoid all kinds of violent behavior. The Declaration addresses parents, educators, writers and experts in children's issues, and it urges and encourages them to teach Peace Culture to children while complying with the contents of the Declaration. DCRI sent the Declaration to more than four thousand members of the institute, non-governmental organizations, kindergartens, newspapers, and also child related government centers all over the country.
The Declaration is one of the most lucid and clearly spelled out documents related to the teaching of Peace Culture, which understands peace through justice, freedom, equal rights of citizens, development, and the negation of war.

It has so far been printed in five prominent newspapers and in 23 general and special publications in Tehran and other cities. To date, 8,000 copies have been published and distributed.

The full text is given at the end of this section.

B - 3 - Living Values

Following DCRI's  focus on Peace Culture, UNESCO and UNICEF invited one of the center's officers to take part in the Living Values Workshop in England.

Living Values is a global program supported by UNESCO through which 12 humanitarian values have been developed for the improvement of the quality of life for children and adults. So far, all 12 values have been translated into Farsi, and each value has been revised according to cultural and regional conditions in Iran.

The following activities have been carried out in the center:
- Workshop on Living Values for parents, consisting of eight twelve-hour sessions / for 93 participants
- Workshop on Living Values for instructors, consisting of 15 six-hour sessions / for 415 participants
- Workshop on Living Values for the administrative staffs of factory and municipality kindergartens, consisting of three four-hour sessions / for 45 participants
- Preparation of 12 Living Values working pamphlets in Farsi for kindergartens
- Organization of a special workshop on Living Values for DCRI teachers with the participation of an expert from the US

B - 4 - Boycotting Violence Provoking Toys

In January 2000 DCRI raised the question of toys that provoked violence for the first time in Iran. A declaration with six clauses was prepared by DCRI and distributed among educational centers for young children as well as the media.

In this document, it is recommended that families, instructors and care-takers of young children regard the boycotting of violence provoking toys as an effective way of controlling violent behavior.

The above-mentioned declaration was published in two official newspapers of the country as an important item.

On May 15, 2001, the International Peace Day, volunteer kindergartens in Tehran and other provinces collaborated to clear their premises of such toys.

On this day the children who brought their war making toys received gift toys provided by UNICEF.

143 kindergartens in 18 cities of the country were cleared of war toys on this day.
The activities of this program were:
- Designing the badge of peace
- Preparing an introductory pamphlet on the preliminary steps to remove violent provoking toys.

B - 5 - The International Decade for  Culture of peace non - violence for the children of the world ( 2001 - 2010  )  

Following the UN proclamation of 2001-2010 as the decade for Culture of  Peace  non - violence for the children  of the world (  and Rejection of Violence against Children), the DCRI, more than any other institution in Iran, focused on this program.

On March 4, 2000, in a coordinated plan, DCRI held simultaneous events (same hour, same day) called "Proclaiming the Decade culture of peace  non - violence for the children of the world" in 11 provinces. In this program, DCRI colleagues, in collaboration with the representatives of the institute, traveled to different cities to introduce strategies and objectives to the participants.

Reading the Declaration culture of peace non - violence for the children of the world and DCRI's Announcement on the Decade were amongst the common programs in all the 11 cities. In each city, regional authorities also presented their views on Peace Culture.

Among the addressees of these sessions were parents, instructors and administrators, and others interested in issues concerning children joined the authorities in these events. More than 6,000 participants took part in these coordinated and well-organized events from all over the country.

The objectives of these simultaneous events were:
1. Broadcasting the Decade of Peace Culture on a wide scale
2. Attracting the participation of all interested groups
3. Sensitizing government officials to Peace Culture
The program was well received in both national and local media.

B - 6 - Young People's Peace Group  

With the development of DCRI activities regarding Peace Culture, an experimental course was organized in 1999 for about 40 young people between the ages of 14 and 17 years old.

For one year the group met once a week with specialists from DCRI and followed Living Value curriculum geared towards their needs.

During this one year, the group received workshop trainings on:
- Living Values
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Declaration of Peace Culture
- Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
- Convention on the Protection of Refugees
- Ethnic and religious groups in Iran

Participants also took part in the following activities:
- Visits to churches, synagogues and other worship places of Iran's religions
- Festivities of Iran's Armenians
- Ceremonies launching the Decade of Peace Culture
- The Day of Solidarity with Afghan Mothers
- And others

By the end of the year 2000, two more groups (of about 60) participated in these programs.

