Durability of peace education effects in the shadow of conflict

Yigal Rosen, Gavriel Salomon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Value-oriented instructional programs, such as anti-racism, may often face societal barriers. A case in point are peace education programs in conflictual contexts. Close analysis of peace education programs in regions of conflict and tension suggest that they face formidable barriers that would appear to prevent the attainment of their goals of mutual legitimization, changed attitudes and empathy. However, positive research findings suggest otherwise. A possible solution of this contradiction is the distinction between strongly held and not easily changeable attitudes and beliefs, called "convictions" (Abelson, American Psychologist 43: 267-275 1988) and more regular attitudes. Possibly, the barriers facing peace education may pertain to convictions while the positive impact of peace education may pertain to less strongly held attitudes and beliefs. The present study examined the possible differential changes in more or less central beliefs when Israeli Jewish and Israeli Palestinian youth participated in a year long, school-based peace education program. This study also examined the durability of the program's effects on the 956 adolescent study participants divided into program and no-program controls. Findings showed that such a peace education program can effectively influence adolescents' more peripheral beliefs but not the core beliefs that stand in the center of the groups' collective narratives. However, peripheral beliefs that are more easily affected can as easily change back, apparently by the context of adverse social and political forces.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-147
    Number of pages13
    JournalSocial Psychology of Education
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 2011


    • Central beliefs
    • Collective narrative
    • Intractable conflict
    • Peace education
    • Peripheral beliefs

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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