Essay On Peace Education
Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.
There are numerous United Nations declarations on the importance of peace education.Ban Ki Moon, U.N. Secretary General, has dedicated the International Day of Peace 2013 to peace education in an effort to refocus minds and financing on the preeminence of peace education as the means to bring about a culture of peace.Koichiro Matsuura, the immediate past Director-General of UNESCO, has written of peace education as being of "fundamental importance to the mission of UNESCO and the United Nations". Peace education as a right is something which is now increasingly emphasized by peace researchers such as Betty Reardon and Douglas Roche. There has also been a recent meshing of peace education and human rights education.
Ian Harris and John Synott have described peace education as a series of "teaching encounters" that draw from people:
- their desire for peace,
- nonviolent alternatives for managing conflict, and
- skills for critical analysis of structural arrangements that produce and legitimize injustice and inequality.
James Page suggests peace education be thought of as "encouraging a commitment to peace as a settled disposition and enhancing the confidence of the individual as an individual agent of peace; as informing the student on the consequences of war and social injustice; as informing the student on the value of peaceful and just social structures and working to uphold or develop such social structures; as encouraging the student to love the world and to imagine a peaceful future; and as caring for the student and encouraging the student to care for others".
Often the theory or philosophy of peace education has been assumed and not articulated. Johan Galtung suggested in 1975 that no theory for peace education existed and that there was clearly an urgent need for such theory. More recently there have been attempts to establish such a theory. Joachim James Calleja has suggested that a philosophical basis for peace education might be located in the Kantian notion of duty.James Page has suggested that a rationale for peace education might be located in virtue ethics, consequentialist ethics, conservative political ethics, aesthetic ethics and the ethics of care.
Since the early decades of the 20th century, "peace education" programs around the world have represented a spectrum of focal themes, including anti-nuclearism, international understanding, environmental responsibility, communication skills, nonviolence, conflict resolution techniques, democracy, human rights awareness, tolerance of diversity, coexistence and gender equality, among others. Some[who?] have also addressed spiritual dimensions of inner harmony, or synthesized a number of the foregoing issues into programs on world citizenship. While academic discourse on the subject has increasingly recognized the need for a broader, more holistic approach to peace education, a review of field-based projects reveals that three variations of peace education are most common: conflict resolution training, democracy education, and human rights education. New approaches are emerging and calling into question some of theoretical foundations of the models just mentioned. The most significant of these new approaches focuses on peace education as a process of worldview transformation.
Conflict resolution training
Peace education programs centered on conflict resolution typically focus on the social-behavioural symptoms of conflict, training individuals to resolve inter-personal disputes through techniques of negotiation and (peer) mediation. Learning to manage anger, "fight fair" and improve communication through skills such as listening, turn-taking, identifying needs, and separating facts from emotions, constitute the main elements of these programs. Participants are also encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to brainstorm together on compromises
In general, approaches of this type aim to "alter beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours...from negative to positive attitudes toward conflict as a basis for preventing violence" (Van Slyck, Stern and Elbedour, 1999, emphasis added). There are various styles or approaches in conflict resolution training (ADR, Verbal Aikido, NVC) that can give the practitioner the means to accept the conflictual situation and orient it towards a peaceful resolution. As one peer mediation coordinator put it: "Conflict is very natural and normal, but you can't go through your entire life beating everybody up—you have to learn different ways to resolve conflict".
Peace education programs centered on democracy education typically focus on the political processes associated with conflict, and postulate that with an increase in democratic participation the likelihood of societies resolving conflict through violence and war decreases. At the same time, "a democratic society needs the commitment of citizens who accept the inevitability of conflict as well as the necessity for tolerance" (U.S. Department of State, The Culture of Democracy, emphasis added). Thus programs of this kind attempt to foster a conflict-positive orientation in the community by training students to view conflict as a platform for creativity and growth.
