Peace Education Institute
Recognize the courage in every individual to act to build a world where justice and peace prevails; strengthen the understanding of the consequences of actions on local and global levels.
The form and demand for Peace Education have changed during different decades depending on the events in Finland and abroad, global political power relations, and the needs of the international community. RKI has, during its almost 40 years of existence, strived for responding to the demand in various ways. RKI’s work started in 1981 with the name Yrjö Kallainen’s peace institute’s/academy’s/college’s support association. In the 1980s there was a demand for actors like the Institute since recommendation of including peace education into the curriculum was added to the constitution in 1985, and 1986 was declared International Year of Peace by the United Nations. RKI responded to the demand by giving lectures in schools and education institutes, publishing texts and sharing knowledge to schools, training adult educators, as well as inviting people to visit the Institute. Besides this, the Institute had development cooperation projects in Namibia and South Africa. The early influences of RKI included Minister Tarja Halonen and the first receiver of UNESCO Prize for Peace Education (1981) Helena Kekkonen, who has influenced fundamentally the form and development of peace education in Finland. In the 1990s peace work expanded along with the globalization discourse. Environmental refugees and conflicts caused by the phenomenon, women’s rights and sexual health in developing countries became central topics. The Institute organized seminars and lectures and produced material for educators about these themes.The 2000s were marked by terrorism, the war against it, and the new division of political power, which all have highlighted the demand for and importance of peace education. In 2006, human rights education, equality, democracy, protection of biodiversity and acceptance of multiculturalism were added to the curriculum for basic education. This increased the demand for concrete know-how and new teaching methods to which RKI had responded by producing a handbook on human rights and peace education, as well as by creating Peace School in cooperation with the Peace Union of Finland. Until the year 2008, the Institute funded two development cooperation projects in Somalia and one in Nigeria. In the 2010s Maailmankoulu (Global School) was established as one of the organization’s main activities. It works as a bridge between schools and NGOs working with global education. It was first created by an organization called Kasvattajat Rauhan Puolesta (Educators for Peace) in Oulu. RKI has administered its functions since 2010 and its services have expanded in many other parts of Finland.
- International project
In 2017, RKI started working with four European partner organizations in “Inclusion in International Youth Work” Erasmus + project. The project supports exchange of good practices between European organizations representing different minority groups, deepens the importance of international cooperation in the youth field and develops local and international cooperation networks on the themes of equality and anti-racism. The project includes several international study visits during 2017-2018. These study visits address the diversity of society and co-operation with young people from various religious, ethnic, linguistic, disability or sexual minorities, considering the dynamics of multiple discriminatory norms and inequality in society. A Study Visit to Scotland "Interfaith Dialogue and Youth Work" took place in November 2017. The aim of the visit was to get familiar with interfaith cooperation and learn how to foster dialogue between different youth groups. During the week the participants addressed various topics in workshop-like groups, for example religious diversity and anti-discrimination in youth work. The participants also attended events of the Scottish Interfaith Week, an annual week promoting understanding and cooperation between different religious communities. The participants agreed on that faith and religion play a big role in people’s lives.The participants of the project represented different organizations all working with youth from minority groups and youth in the risk of marginalization. The study visit was supported by Erasmus+ and hosted by the organization Interfaith Scotland.
Main Focus Countries of Activities