In order to address the predictable union between “literacy” and “peace”, it is to Plato that I turn. In one of his books, the classical theoretician of ethics and morality in nation-building suggested that the transformation and advancement of the (Greek) nation devolve on the training of the youth. In order to have peace (and internal security), the citizens must undergo a balanced training of the body and the mind. The dialectic of peace and literacy is such that can be understood proverbially as the common relationship/accord between the smoke and the fire.
Whereas literacy can be imagined as the smoke of development, peace is the fire which feeds the development. The interpretation has extensive possibilities… Of literacy Literacy is the ability to read and write; literacy is the quality of being civilized; literacy is the power of understanding; literacy is the awareness of the poverty around you and the resolve to change, to transform and to be informed. Literacy rides on the wings of a people’s determination to force change and sustain it for the public good, and for the edification of the human mind.
Literacy is the village with a reading centre, it is the town with a network of libraries, literacy is the city with a connection of convention and information centers, the grill of private and public institutions committed to the joys of learning. When my grandmother knows the difference between the logos of one political party and the other, that is literacy; if your grandfather becomes aware of the importance of public health, public hygiene, good governance, or if that middle-aged woman enrolls in the adult education class for the sole purpose of self-development, that is Literacy.
If Literacy is the absence of ignorance, peace is the absence of war, the suspension of strife in the society. Peace is the foster-child of harmony among the people; peace is the path to security, the condition of order and sustainable development. Peace is the symbolic but huge handshake of understanding between opposite and contrary communities. Where conflicts rule, peace is bred by constructive dialogue and mutual respect. Therefore, peace is not only the absence of war, but the presence of equality and justice. Peace is the pipette of literacy, just as literacy is the conduit of peace.
Both literacy and peace are siamese parts of cultural development and education. Cultural catalysts to change Literary organizations and academics are important institutions and groups to develop literacy and sustain peace in the society. Literary associations provide the creative space, and academics are the first line of the cultural intelligentsia in the promotion of literacy and peace. Indeed, access to good education saves a nation from strife and ignorance. Good learning accelerates development; but development is only sustainable in an atmosphere of peace.
What to Do For teachers and students – creation of reading groups, affiliation with other/professional literary societies For Authors – collaboration with other authors and encouragement of reading and creativity among the youth For Librarians – generation of conducive and interactive atmosphere which engenders learning… For Literary societies – laying emphasis on regular refresher programmes (workshops, symposia and seminars) with purposive ideas the ultimate objective of which is “the education of the human mind”.
END. 1. Ethics/Morality is the gap in the dialectic of Literacy and Peace Ethics is the measuring rod. 2. “Peace is not only the absence of war, but the presence of equality and justice”. 3. The Nigerian author and the question of international recognition. 4. Part of the modules of a course I teach: Literacy, e-Literacy and Illiteracy (digital divide, Web 2. 0 Technology)… ILD is traditionally observed on September 8 every year. The Day was set to bring to fore the worldwide literacy needs.
According to the United Nations, “more than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education. ” In Nigeria, ILD coincides with the beginning of a new school year. This presents a great opportunity for all Nigerians to reflect on the importance of literacy in the lives of Nigerian children and adults. The following roundtable program is planned to kick-start the U. S. Mission’s contribution towards encouraging literacy in Nigeria.
This event is aimed at highlighting the importance of literacy, education and life-long learning. There will be a roundtable discussion on the theme – Literacy and Peace (http://bit. ly/literacy2011) by stakeholders. These include the Government, Teachers, Parents, Librarians and Civil Societies. Consul General, Lagos will flag off the event with a keynote message on the theme, while the PAO/PDO moderates the discussion. Target Audience: High Schools (Teachers and Students), Authors, Librarians, Literary societies Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011 Venue: PAS, 2 Broad Street.