Healthy human development as a path to peace

Daniel J. Christie, Catherine Panter-Brick, Mark Tomlinson, Jere R. Behrman, James R. Cochrane, Andrew Dawes, Kirstin Goth, Jacqueline Hayden, Ann S. Masten, Ilham Nasser, Raija-Leena Punamaki

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    What is the potential role of early childhood interventions for promoting peace? From our perspective, healthy human development during early childhood can lay the foundation for the child’s acquisition of complex and speci fi c capacities required to engage in peace-promoting behavior. This chapter focuses on children’s capacity to create, maintain, and restore harmonious and equitable relationships with others. Obstacles and catalysts for healthy human development are identi fi ed, as are the competencies required for children to engage in harmonious and equitable relationships. Sustainable peace in a society requires a “systems approach” that reduces both direct and structural violence and promotes peaceful means and socially just ends. A model is proposed based on four sequential foundations: healthy human development, healthy primary relationships, prosocial interpersonal relations, and the adoption of a peace and social justice orientation toward out-group members. Three case studies are presented to clarify the key concepts and propositions we advance. Drawing on an agentic perspective, in which the child is a producer as well as the product of social environments, our concept of peaceful children implies not only healthy human development and the acquisition of speci fi c developmental capacities for peace, but also the child’s internalization of a set of values that support a commitment to relational harmony and social justice. In conclusion, suggestions for future research are offered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPathways to peace
    Subtitle of host publicationthe transformative power of children and families
    EditorsJames F. Leckman, Catherine Panter-Brick, Rima Salah
    Place of PublicationCambridge, MA
    PublisherMIT Press
    Number of pages30
    ISBN (Print)9780262027984
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameStrungmann forum reports
    PublisherMIT Press


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