Image: President Isaac Herzog and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

The Emirati School Curriculum: When Peace Goes to School

When President Isaac Herzog flies to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, marking the first official visit of an Israeli president to the Gulf state, he will be welcomed by the man who is arguably the Middle East’s most effective educational reformer. According to The New York Times, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also known as MBZ, undertook a bottom-up review of all of his country’s vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks after 9/11. Among other things, MBZ took a long, hard look at the UAE’s education ministry which Islamists had previously made into a state within a state of sorts, demanding a sweeping rewrite of the country’s textbooks. … The UAE is developing strategically to secure a stake in the emerging world order and understands that education for tolerance and peaceful coexistence is critical for societies to flourish. Emirati students are taught that prosperity and national pride are intrinsically linked to peace and tolerance, a theme that runs throughout the curriculum. Textbooks take the psychological well-being of their students seriously, educating young generations morally and spiritually for a rapidly changing global society… Complete Article HERE

Image: Classroom with blackboard in the front

Kurdish Education in Turkey: A Joint Responsibility

Turkish elites often see Kurds as posing a mortal threat to their homeland’s territorial integrity. Kurdish elites often harbor pan-Kurdish dreams of their own. The rise to power of Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 appeared to imply a watershed, bringing about a measure of cultural liberalization toward the Kurds. More Islam seemed at first to signal less nationalistic chauvinism. IMPACT-se, a think tank focusing on peace and tolerance in school education, pointed out that the AKP government introduced liberal elements to the Turkish curriculum. These “included the introduction of a Kurdish language elective program, the teaching of evolution, expressions of cultural openness, and displays of tolerance toward minorities. … a slight improvement over past textbooks in recognizing the Kurds, but they are still generally ignored.” [Yet] the name “Kurd” is no longer obliterated from the curriculum. Kurdish-language textbooks were authored as part of a wider Turkish-Kurdish rapprochement. … But this is not enough. A Turkish-Kurdish common vision should be developed. Educationally, a serious effort should be directed toward educating both Turks and Kurds about each other’s identity, culture, shared history, commonalities, conflicts, and interactions… Complete Article  HERE