Developing an international framework for peace education and peacebuilding

The challenge

A lack of consideration for local community needs is a consistent cause for ineffective international peace education and peacebuilding efforts. International peacebuilding interventions are predominantly mandated by entities such as the United Nations Security Council, or specific State actors. Consequently, interventions overwhelmingly are informed by foreign stakeholder interests and ideals, rather than the interests of the targeted communities. A lack of consideration of community need prevents the necessary engagement for effective and sustainable change.

Further, effective and sustainable Global and Peace Education and peacebuilding strategies require standardised quantitative outcome metrics to allow for accurate monitoring and impact assessment. Such metrics, however, do not exist. Historic international missteps have informed the assumption that such a metric is not feasible due to disparities between community demographic, cultural, and circumstantial aspects. This assumption is contradictory to the fundamental premise on which Global and Peace Education is based. Consequently, the manner in which we develop and assess initiatives to promote Global and Peace Education are based on highly subjective and inaccurate data and assumptions. It is thus no surprise the world finds itself in its most precarious state since World War II.

Project overview

The proposed framework intends to directly associate the needs of the community with how peace education is taught and integrated within a community. To do this, we must first identify the attributes necessary for a community to thrive and be resilient to adverse events (i.e. Positive Peace). The UN Sustainable Development Goals indicate that there are universal components necessary for a community to thrive, regardless of demographics or circumstances. Fields such as psychology and Positive Peace have shown that focusing on universal aspects allows for (a) accurate standardised assessment and (b) comparison of outcome metrics between diverse cohorts.

Our research team intends to develop and psychometrically assess a universal outcome assessment suite relating to Global and Peace Education. By adopting a multidisciplinary approach, we will address the crucial need to allow effective development, promotion, and assessment of Global and Peace Education, and peacebuilding initiatives.

The project first involves both deductive and inductive reasoning for the theoretical development of a universal peace education framework, and quantitative modelling for testing the framework. The overarching design is guided by an inductive grounded theory methodology, yet preliminarily informed via a deductive systematic research synthesis adopting the protocol stipulated by the Campbell Collaboration.

The following core activities will be conducted:

Systematic review of academic and grey literature. A systematic review of academic literature, education policies, and curricula associated with the integration and outcome assessment of peace education. The systematic review will identify the different strategies and approaches toward peace education integration and outcome assessment that will inform the Delphi survey.

Delphi survey. A Delphi survey seeks to obtain reliable expert opinion via a series of questionnaires distributed to a panel, each questionnaire progressively limited in response options until consensus between the experts is reached. The core purpose of the Delphi survey is to identify the key attributes necessary for a community to thrive, and be more resilient to adverse events. An expert panel will be sourced by our research partners from a range of demographics, expertise, and circumstances to best identify traits that are universally applicable regardless of context.

Metric development. A quantitative metric representing the identified universally applicable components will be developed and psychometrically assessed. This will allow for testing the theoretical framework, in addition to testing the theorised relational nature between each component.

Psychometric testing. Data will be collected over two time points using the developed metric via surveys with at least two secondary school communities in NSW being involved with the Institute of Economics and Peace’s Positive Peace Community Program.

Universal Peace Education Framework development. Based on the Delphi survey findings and empirical results, the Universal Positive Peace Education Framework will be finalised, reflecting the universal components, nature of the relationships between such components, and the developed metrics that may be used for both learning outcome and intervention impact assessment.



This project is being supported by Deakin University via an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship awarded to Dr Marcus Horwood. Significant human capital is also being generously provided by our research partners (not quantified) to support this project.


2024 – 2025



peace education, positive peace, community needs, peacebuilding