Approaches of this type train participants in the skills of critical thinking, debate and coalition-building, and promote the values of freedom of speech, individuality, tolerance of diversity, compromise and conscientious objection. Their aim is to produce "responsible citizens" who will hold their governments accountable to the standards of peace, primarily through adversarial processes. Activities are structured to have students "assume the role of the citizen that chooses, makes decisions, takes positions, argues positions and respects the opinions of others": skills that a multi-party democracy are based upon. Based on the assumption that democracy decreases the likelihood of violence and war, it is assumed that these are the same skills necessary for creating a culture of peace.
Human rights education
Peace education programs centered on raising awareness of human rights typically focus at the level of policies that humanity ought to adopt in order to move closer to a peaceful global community. The aim is to engender a commitment among participants to a vision of structural peace in which all individual members of the human race can exercise their personal freedoms and be legally protected from violence, oppression and indignity.
Approaches of this type familiarize participants with the international covenants and declarations of the United Nations system; train students to recognize violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and promote tolerance, solidarity, autonomy and self-affirmation at the individual and collective levels.
Human rights education "faces continual elaboration, a significant theory-practice gap and frequent challenge as to its validity". In one practitioner's view:
"Human rights education does not work in communities fraught with conflict unless it is part of a comprehensive approach... In fact, such education can be counterproductive and lead to greater conflict if people become aware of rights which are not realized. In this respect, human rights education can increase the potential for conflict"
To prevent these outcomes, many such programs are now being combined with aspects of conflict resolution and democracy education schools of thought, along with training in nonviolent action.
Some approaches to peace education start from insights gleaned from psychology which recognize the developmental nature of human psychosocial dispositions. Essentially, while conflict-promoting attitudes and behaviours are characteristic of earlier phases of human development, unity-promoting attitudes and behaviours emerge in later phases of healthy development. H.B. Danesh (2002a, 2002b, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008a, 2008b) proposes an "Integrative Theory of Peace" in which peace is understood as a psychosocial, political, moral and spiritual reality. Peace education, he says, must focus on the healthy development and maturation of human consciousness through assisting people to examine and transform their worldviews. Worldviews are defined as the subconscious lens (acquired through cultural, family, historical, religious and societal influences) through which people perceive four key issues: 1) the nature of reality, 2) human nature, 3) the purpose of existence, 4) the principles governing appropriate human relationships. Surveying a mass of material, Danesh argues that the majority of people and societies in the world hold conflict-based worldviews, which express themselves in conflicted intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, and international relationships. He subdivides conflict-based worldviews into two main categories which he correlates to phases of human development: the Survival-Based Worldview and the Identity-Based Worldview. It is through the acquisition of a more integrative, Unity-Based Worldview that human capacity to mitigate conflict, create unity in the context of diversity, and establish sustainable cultures of peace, is increased—be it in the home, at school, at work, or in the international community.
Critical peace education and yogic peace education
Modern forms of peace education relate to new scholarly explorations and applications of techniques used in peace education internationally, in plural communities and with individuals. Critical Peace Education (Bajaj 2008, 2015; Bajaj & Hantzopoulos 2016; Trifonas & Wright 2013) is an emancipatory pursuit that seeks to link education to the goals and foci of social justice disrupting inequality through critical pedagogy (Freire 2003). Critical peace education addresses the critique that peace education is imperial and impository mimicking the 'interventionism' of Western peacebuilding by foregrounding local practices and narratives into peace education (Salomon 2004; MacGinty & Richmond 2007). The project of critical peace education includes conceiving of education as a space of transformation where students and teachers become change agents that recognise past and present experiences of inequity and bias and where schools become strategic sites for fostering emancipatory change. Where Critical Peace Education is emancipatory, seeking to foster full humanity in society for everyone, yogic peace education (Standish & Joyce 2017) in concerned with transforming personal (as opposed to interpersonal, structural or societal/cultural) violence. In yogic peace education, techniques from yogic science are utilised to alter the physical, mental and spiritual instrument of humanity (the self) to address violence that comes from within. Contemporary peace education (similar to all peace education) relate to specific forms of violence (and their transformation) and similar to teaching human rights and conflict resolution in schools critical peace education and yogic peace education are complementary curricula that seek to foster positive peace and decrease violence in society.
