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Call for Research Papers: Together for Peace (T4P) Research on Positive Peace Learning Outcome Assessment

Call for Research Papers: Together for Peace (T4P) Research on Positive Peace Learning Outcome Assessment

Terms of Reference

I.    Background

The launch of UNESCO’s Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education in 2021 highlighted the urgent need to reinvent education to help us address common challenges to the future of humanity and the living planet itself. At present the ways we organize education across the world do not do enough to ensure just and peaceful societies, a healthy planet, and shared progress that benefits all. A new social contract for education needs to allow us to think differently about learning and the relationships between students, teachers, knowledge, and provide the knowledge and innovation needed to shape sustainable and peaceful futures for all anchored in social, economic and environmental justice.

Several regional analyses123 note that conflict and violence affect every country, not just those that we think of as experiencing conflict. In addition, increased hate speech and disinformation on social and traditional media exacerbate hostilities by reinforcing tension, propaganda and stereotypes, leading to biased reporting. Appreciating, honouring and nurturing diversity while addressing development challenges will be key to prosperity, peace and sustainable development in the region.

UNESCO Together for Peace (T4P)  initiative is a collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Thailand’s Ministry of Education, addressing these challenges by building and sustaining ‘positive peace’  in the region through education from 2021 to 2025. 

Education is a pathway to peace of particular relevance in peace-building activities on global citizenship education, preventing violent extremism through education, education for sustainable development (ESD), intercultural dialogue and freedom of expression, which are developed and delivered in the activities of all sectors. Peace is not just the absence of conflict. Positive peace is the presence of justice, equity and equality for all in our society, a lasting peace that addresses social and economic disparities and in turn the conflicts and violence associated with exploitation and inequality. Peace is also about living in harmony with nature. Peace education for sustainable development embraces people to learn and to take actions addressing biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis.

Positive peace education enables learners to develop constructive attitudes towards living together and solving problems that arise in their communities through peaceful means. It should also involve participation of young people in expressing their own ideas and cooperating with each other in order to eliminate violence in our individual lives, in our communities and in our societies.

In 2019 UNESCO commissioned a review of its past and present actions for positive peace and established a T4P Expert Group to guide informed thinking about the opportunities for strengthening future action. The experts recommended three areas for action:
●    Transformative pedagogies for positive peace
●    Building ethical relationships between humanity and nature
●    Living with super diversity

The T4P initiative’s overarching objective is to contribute to changes in attitudes, behaviours, and dispositions of people in Asia and the Pacific, especially students and teachers, to become agents for positive peace. In keeping with the UNESCO’s mission, Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, T4P is built upon the following overarching principles of action:

●    Inclusiveness: Diversity enriches our world in many ways and UNESCO promotes respect for diversity in all its forms. T4P aims to build bridges and common understanding across diverse groups in society and engage with stakeholders from community, voluntary and non-government organisations, government and the private sector.
●    Intersectorality: Building on UNESCO’s five sectoral programmes through collaborative approaches, T4P will enhance the quality and impact of education for positive peace with a focus on core competencies of social and emotional learning, and ensure that T4P embraces environmental sustainability, cultural diversity and public awareness.
●    Partnership: T4P is developed by UNESCO and its partners in collaboration with like-minded organisations from all sectors.   
●    Evidence-based: Science plays a key role in providing the foundation for informed policy, learning content and pedagogy and will be the basis of T4P activities.

Among Sustainable Development Goal 4 targets, target 4.7 reflects on the social, humanistic, and moral purposes of education. It explicitly links education to other SDGs and captures the transformative aspirations of the new global development agenda. UNESCO Institute for Statistics provides guidelines for measuring 4.7.4. and 4.7.5 indicators on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (Link).To complement the revision of 1974 UNESCO Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, we focus on assessment of learning outcomes of peace education in the region as monitoring strategies for T4P. 

Building on UIS guidelines for measuring SDG 4.7.4 and 4.7.5, and the T4P Statement, UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education plans to publish a compendium of research evidence on learning outcomes of positive peace education in Asia and the Pacific. The compendium will cover multi-disciplinary research with the aim of contributing to a wider policy dialogue on peace education in Asia-Pacific. A selection of research and interim synthesis are expected to be presented and discussed in a research seminar planned in March 2023. The launch of the Compendium is planned in the occasion of the T4P regional dialogue to be organized by UNESCO Bangkok during the week of 21 September 2023 – International Day of Peace. 

