The idea that sustainable peace can be encouraged via how and what we learn is known as peace education. This is not a rigid framework or set of curriculum guidelines. Rather, it’s a way of approaching teaching which is defined by its human-centred ethos and emphasis on creating well-rounded learners. Peace education is globally recognised as a way to contribute to peace and development and is included in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The European Union – a key actor in social policy, development and conflict resolution – is ideally placed to support and promote the use of peace education around the world.

In Peace Education: Making the case, QCEA’s Peace Programme argues for a multi-layered approach to peace education on the part of the EU, with a cohesive, coordinated strategy for peace education as a peacebuilding and conflict prevention tool across relevant EU policies and programmes – both within its borders and around the world. With an exploration of the history of peace education, as well as case studies and institutional analysis, our new report encourages the EU to recognise what Quakers have understood for centuries – that peace is built in the classroom, as well as around a negotiating table.

Peace education and the EU

Historically, the EU has promoted education through funding and programmes such as Erasmus+. But following the 2015 terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, the EU renewed its interest in education and has sought to promote common values and social inclusion.Which institutions, agencies and policies would be best suited to the mainstreaming of peace education? Our report includes a thorough exploration of how the EU could act as a cohesive whole when bridging education and peacebuilding.

A history of peace education

The report includes a history of how education has been used to prevent violence, resolve conflicts and establish lasting peace. It shows how peace education has responded to difficult political contexts over the decades by providing peaceful alternatives to conflict – demonstrating the continued relevance of peace education today as responsive to global issues such as sectarian conflict and climate change.

Quakers and peace education

The Quaker approach to formal education includes peace as a value to live by, and is focused on the holistic development of learners. As such, Quakers have pioneered many non-formal peace education programmes, and this makes QCEA uniquely placed to speak out in favour of such strategies at the European level.

Case study: Bosnia-Herzegovina

The report includes a case study of the benefits of multi-layered peace education in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). How is the EU already using education policy to help build sustainable peace in BiH? What more could and should it do to support civil society efforts?

Click here to read Peace Education: Making the case


This report establishes a convincing case for education as a tool for conflict transformation as well as nurturing competences necessary for establishing cultures of peace. For policy makers, the report provides a constructive, multilayered approach, grounded in European frameworks and policies. This grounding provides a roadmap that should provide a big boost to educators, civil society and other relevant stakeholders pursuing mainstreaming efforts in Europe and beyond.

— Tony Jenkins, Managing Director, International Institute on Peace Education

This publication provides a comprehensive insight into past and current approaches to peace education in an international context. It will be a valuable resource for experts as well as newcomers to the field – whether they work “on the ground” or at a policy level.

— Jamie Walker, Educational Consultant, Academy for Conflict Transformation

The report provides solid evidence for the European Union and European Member States to invest in peace education. It demonstrates, through concrete examples, that peace education is an effective peacebuilding tool that can be implemented anywhere in the world. […] The report will immensely benefit organisations delivering peace education in the field to bring global attention around this tool.

— Isabel Cartwright, Peace Education Programme Manager, Quaker Peace and Social Witness