B - 7 - The Day of Solidarity with Afghan Mothers

In August 2000 DCRI for the first time held a program called the Day of Solidarity with Afghan mothers. On this day Afghan mothers exhibited their handicraft, arts and also their national food.

The money collected from this program was given for the support of Afghan imigrants kindergartens.

B - 8 - Publications Related to Peace Culture  

In February 2000 DCRI produced a special publication on Peace Culture. The articles focused more than anything on Peace Culture and the need for education. The publication is considered to be one of the important sources for studies on Peace Culture.

B - 9 - Council for the Development  for Culture   of Peace

In May 2001 Children Research Institute sent the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Provoking Toys to all non-governmental organizations active in small children issues. The Institute also forwarded a letter asking the organizations to sign the statement and form a group with the boycotting of violence provoking toys on its agenda.

An overall of 30 non-governmental organizations signed the declaration and officially started a new society called "Council for the Development of Peace Culture."

The Council for the Development of Peace Culture held a seminar in October 2001 on "Peace, Children and Toys" for the first time in Iran. On this occasion, representatives of all organizations presented their views on children and peace. The council is at present active within the framework of the following work groups:
- Research committee
- Family education committee
- Communication committee
So far, each committee has planned and carried out several programs.

B - 10 - Peace in the Afternoon  

In order to widely introduce the Decade of Peace Culture, DCRI arranged five afternoon programs which provided cultural, educational and recreational activities for children and their families.

Amongst the objectives of this program were providing opportunities for family members to be together, introducing joyful, healthy and educational programs free from any kind of violence and introducing the fundamental concepts of peace.

A total of 4,000 people took part in this program in 2001.

Due to the success of these afternoon events, DCRI suggested that all non-governmental organizations to undertake the programs. In the summer of 2002, in 11 programs, more than 25 non-governmental organizations each week held several events for children and their families within the framework of peace, understanding and friendship. More than 10,000 people participated in these events. In other words, all participants declared solidarity with the programs of Peace Culture and of rejection of violence against children.

B - 11 - Peace Schools  

The Peace Culture programs were well received by the Young People's Peace Group, therefore, the DCRI Peace Group planned an educational course for students ranging from the first year of primary school to the last year of high school.

These courses, known as Peace Schools, started their activities in the summer of 2002 and more than 60 students enrolled in these classes.

B - 12 -Culture of  Peace Workshops  

So far, DCRI has set up 38 workshops of Peace Culture in Tehran and in other cities for 2,100 participants. Some of the addressees of these workshops are:
- Kindergarten teachers
- Parents
- Administrative staffs of private and factory kindergartens
- Officials of governmental departments
- CRI members
- Members of the Council for the Development of Peace Culture
- Others

Other activities
- The publication of educational pamphlets on the necessity for Peace Culture
- Extensive celebration of the International Peace Day in different cities of Iran
- Formation of non-governmental groups interested in Peace Culture in different cities of Iran
- A workshop for Iranian artiest society about education of peace.
- Native games and plays festival for children.



Statement for the "Spread of the Culture of Peace "
(DONYA) Children's Research Institute 2000

Peace is rooted in the minds of People. In a healthy environment, any human being can become familiar with values of life, and live him and others, respect all beings, and learn that he doesn't have the right to tale the life of another being.

War is also rooted in human minds. Therefore, it's best to eradicate it right there, and instead teach peace, cooperation, patience and justice.

We know that peace is not just the absence of war, but life in a civil society that is filled with justice, cooperation, tolerance, freedom, democracy and absence of violence, defines peace.

We the instructors, teachers, parents and guardians of young children, with the knowledge that we need to take the culture of peace seriously, from the early stages of life, offer all those who deal with children, that by considering the points of this statement regarding the culture of peace, they will be able to spread peace in their own lands.

Chapter 1- Summary

Teach our children:
- To respect humans from all races, colors religions, beliefs, languages and cultures.
- There is no difference between human beings. No human is  superior to another because of their social or economic status, race, color, religion, etc ….
- All humans do not think alike or live alike.

Chapter 2- Religion

Teach our children:
- To respect all religions and their followers.
- That with tolerance and respect all followers of different faiths can coexist.
- To avoid all manners of thought which cause differences and separation between followers of different religions.

