A group of four girls in Pakistan reading children's books in a school

Education as a Key to Solving Conflicts

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Peace, Stability, and Transition | Peacebuilding and Reconciliation
When working in conflict zones, peacebuilding practitioners often overlook the crucial role that education can play in solving conflict. Expert Stacia George makes the case for a shift in the way we think about crisis intervention.

Those of us who work in peacebuilding pull out every tool in our toolbox to solve conflicts — we talk about infrastructure, jobs, agriculture, governance, and youth programs.

But youth programs tend to focus on out-of-school individuals aged 18-35 years old, not school-aged children. And rarely do people talk about supporting children — nor education — unless it is about rebuilding schools, vocational training, or jump-starting immediate education services. While broader support to the education system remains undiscussed.

This needs to change.

Too often, those of us in the conflict field do not reach out to education experts, even though there are resources and experts who work specifically on education in conflict settings, such as the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies.

Many conflict experts view education as a long-term effort, too slow to provide merit in the immediate-term, while others feel too stressed by a crisis to find the time to figure out who to turn to and what to do —  but they should. Education is a solution that peacebuilders should consider, and peacebuilders could learn a lot from educators on how to change human behavior.


I hope my fellow conflict practitioners hold conversations around all youth and reach out to learn from and collaborate with our education partners because in the conflict field where the answers are not always evident, we can find one clearly in education.

Contrary to what some may think, quick education responses exist. I have seen how education can bring immediate-term benefits in conflict areas by bringing people together, helping them solve problems, and giving them a path forward.

Programs, such as the Idarah program in Syria, offer immediate access to education including remedial learning, the promotion of inclusion, and psychosocial support to address biases and trauma that fuel a conflict. We know that conflicts require long-term solutions as well, so why rule that out? Long-term reforms should still be prioritized simultaneously. Read the full article on Devex.