II.     Research framework

Researchers are invited to submit research studies focusing on evidence on learning outcomes of positive peace education. We aim to have a mix of diverse contexts in the region; such as the least developed countries, middle income countries, Pacific islands, landlocked countries, etc. Pairing of countries to cover cross-border issues is proposed. For example, India-Pakistan; East Asia (China, Republic of Korea and Japan), Australia-Papua New Guinea. Government education policy makers are intended primary readers. 

Within the framework of the overarching topic, research that informs one of the three key questions below is welcome. 

How is positive peace education integrated into national policy, school curricula, and pedagogy in Asia-Pacific?
1)    How do national education policies, strategies and programmes address / articulate positive peace education ? What are the strengths, gaps and areas for further improvement?
2)    What are the skills, values, attitudes, and behaviours being taught in peace education to empower learners to become agents of positive peace? What are the current gaps in skills, values, attitudes, and behaviours with those being taught in peace education?
3)    What are some examples of transformative practices in positive peace education that are aligned with curriculum, pedagogy, teacher training and learning assessments?
4)    To what extent is peace education integrated within national curriculum and assessments? 

What kind of assessment tools for positive peace education that empowers teachers and learners to become agents of positive peace, are developed in Asia-Pacific? 
5)    What are  effective guidelines and practices in assessment of learning outcomes, of peace education at school level, including formative assessments? How do teachers assess behavioral change? 
6)    What indicators are used to assess the efficacy and limitations of positive peace education? What are some examples of how education systems evaluate progress in the implementation of positive peace education policies and programmes at national level?
7)    What are good practices in assessment of teachers’ knowledge, skills and attitudes towards positive peace?

What is the current context of positive peace education in Asia Pacific?
8)    How is positive peace education conceptualized in the Asia-Pacific? Is there a shared concept? What are the guiding principles or frameworks that inform a shared concept?
9)    How can education and learning contribute towards building a more peaceful society (cf. Tracking studies of Positive Peace Course graduates)?

III.    Methodology

The research design may be quantitative, qualitative or mixed methodologies. The methodology should highlight the purpose of the research, overarching questions, sampling strategies, data gathering strategy, analytic strategies, and proposal for reporting the evidence. The methodology should also elaborate the validity and reliability of the research design and results reported, and measures for managing researcher biases.

IV.    Timeline and selection criteria 

Researchers wishing to contribute to the UNESCO Compendium are requested to: 

1)    Submit a research paper/report in English together with a research information sheet (including introduction, purpose, research methodology, beneficiaries, by 30 November 2022 (extended). If the original research is written in other languages, a summary of around 2,000 words in English and a translation of the table of contents is accepted. 

2)    Selected researchers should agree to: 
●    Present the research in a research seminar in early 2023, submit a presentation with visual images of research location, learners, teachers and assessment tools. 
●    Peer review the draft compendium. 

In line with UNESCO's overall gender mainstreaming strategy, research that integrates a gender perspective and applies gender analysis and mainstreaming concepts will be given preference. Authors of selected research papers shall also bear in mind that, in accordance with UNESCO publishing policy, all UNESCO publications are to be made available in Open Access, under the IGO-Creative Commons or any other open licensing system. Authors grant all rights to UNESCO on use of the work. 

Based on an open call for proposals, UNESCO Bangkok will select approximately 12 studies based on following criteria: 

●    Quality of research
i.    Rigorous research design
ii.    Clear findings based on evidence
iii.    Appropriate identification strategy
iv.    Original and innovative study 
v.    No ethical violation 

●    Relevant topic of research 
i.    Addressing the effective assessment methods of positive peace education aligned with policy, curriculum, pedagogy and teacher training
ii.    Exploring guidelines and practices in formative assessments of peace education at school level
iii.    Showing good practices in assessment of teacher’s knowledge, skills and attitudes towards positive peace
iv.    Analyzing effects of education and learning on building a more peaceful society
v.    Investigating the role of education in the relationship between cohesive communities and social cohesion, the relationships with building ethical relationships between humanity and nature

●    Targeting population, countries
i.    Countries in Asia-Pacific.
ii.    Comparative case studies from least developed countries, middle income countries, pacific islands, landlocked countries, etc. Pairing of countries to cover cross-border issues. 

Selected researchers should finance their travel to participate in the research seminar planned in early 2023. Given limited funds, researchers from developing countries will be given travel allowances by UNESCO upon request. 

For inquiries, please write to the UNESCO Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education’s Executive Office: eo.bgk@unesco.org 

The complete application shall be submitted on or by 30 November 2022 (extended).