Child Soldiers, Peace Education, and Postconflict Reconstruction for Peace


Wessells, Michael. 2005. “Child Soldiers, Peace Education, and Postconflict Reconstruction for Peace.” Theory Into Practice 44 (4): 363-69.

Author: Michael Wessells


Worldwide, children are drawn into lives as soldiers and terrorism as the result of forced recruitment and also by extremist ideologies and their inability to obtain security, food, power, prestige, education, and positive life options through civilian means. Using an example from Sierra Leone, this article shows that peace education is an essential element in a holistic approach to the reintegration of former child soldiers and to the prevention of youth's engagement in violence and terrorism. In the post-conflict context, effective peace education has a stronger practical than didactic focus, and it stimulates empathy, cooperation, reconciliation, and community processes for handling conflict in a nonviolent manner. These processes play a key role also in the prevention of children's engagement in violence and terrorism.

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, DDR, Education, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Peacebuilding, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2005

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