VIRTUAL DON QUIXOTE: A RETROSPECT OF DIGITAL PEACE BUILDING RUTH FIRER (PH.D) THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM, 2017
Hebrew University of Jerusalem (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Digital Peace Education is almost the only feasible way of education in a violent conflict and in a post conflict process of healing, as well as among parties in societies torn by rifts and problems. With this conviction I started a Digital Peace Building project in an academic classroom that consisted of 14 of Israeli Jews, Muslim and Christian students during the first decade of the millennium.
The project was sponsored by The Truman Institute for Advancement of Peace, at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and ODISEAME — The European Middle East Virtual University.
Those B.A. students were Israeli primary schools teachers of the three Abrahamic religions, who needed an academic degree in order to teach in middle or high schools. That special academic degree was initiated by the Hebrew University and the Israeli Teachers Union. My course was named "From War Culture to Peace Culture" and included readings and discussions of articles on Peace and Human Rights Education.
The students had to prepare papers about their relative religions/cultures/history and present their findings and problems by virtual and alive devices. During the academic year they were encouraged to establish digital contacts with "the others" in the classroom. For their papers, students were invited to reread the Koran, or the New Testament or the Old Testament, as well as their own history as recited by "other" historians and to reconsider the expressions/information (positive and negative) concerning "the others". Some of them choose to compose "Fill in Packages" for their teaching curricula and textbooks.
While most of them used freely the E learning and the digital channels with me, no contact was established among themselves: The Israeli Palestinians (Muslims and Christians) blamed the Jewish students for the State's discrimination and expected them to change it, while the Jews were, merely, inclined to be friendly and apologetic: All Parties learned about themselves but were disappointed with the "others".
Still, identifying with Don Quixote, I believe that Virtual grassroots Peace Building should be an essential part of every school and academy within States and societies in conflict.
Keywords: Virtual Peace building, e-learning, Israeli Palestinian conflict.