Toh Swee-Hin (1997) observes that each of the various streams of peace education "inevitably have their own dynamics and 'autonomy' in terms of theory and practice". "Salomon (2002) has described how the challenges, goals, and methods of peace education differ substantially between areas characterized by intractable conflict, interethnic tension, or relative tranquility".
Salomon (2002) raises the problem and its consequences:
"Imagine that medical practitioners would not distinguish between invasive surgery to remove malignant tumors and surgery to correct one's vision. Imagine also that while surgeries are practiced, no research and no evaluation of their differential effectiveness accompany them. The field would be considered neither very serious nor very trustworthy. Luckily enough, such a state of affairs does not describe the field of medicine, but it comes pretty close to describing the field of peace education. First, too many profoundly different kinds of activities taking place in an exceedingly wide array of contexts are all lumped under the same category label of "peace education" as if they belong together. Second, for whatever reason, the field's scholarship in the form of theorizing, research and program evaluation badly lags behind practice… In the absence of clarity of what peace education really is, or how its different varieties relate to each other, it is unclear how experience with one variant of peace education in one region can usefully inform programs in another region."
According to Clarke-Habibi (2005), "A general or integrated theory of peace is needed: one that can holistically account for the intrapersonal, inter-personal, inter-group and international dynamics of peace, as well as its main principles and pre-requisites. An essential component of this integrated theory must also be the recognition that a culture of peace can only result from an authentic process of transformation, both individual and collective."
News about Peace Education
Up-to-date news about peace education initiatives is provided by the Global Campaign for Peace Education on their website. Another source is the Culture of Peace News Network, which is dedicated to education for a culture of peace. See especially the CPNN section Where is Peace Education Taking Place?
- "Peace Education, Principles", Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation(PDF), Berlin: Berghof Foundation, 2012
- "Peace Education, Methods", Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation(PDF), Berlin: Berghof Foundation, 2012
- Uli Jäger (2014), "Peace Education and Conflict Transformation", Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation, Online Version(PDF), Berlin: Berghof Foundation
- ^Page, James S. (2008) Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations. Chapter 1. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59311-889-1. Chapter details; and Page, James S. (2008) 'Chapter 9: The United Nations and Peace Education'. In: Monisha Bajaj (ed.)Encyclopedia of Peace Education. (75-83). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59311-898-3. Further information
- ^Peace Day 2013 Countdown
- ^Other examples include:
- Constitution of UNESCO, adopted 16 November 1945.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Section 26.
- Recommendation Concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace, and Education Relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Section 18.
- Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 29.1(d).
- Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action – World Conference on Human Rights, Part 2, Paragraphs 78–82, which identify peace education as part of human rights education, and which identifies this education as vital for world peace
- Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, Articles 1 and 4.
- Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, Articles 1/4 and B/9.
- A World Fit for Children, Articles 5 and 20
- United Study on Disarmament and Non-proliferation Education, Article 20.
- ^Matsuura, Koichiro. (2008) 'Foreword'. In: J.S.Page Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. p.xix.
- ^Reardon, Betty. (1997). 'Human Rights as Education for Peace'. In: G.J. Andrepoulos and R.P. Claude (eds.) Human Rights Education for the Twenty-First Century. (255-261). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
- ^Roche, Douglas. (1993). The Human Right to Peace. Toronto: Novalis.
- ^United Nations General Assembly. (1993) Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (World Conference on Human Rights). New York: United Nations. (A/CONF. 157/23 on June 25, 1993). Part 2, Paragraphs 78-82.
- ^Harris, Ian and Synott, John. (2002) 'Peace Education for a New Century' Social Alternatives 21(1):3-6
- ^Page, James S. (2008) Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. p. 189. ISBN 978-1-59311-889-1. Chapter details
- ^Galtung, Johan (1975) Essays in Peace Research, Volume 1. Copenhagen: Eljers. pp. 334-339.
- ^Calleja, Joachim James (1991) 'A Kantian Epistemology of Education and Peace: An Examination of Concepts and Values'. Unpublishd PhD Thesis. Bradford University.
