Universal Peace Federation chapters organized celebrations of the International Day of Peace, September 21. The theme was Education for Peace. "It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies." - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UPF offers the following recommendations in support of the theme "Education for Peace":
The family is the original primary school. It is in the family, in relation to our parents, grandparents, siblings, and extended familial network, that we learn language, cultural values, ethics, religion, essential information related to survival, and basic attitudes toward others, including those who exist outside "the tribe." If within the family, centered on the parents and grandparents, there is an affirmation of education and, more importantly, an emphasis on moral education or character education, then the family becomes a school of peace. It is very important that we come to understand, value, and support the family as the primary school of peace.
While formal systems of education are naturally focused on development of professional capacities and skills that are necessary for employment and economic success, education must also give emphasis to moral education or character education. In this sense, education must consider the whole person. Traditionally, education comprises both the "arts" and the "sciences." The "arts" refer to the "liberal arts" or the "humanities" as a curriculum which introduces students to the great ideas of history and the moral and spiritual guidance that comes from classic literature, including sacred scriptures. Peace cannot be achieved by technology alone but requires ultimately a transformation of persons from selfishness, greed, and viciousness to benevolence, generosity, and self-discipline.
Interfaith dialogue, understanding, and cooperation are essential to peace. As long as beliefs within one religious tradition hold prejudicial attitudes toward people of other faiths, or even of people of divergent perspectives within one's own faith, peace cannot be achieved. Both the family system and the school system should cultivate interfaith awareness and mutual respect. Religious and interfaith illiteracy should not be tolerated, knowing that it contributes to bigotry, discrimination and, eventually, to violence. The curricula of the school system, from primary school to university, should include courses that respectfully and objectively teach about the great religious ideas and practitioners of history, just as we study the great art and literature of the major civilizations.
Issues of peace and security are enormously complex. Simplistic and ill-informed perspectives should not be encouraged. Forums, symposia, and publications that include various well-informed perspectives, contribute to balance and reasonable solutions.