Learning to Become Smart Radicals: A Regenerative Lens on the Potential for Peace and Reconciliation through Youth and Education Systems
Media coverage and foreign policy around the globe often spread messages of fear about the possible radicalization of the world’s growing youth population. More nuance was brought into these debates in 2015 by UN Security Council Resolution 2250 and the subsequent Global Study on Youth, Peace, and Security (Simpson 2018), while specific attention was directed at the potential of education to support young people’s agency for peacebuilding. In this reflective piece, I aim to bring a fresh perspective to current education in emergencies thinking and offer insights into how a regenerative approach to education can help reshape it to prepare the younger generations to respond effectively to peacebuilding and to the related “wicked challenges.” I bring together two existing conceptual frameworks—the 4Rs (Novelli, Lopes Cardozo, and Smith 2017) and Tomaševski’s 4As (2005; see also Shah and Lopes Cardozo 2019)—that are directly relevant to the education in emergencies field. Building on this conceptual work, I adopt a regenerative lens on reconciliation and engage a law of three framework to encourage a deeper understanding of education’s transgressive potential to inspire alternative, reconciliatory paths toward peacebuilding. I will invite and encourage you, the reader, to apply these regenerative conceptual explorations to your own experience. The aim of this conceptual exploration is to inspire the development of “smartly radical” questions; to support research, policy, and practice design that is more critically informed and consciousness driven; and, finally, to support the transformative potential of education systems and stakeholders to serve younger generations more effectively and enable them to respond to “glocal” challenges in ways that are mindful, conscious, and effective.