Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


Betty Reardon creates the International Institutes on Peace Education (IIPE)


This year, Betty Reardon creates the International Institutes on Peace Education (IIPE), a training program and educational network that has introduced the academic field of peace education to countless educators around the world. IIPE has been a leading site of education for peace for nearly three decades organized annually in sites as diverse as Canada, Costa Rica, Greece, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United States and at the UN. In 2005, upon the nomination of IIPE for the UNESCO Prize in Peace Education, the International Peace Bureau described the educational network as “probably the most effective agent for the introduction of peace education to more educators than any other single non-governmental agency” (quoted in Jenkins, 2007).

Betty Reardon is a peace scholar and educator who was born on June 12, 1929 (the same exact date as Anne Frank), and is recognized by many to be one of the leading theorists of peace education. Indeed, Reardon is a pioneer in this field, and throughout her lifetime she has made significant contributions to peace education. She began her career teaching history for nine years in junior high schools. Her full time dedication to peace education began with her work as director of the School Program of the Institute for World Order, a New York based peace research foundation instrumental in the introduction of world order studies into universities and schools. During her thirteen years at IWO, starting in 1963, she was active in the development of an international network of peace educators, having been instrumental in the founding of the Peace Education Commission of the International Peace Research Association in 1972.  During these years she was also a founder of the World Council for Curriculum and Instruction and was active as a consultant to UNESCO and other international organizations.

Two decades of national and international experience organizing and presenting teacher training workshops and having developed a variety of peace education curriculum materials enabled her to found and develop the first graduate specialization in peace education offered at Teachers College (Columbia University). It was at that time, while Reardon was working from Teachers College in cooperation with United Ministries in Education, that she created the International Institutes on Peace Education (IIPE) in 1982. Since then, the IIPE –which she considers her most lasting and influential achievement- has continued to develop in form and substance under the direction of Anthony Jenkins.

As an educator, Reardon’s work has centered on the design and development of peace education curriculum, peace programs, in-service training seminars, and research projects, as well as the identification of new themes in peace education. She was instrumental to the formation of a global perspective in the field, where her work draws on strands of disarmament education, development education, human rights education, gender mainstreaming, and planetary stewardship. Her approach to peace education aims to form new institutional alliances among NGOs, universities, agencies, and civil society, and to generate regional cooperation toward social transformation and peacebuilding. Reardon’s practice of peace education concerns both content and pedagogy for peace. For her, peace education communities foster peace through dialogical exploration of contemporary issues, the sharing of best teaching practices, and envisioning methods for individuals, societies and education to respond to emerging political, social, cultural, and ecological challenges.

Reardon regularly serves as a consultant to UN agencies and educational organizations, and has taught at universities across the world, perhaps most significantly in North America, Europe, and Eastern Asia. She was the initiator of the Hague Appeal for Peace Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE) at The Hague Conference in 1999, and contributed to the design and development of the Peace Education Master’s Degree Program at the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2002. She is a very prolific author and has published widely in the field of peace, human rights education, and women’s issues.

Reardon’s contributions to the field of peace education focus on disarmament education, gender, human rights, and cultures of peace, and her model of peace education, as illustrated in the GCPE, emphasizes learning knowledge, values, skills and capacities to understand root causes of war, knowing international human rights and humanitarian law, having skills to resolve conflict nonviolently, and the capacities to envision non-violent, peaceful and shared futures. Her most notable books on the subject of peace include Sexism and the War System (1985), Comprehensive Peace Education (1988), Educating for Human Dignity (1995), Education for a Culture of Peace in a Gender Perspective (2001), and Learning to Abolish War (2002, with Alicia Cabezudo). Many of Reardon’s writings and publications are archived in the Ward M. Canaday Special Collections of the University of Toledo.

Reardon was the recipient of the Honorable Mention Award in Paris by UNESCO at the Peace Education Prize Ceremonies in 2001, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 with the 1000 Women for Peace initiative, and is also the recipient of the 2009 International Peace Bureau’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize. Her insights and perspectives on peace, nonviolence, and gender have shaped the field of peace education over the last 50 years. Betty Reardon is one of the most influential and visionary peace educators. She is a prominent figure in the tradition of peace education that includes many other peace women like Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, Maria Montessori, Birgit Brock-Utne and Elise Boulding. Presently, in the 21st century, many of Reardon's students, inspired by her teachings and work, are directing peace education centers and participating in peace education projects around the world.



Jenkins, Tony (2007). Community-based institutes on peace education (CIPE). Organizer’s manual. New York: IIPE.

Reardon, Betty (1985). Sexism and the war system. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Reardon, Betty (1988). Comprehensive peace education: Educating for global responsibility. New York: Teachers College Columbia University Press.

Reardon, Betty (1995). Educating for human dignity. Philadelphia: Penn Press.

Reardon, Betty (2001). Education for a culture of peace in a gender perspective. Paris: UNESCO Publishing.

Reardon, Betty, and Cabezudo, Alicia (2002). Learning to abolish war. New York: Hague Appeal for Peace.


Prepared by Kevin Kester, OISE/University of Toronto, 2010


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