Peace Edu 1920 x 830


Rethinking peace education in a time of endless wars

Hosted by the Centre for Women, Peace and Security



Professor Dianne Otto

Professor Dianne Otto

Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Law School


Professor Christine Chinkin

Professor Christine Chinkin

Professorial Research Fellow, LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security

This event is part of the Gender, Peace, Education and International Law Symposium held under the ERC project ‘A Gendered International Law of Peace’.

What does ‘peace’ mean to us, and to our students, in today’s world of endless wars? How can we explain why the project of ‘universal peace’, so ardently dreamed of by the ‘peoples’ of the United Nations in 1945, has failed so profoundly? As a teacher of public international law, I am guilty of following the now long tradition of teaching about peace tangentially, through topics such as the rules regulating ‘the use of armed force’ and ‘the peaceful settlement of international disputes'. This approach does little to unsettle the UN Charter’s dominant negative understanding of peace as the absence of armed conflict. In this presentation, I rethink my own teaching practise and suggest ways I could have taught these subjects more critically. I also propose some strategies for fostering alternative, more hopeful imaginaries of peace in the classroom, even within the discipline of international law. By drawing on feminist, queer, indigenous and postcolonial dreamings of peace, and discussing some contemporary examples of the efforts of grass roots communities to live in peace, I conclude that rethinking peace in education, law and beyond is not only possible, but imperative. 

About the speaker:

  • Professor Dianne Otto is Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School. Her research in the field of public international law and human rights law includes addressing gender, sexuality and race inequalities, the UN Security Council’s peacekeeping work, technologies of global ‘crisis governance’ and the transformative potential of people’s tribunals. Publications include Queering International Law: Possibilities, Alliances, Complicities, Risks (Routledge 2018).

  • Chair: Professor Christine Chinkin CMG FBA is Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security. Professor Chinkin is a leading expert on international law and human rights law, especially the international human rights of women. In 2000, her co-authored, ground-breaking book with Hilary Charlesworth, ‘The Boundaries of International Law: a feminist analysis’ examined the status of women in human rights and international law’. In 2005, in recognition of this and other contributions, Chinkin and Charlesworth were awarded the American Society of International Law, Goler T. Butcher Medal 'for outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights law’.