- ^Page, James S. (2008) Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59311-889-1. Chapter details
- ^See Groff, L., and Smoker, P. (1996). Creating global-local cultures of peace. Peace and Conflict Studies Journal, 3, (June); Harris, I.M. (1999). Types of peace education. In A. Raviv, L. Oppenheimer, and D. Bar-Tal (Eds.), How Children Understand War and Peace (pp. 299-317). San Francisco: Jossey- Bass Publishers; Johnson, M.L. (1998). Trends in peace education. ERIC Digest. ED417123; Swee-Hin Toh. 1997. “Education for Peace: Towards a Millennium of Well-Being”. Paper for the Working Document of the International Conference on Culture of Peace and Governance (Maputo, Mozambique, 1–4 September 1997)
- ^See Deutsch, M. (1993). Educating for a peaceful world. American Psychologist, 48, 510-517; Hakvoort, I. and Oppenheimer, L. (1993). Children and adolescents' conceptions of peace, war, and strategies to attain peace: A Dutch case study. Journal of Peace Research, 30, 65-77; Harris, I.M. (1999). Types of peace education. In A. Raviv, L. Oppenheimer, and D. Bar-Tal (Eds.), How Children Understand War and Peace (pp. 299-317). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
- ^Van Slyck, M.R., Stern, M., and Elbedour, S. (1999). Adolescents' beliefs about their conflict behaviour. In A. Raviv, L. Oppenheimer, and D. Bar-Tal (Eds.), How Children Understand War and Peace (pp. 208-230). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
- ^Jeffries, R. Examining barriers to effective peace education reform. Contemporary Education, 71, 19-22.
- ^U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs. (n.d.). The culture of democracy. Retrieved January 13, 2003, from http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/whatsdem/whatdm6.htm
- ^Quoted from CIVITAS BiH, a program of democracy and human rights education in primary, secondary and tertiary schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina. http://www.civitas.ba/nastavni_planovi/index.php
- ^Brabeck, K. (2001). Justification for and implementation of peace education. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 7, 85-87.
- ^Swee-Hin Toh. 1997. "Education for Peace: Towards a Millennium of Well-Being". Paper for the Working Document of the International Conference on Culture of Peace and Governance (Maputo, Mozambique, 1–4 September 1997)
- ^Parlevliet, M. (n.d.). Quoted in Pitts, D. (2002). Human rights education in diverse, developing nations: A case in point – South Africa. Issues of Democracy, 7 (March). Retrieved January 12, 2003, from http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itdhr/0302/ijde/pitts1.htm
- ^Kevin Kester. 2008. Developing peace education programs: Beyond ethnocentrism and violence. Peace Prints, 1(1), 37-64.
- ^Danesh, H. B. (2006). Towards an integrative theory of peace education. Journal of Peace Education, 3(1), 55–78.
Danesh, H. B. (2007). Education for peace: The pedagogy of civilization. In Z. Beckerman & C. McGlynn (Eds.), Addressing ethnic conflict through peace education: International perspectives. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Danesh, H. B. (2008a). Creating a culture of healing in schools and communities: An integrative approach to prevention and amelioration of violence-induced conditions, Journal of Community Psychology.
Danesh, H. B. (2008b). The education for peace integrated curriculum: Concepts, contents, effi cacy. Journal of Peace Education.
Danesh, H. B., & Clarke-Habibi, S. (2007). Education for peace curriculum manual: A conceptual and practical guide. EFP-International Press.
Danesh, H. B., & Danesh, R. P. (2002a). A consultative conflict resolution model: Beyond alternative dispute resolution. International Journal of Peace Studies, 7(2), 17–33.
Danesh, H. B., & Danesh, R. P. (2002b). Has conflict resolution grown up? Toward a new model of decision making and conflict resolution. International Journal of Peace Studies, 7(1), 59–76.
Danesh, H. B., & Danesh, R. P. (2004). Conflict-free conflict resolution (CFCR): Process and methodology. Peace and Conflict Studies, 11(2), 55–84.
- ^Salomon, G. (2004). "Comment: what is peace education?" Journal of Peace Education, 1:1, 123-127.