Chapter 3- People, races, languages

Teach our children:
- To respect all people whom live in Iran. Turks, Kurds, Lors, Baluchis, Armenians, Gilaks, Arabs, Farsi's, and … all are worthy of respect.
- No one or no culture is superior to another.
- Learn about the indigenous people of their regions, and respect the wisdom of different tribes and people.
- Not to allow anyone to belittle another culture or people.
- There is no difference between people of different races or colores.
- Not to categorize or name people based on their appearance.
- Color or race is not merit for worth.
- To respect all languages which mean respect for the history of the people who speak that language.
- That paying attention to other languages can enrich our own language.

Chapter 4-  Gender

Teach our children:
- That people are not superior based on whether they are male or female.
- To avoid any behavior that is prejudiced against boys and girls.
- Never to believe a story or poem that says girls are weaker or inferior to boys.

Chapter 5-  The Handicapped

Teach our children:
- To respect all people who are mentally, emotionally or physically handicapped, and to pay attention to them.
- Try to connect to the handicapped, and involve them in social activities.
- It's the right of all children to live with others regardless of their physical appearance

Chapter 6-  Refugees

Teach our children:
- To respect all people who have migrated to our country or are refugees here.
- Not to believe those who belittle refugees or cause trouble for them.
- Seek ways to communicate better with refugees.

Chapter 7-  The Environment

Teach our children:
- To protect the earth and all of its resources.
- Not to use equipment that destroys the environment.
- Not to hurt animals.
- Not to destroy trees, and not to pollute water or the air.
- The culture of peace is meaningless without protecting the environment.

Chapter 8-  Violence

Teach our children:
- To not have violence behavior towards other people or beings.
- To recognize the things that create violence and work to eradicate them.
- To use their hands, feet and thoughts for peace and friendship.
- Not to hurt any human being.
- To recognize that killing of human beings is evil.
- To avoid programs, toys and films that promote violence.
- And to learn that violence behavior is not the first or last solution for solving problems.

Chapter 9-  Value of lives

Teach our children:
- To recognize life values and to use them in their own lives.
- To realize that honesty, modesty, simplicity, unity, loving, patience, accepting, responsibility, respect and cooperation and … are values that they need to repeat daily in their lives.
- To show enthusiasm in understanding other points of views.
- To take the first steps in welcoming others.

Chapter 10-  The Family

- Teach our children:
- To respect their own and other's families.
- That all humans who live in villages, cities, and our lands are part of our greater family that we also belong to.
- To respect the traditions and values of other families.
- To respect the character and wisdom of the elderly in families.

Chapter 11-  Cooperation

Teach our children:
- To make effort in listening to other points of views and opinions.
- To think of the situation of group and to value group activities.
- To participate in other's activities and ask others to share in theirs.
- In performing various tasks, to consider other's opinions.
- Not to take decisions for the group, or impose their opinion on the group.
- To work towards common understanding between people and groups.

Chapter 12- Freedom

Teach our children:
- To respect all differences. All humans are not supposed to be alike or think alike.
- To respect other's opinions.
- To avoid prejudgments.
- To avoid anything that jeopardizes human values.
- To allow others to think freely, and not to force anyone to accept their views.
- To respect human freedom.
- Freedom finds its meaning with justice. With justice, freedom becomes complete.

Chapter 13-  Individual Rights

Teach our children:
- To become familiar with their own rights.
- To familiarize other children and their friends with the international treaty regarding children's rights.
- To familiarize themselves with human rights, and respect human rights.

Chapter 14-  Peace

Teach our children:
- To work towards world peace and consider peace above all conflicts.
- To practice love for all humans.
- To familiarize themselves with the cultures of other people, in order to find world peace.
- To realize that the path of salvation for humans is only through peace.

Chapter 15-  Group Oath

Teach our children:
We the teachers, guardians, parents and all those interested in the culture of peace, with the acceptance of all the points in this declaration, try our best in considering the above statements, and to teach them to the children around us.



Iranian play festival by DCRI



Children in peace school



DCRI activity for Afghan refugees

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?


PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?


PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?

Future plans

1. Compilation of the curriculum of Peace Schools and seeking UNESCO's support in getting the permit for establishing the above-mentioned schools

2. Attention to theoretical issues and fundamentals of Peace Culture for a clear understanding and for finding suitable procedures

3. Development of educational programs on Peace Culture for kindergartens all over the country

4. Collection of all the mines which endanger women and children in different regions of Iran

5. Identification of peace provoking traditions in the daily lives of Iranian families

Postal address of organization

IRAN - TEHRAN
P.O.Box : 117665 - 367

E-mail address of organization


Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education for a culture of peace

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace


Highest priority country of action (or international)

Iran

Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: DONYA Children's Research Institute

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