Nonviolence Month Lecture




Presented by Professor Magnus Haavelsrud
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Date: Friday, 2 October 2015
Time: 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Location:  Building 21, Room G08

This lecture will mark the second annual Nonviolence Month in commemoration of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of Non-Violence. This event is supported by the International Centre of Nonviolence Australia.

The transformative power of nonviolence has been evidenced in so many contexts and by so many – most notably in the work by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. In this lecture I shall focus on the question of what is the pedagogic foundation for acquiring a nonviolent identity - searching for answers as to how nonviolence can be learned and practiced in education. The child acquires behavior, knowledge and attitudes in tune with the home and peers in the community (informal education). Mass media and other sources of non-formal learning such as religion and organized activities (e.g. sports, music and scouting etc.) also influence the child even before entering formal education. Part of what is learned relates to conflict behavior including the question of violent and nonviolent ways and means in conflict transformations. Violent behavior dominates in some sources of learning whereas the message and practice of nonviolence may be more prevalent in others - it may seem as though some sources specialize in violence and others in nonviolence. This means that the human being has to relate to discrepant messages about ways and means of transforming conflicts. Digesting and processing such discrepancies both theoretically and practically is therefore a challenge. It is argued that all sources of information – informal, non-formal and formal – are important venues for learning to take a stand based on conviction rather than persuasion. To facilitate this pedagogy of conviction some guiding principles will be discussed focusing on how micro conflicts relate to macro conditions and how past, present and future perspectives need to be included in order to grasp the historical roots of conflicts as they impact the present. Most importantly, however, is to offer an educational safe space in the “here and now” for nurturing visions of nonviolent ways and means towards conflict transformation.

Magnus Haavelsrud is Professor emeritus at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Distinguished Fellow of the South African Research Chair in Development Education, University of South Africa. His work deals with the critique of the reproductive role of education and the possibilities for transcendence of this reproduction in light of the traditions of educational sociology and peace research. He took part in the creation of the Peace Education Commission of the International Peace Research Association and served as its 2nd Executive Secretary 1975-79. He worked at the School Program of the Institute for World Order in New York and served as the Carl-von-Ossietzky Guest Professor of the German Council for Peace and Conflict Research. Member of 1) Transcend International since 1993, 2) editorial board of Journal of Peace Education since 2004, 3) Global Advisory Group of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies since 2008.aatron of International Centre of Nonviolence Australia since 2013. 

Last reviewed: 1 October, 2015