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Organization: The Education for Peace Institute of the Balkans (EFP-Balkans)
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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?

The Education for Peace Institute of the Bakans (EFP-Balkan) is a non-governmental research, training, and service organization specifically formed to bring programs aimed at creating a culture of peace and a culture of healing in the school communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavia countries. EFP-Balkans is a regional branch of the International Education for Institute (EFP-International) with its offices in Neuschatel Switzerland and Vancouver, Canada. All programs of EFP-Balkans are administered in collaboration and active participation of the Faculty of EFP-International, which has designed a comprehensive curriculum of peace education and is continually expanding on the basis of new insights and lessons learned in the course of implementation of its programs in various cultural and social settings.

Since the introduction of the the EFP pilot project in 2000 to six schools in BiH, The EFP-Balkans has expanded its domain activities and currently implementing the EFP program into some 108 BiH schools located in over 60 communities across the country. This means that approximately 80,000 students, 5000 teachers and some 150,000 parents are directly involved in transformative peace education programs as the framework through which the students are receiving their education. The EFP program has received unqualified and universal support from all 13 Ministries of Education, and the senior officials of BiH Government both at the entity and state levels. Thus the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is committed to the EFP program as a part of the educational framework through which their youth are taught. As well, EFP has the full and active support of OSCE, which has the primary responsibility, on behalf of the international community, for education reform in BiH. Considering the monumental task of creating a culture of healing and culture of peace among former warring communities, the EFP program has seen considerable progress towards realization of its twin objectives—to establish a culture of peace and a culture of healing in and between the participating school communities in BiH.

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

Two major obstacles have been identified. The first is in establishing a sustained financial basis for EFP-International’s expanding programs and the increasing demands for introduction of EFP programs in new communities. The funds are required to assist with projects, train and hire personnel, for on-going research, and for curriculum development. The second obstacle is that at the conceptual level, EFP-International considers the tripartite challenges of poverty, disease and conflict as well as environmental degradation as challenges of governments which have their genesis in the absence of an established culture of peace in those communities. EFP-International puts a high premium on prevention of outbreaks of violence in communities that are vulnerable or at risk with a complementary emphasis on the introduction of comprehensive and sustainable programs for rehabilitation of communities that have experienced conflict and violence. With regard to dealing with all of the issues, we observe a fragmented approach that side-steps the primacy of peace education with respect to all other challenges mentioned.

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

Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord in 1995, ending four years of war, a process of social, economic and political recovery has been taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This process, mainly led by the international community, has channelled financial and technical assistance into the areas of physical and, to a far lesser extent, psychosocial and educational reconstruction of the country and its people.  

The groups hit particularly hard by the war and its aftermath in Bosnia and Herzegovina are children and youth of all ethnic backgrounds. Having experienced the atrocities, violence and pain, together with extremely difficult living conditions, children and youth along with their parents, have been severely traumatized. A critically important step in the process of reconstruction yet remains: to appropriately address the psycho-social needs of these young people, to assist them to gain confidence in their future, and to help them envision their own contribution to the development of a united and prosperous BiH.  

Education for Peace aims to assist the population of the three communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina's society (Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats) in the building of peace, democracy, and intercultural and inter-ethnic understanding and respect.

The initial two-year pilot project of Education for Peace was launched in June 2000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with the participation of more than 400 teachers and school staff, 6,000 students and their parents, education ministries, municipal leaders, international authorities and the media. The pilot program yielded such significant results that it gained the recognition and endorsement of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the BiH Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the High Representative in BiH. The government subsequently invited EFP-International to create a strategy of program expansion to all schools in the country.

To initiate the expansion of EFP, in March 2003 two full-day Consultative Forums on Education for Peace were held in Sarajevo, with the participation of all thirteen Ministries of Education at the Entity, Cantonal and District levels and all Directors of the eight Pedagogical Institutes of BiH. The consultations resulted in unanimous support from all educational authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe in BiH (OSCE Mission) for the country-wide implementation of Education for Peace. It also laid the foundations for the gradual inclusion of Education for Peace in the formal curriculum of BiH schools and the implementation of EFP as a framework for the modification of the country’s educational policies.

EFP Framework

The aim and challenge of the Education for Peace program is to educate every new generation of students to become peacemakers and to devote their talents, capacities and energies towards the creation of a civilization of peace based on the twin pillars of a culture of peace and a culture of healing. This requires the engagement of the students in a systematic and sustained program of full emersion in the study of the principles of peace by integrating these principles into the daily lessons of every subject. EFP Programs are designed to respond to the need for healing in a culture damaged by violence, conflict, and oppression, while also creating avenues for building peace through programs aimed at understanding the root causes of violence, conflict and oppression and providing skills for future prevention. EFP has established three inter-related programs to accomplish these objectives: EFP-INTENSIVE, EFP-WORLD and the Youth Peacebuilder Network (YPN) for implementation in schools and the EFP-LEADERSHIP with its objectives to inform the leaders of each community with the principles of EFP and peace-centered leadership.

The EFP curriculum is designed to be both universal and specific. The universality of the curriculum refers to the universal principles of peace - the common heritage of humanity, the diverse expression of this common heritage and the absolute necessity to create a unified and peaceful world within this framework of oneness and diversity without resort to conflict and violence. While the principles of peace and unity are universal, it is essential that the program be tailored to the specific needs of every community in which EFP operates. For each distinct society, the EFP program is therefore carefully designed with the full participation of the educators and experts from that community so that it is context-appropriate.

It is through this all-inclusive approach that participating communities are given ownership of the EFP program. This process creates an environment conducive to sustainable socio-cultural development between participating schools through the active involvement of men, women, boys and girls, as equal partners in the process of repairing the fabric of war-torn societies. It also creates the necessary mechanisms for the sustainability of the program by training a large number of educators from participating schools as EFP Specialists and through the integration of EFP principles in the curriculum of these schools.

