The complexity of globalization processes involving EU and non EU countries requires the construction of a cosmopolitan frame of thinking. This in turn requires the development of specific educational strategies aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue and the construction of new identities that emerge from the possibilities presented by our engagement with the Other. Educational strategies offer cognitive, affective and social tools through which to address prejudices and stereotypes, and which prepare students for active citizenship in a diverse and complex society.
An effective educational approach to developing cosmopolitan engagement is through the promotion of complex thinking thereby enabling children to use critical, creative and caring frames of reasoning and understanding [LIPMAN 2003]. Utilizing the validated methodology of Philosophy for Children (P4C) in which complex thinking is developed through the construction of communities of philosophical inquiry, this project seeks to create a cosmopolitan environment in which children from diverse cultures open themselves to one another as they construct their own identities and come to appreciate one another’s potentiality in building a just society. Through participation in such communities of inquiry, children at the risk of marginalization or exclusion (cultural, social or economic), and children who move comfortably in the majority culture, come to engage with one another on equal terms as they seek to construct meaning, develop a worldview and seek their own response to the question: “How ought we live?”
The emphasis of the PEACE project is on designing, testing and validating a new P4C curriculum focused on cosmopolitan engagement and intercultural dialogue. PEACE will impact on educational practices, by giving educators specialized professional development, new teaching strategies and materials, and by improving the reasoning and relational skills of children. Through making the new pedagogical strategies, curriculum and educational resources available to other contexts and countries, the scope of PEACE will be widened and cosmopolitan awareness will be promoted.
The ultimate aim of PEACE is to disseminate to the widest possible section of society the idea that it is possible to contribute to the development of a cosmopolitan orientation and engagement amongst future citizens through dedicated educational tools and practices.