Over the past few years of program implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a range of EFP educational materials have been developed. The materials have been modified for each study subject and adapted to represent the social realities and historical context of BiH. A number of key research projects are also in the process of implemented.

Education for Peace Programs

EFP–INTENSIVE Is based on the classical EFP pilot project, a two year community-based Education for Peace program in which all teachers, staff and students of a given school are trained in EFP. A tailor-made curriculum is developed based on EFP-International’s universal model, for use in every subject (history, science, arts, social studies, etc). To ensure that the curriculum is specified to the needs of the participating schools and communities, educators and teachers from each region assist in its development. This program is particularly suited to assist ethnically segregated schools, those with displaced and refugee populations, schools situated in zones of intense conflict or in economically deprived regions, to overcome the barriers of ethnic hatred and the traumas of war. The two-year program focuses on the development of 1) a culture of peace, and 2) a culture of healing in the participating school communities. Through a carefully monitored and sustained implementation process, EFP-INTENSIVE facilitates the forging of bonds of trust, open communication and sensitivity, which take time to develop and which are essential for genuine and lasting socio-psychological recovery.

EFP–WORLD is a comprehensive IT-based version of the Education for Peace Program. Initially designed for implementation in secondary school, it will also be adapted for use in primary schools.
EFP-WORLD aims to empower local communities by building a brighter future through: increased local knowledge on how to prevent conflicts; strengthening inter-ethnic understanding and cooperation; and applying the principles of gender equality, human rights and justice within sustainable community building processes. Through on-line and CD-ROM delivery, EFP-WORLD can be offered free of charge to any school, in any country in the world at a relatively low cost for initial production and materials. The program not only bridges the digital divide by introducing students and teachers to the world of information and communication technologies, but also creates an international forum for young people of all backgrounds, modes of thought and interest, to have dialogue within the parameters of the principles of peace.

Youth PeaceBuilders Network: The Youth Peacebuilder Network (YPN) is an emerging network of youth mobilized as leaders in the effort to create a global culture of peace.   Trained in cutting edge concepts of peacemaking, conflict transformation, and violence prevention, YPN participants lead their peers in exploring the fundamental ideas, worldviews, and actions which characterize a culture of peace. YPN has had its origins at a few schools in North America.  The current plan is to systematically create YPN groups in various parts of the world and strengthen their connections through linking the National YPN groups at a world-wide level through a Global Youth Peacebuilders Network.

EFP–PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMA: The introduction of EFP-WORLD and EFP-INTENSIVE to schools across Bosnia and Herzegovina will be facilitated by Bosnian educators trained as EFP Specialists. Through a professional training program, a select number of teachers in each school are trained in all aspects of the EFP curriculum and implementation methodologies. The Specialists then facilitate and monitor the process of EFP program implementation in participating schools and assist in developing integrated curricula for the Ministries of Education to adopt as models in the long run. They are also able to provide on-going expert assistance to their colleagues for the sustained implementation of Education for Peace.

EFP–LEADERSHIP is a parallel program designed to equip municipal leaders in the communities where schools are participating in Education for Peace, with a review of the principles and practices of a culture of peace. EFP–LEADERSHIP builds the capacities of municipal leaders to respond effectively to the challenges of governing multi-ethnic communities so that they can foster, in practical terms, increased interethnic harmony and cooperation, regard for the human rights of all citizens, the equality of women and men and the practice of conflict-free methods of conflict resolution. The program also gives particular attention to the emergence of a new generation of women as leaders and decision makers, thus alleviating the current imbalance that exists in the leadership of many societies. EFP–LEADERSHIP complements and reinforces the efforts of school communities that are engaged in EFP-INTENSIVE, EFP-WORLD, and YPN.

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?

Along with needed support and promotion of the Millennium Goals, peaceful development should also be prioritized, promoted, and financially supported. It is only upon the foundations of a peaceful society that the Millennium Goals are attainable.

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

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC);
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA);
Japanese Embassy in Sarajevo;
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Rotary International Clubs in Switzerland and other European countries
Government of Luxembourg
United States Institute for Peace (Research grant)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH);
Federal and Regional Ministries of Education of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Pedagogical Institutes of Federation BiH and Republika Srpska;
Local schools in Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska;
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Small businesses in BiH.
Columbia University, NY (Research)

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)?

A formal invitation has been extended to EFP from the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs to expand the EFP Program to all the schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This includes approximately 300 secondary level school and 1000 primary level schools across all regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This expansion process has already begun.

EFP programs have also garnered the attention of other civic groups, national and international organizations within the region. Currently, EFP-Balkans, along with EFP-International are in discussion with these people to discuss ways in which EFP programs can be of benefit to them.

The ultimate long-term objective of EFP is to offer peace education on-line to any and all schools in the world, particularly those in regions where the ravages of war, terrorism, prejudice, rapid socio-economic and cultural change and the demands of modern life have created conditions of insecurity and conflict in families, schools and communities. The core curriculum will be supplemented with additional EFP lesson samples developed by participating schools which reflect regional and cultural specificities and will be delivered in the appropriate mother tongues.

Postal address of organization

Fra Andela Zvizdovica (A2/13)
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

E-mail address of organization


Website address of organization


Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

EFP-International has the twin priorities of Creating a Culture of Healing to enable the development of a Culture of Peace at the centre of our programs

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Education Reform

Highest priority country of action (or international)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Second priority country of action (or international)

Countries and Regions of the Former Yugoslavia
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Organization: The Education for Peace Institute of the Balkans (EFP-Balkans)

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