- ^Mac Ginty, R. & Richmond, O. (2007). "Myth or Reality: Opposing Views on the Liberal Peace and Post-War Reconstruction,", Global Society 21: 491-7
- ^Bajaj, M. (2008). Encyclopedia of Peace Education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing
- ^Bajaj, M. (2015). 'Pedagogies of Resistance' and critical peace education praxis. Journal of Peace Education Vol. 12(2): 154-166.
- ^Bajaj, M. & Hantzopooulos, M. (Eds) (2016). Introduction: Theory, Research, and Praxis of Peace Education in Peace Education: International Perspectives. New York: Bloomsbury (1-16).
- ^Trifonas, P. P. & Wright, B. (2013). "Introduction," in Critical Peace Education: Difficult Dialogues. New York: Springer, (xiii-xx).
- ^Standish, K. & Joyce, J (2017). (Forthcoming) Yogic Peace Education: Theory and Practice. Jefferson: McFarland and Company.
- ^Salomon, G. (2002). "The Nature of Peace Education: Not All Programs Are Created Equal" in G. Salomon and B. Nevo (eds.) Peace education: The concept, principles and practices in the world. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Quoted in Nelson, Linden L. (2000). "Peace Education from a Psychological Perspective: Contributions of the Peace and Education Working Group of the American Psychological Association Div. 48."
- ^Clarke-Habibi, Sara. (2005) "Transforming Worldviews: The Case of Education for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina". Journal of Transformative Education, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 33-56.
- ^http://www.peace-ed-campaign.org/category/categories/news/ Global Campaign for Peace Education: News & Highlights
- ^http://culture-of-peace.info/vita/2011/journal_peace_education.html Education for a Culture of Peace: The Culture of Peace News Network as a Case Study
- ^http://cpnn-world.org/new/?p=6439 Where is Peace Education Taking Place?
Education for peace and respect for human rights is particularly important in this period, if we compare the values this education promotes with the daily violence, the horrors of war and the gradual destruction of values such as solidarity, cooperation and respect for others: all of them problems that assault us every day.
Indiscriminate persecution, massacres and ethnic cleansing are difficult to explain when our shocked and surprised students ask us about them; perhaps they are even incomprehensible in the context of education. It is harder still to clarify these processes when the possible solution for acts such as these is, in fact, the continued bombing of cities and of a desperate civilian population.
We also come across extreme everyday situations when we analyse the inequality and injustice of our socio-economic surroundings and the brutal violence of our “ideal” modern societies… in which it is the state itself that attacks the population, where individualism and self interest are promoted and where whatever is considered “different” becomes “dangerous”. These are all wars, of a different type, but with the same ingredients of injustice, violence and destruction.
Here the responses of educators become drained of content and their explanations no longer work. The practice of building knowledge through research, reading, the analysis of information, interviews, genesis of conflicts, systematisation of what has been learnt, the development of critical thinking, etc, should lead us to rethink the educational model applied until now. This model is perhaps slightly naive, despite its apparent progressive pedagogical nature, and it is one with which educators ourselves have come to be unhappy.
I believe that Peace Education, although considered a transversal element in many educational curriculum models around the world, has in fact been conceived as a secondary matter. Something necessary but accidental, important but not essential, present but “absent”. A view of the curriculum which dignifies it without modifying it, without designing new alternatives for a humanitarian, ethical, civic education — something increasingly necessary in the world we live in.
Because Peace Education means developing a critical, serious and profound approach to the current situation of which we form a part and the historical epoch in which we find ourselves, an undeniable reality that does not always appear in the plans of the Ministries, of educational institutions nor of many principals and teachers.Peace Education has been conceived as a secondary matter; something necessary but accidental, important but not essential, present but “absent”
“Peace is not defined only by the absence of war and conflict, it is also a dynamic concept that needs to be grasped in positive terms, such as the presence of social justice and harmony, the possibility for human beings to fully realise their potential and respect for their right to live with dignity throughout their lives. Sustainable human development is not possible without peace. And without just, equitable, ongoing planning, peace cannot be maintained.”1
These concepts, particularly relevant in the context of the analysis we are currently trying to develop, should influence all imaginable pedagogical proposals for Peace Education, giving it a multidimensional character, able to reach into different areas.
We are witnessing today a reworking of our models and our vocabularies and we understand that there are major changes in the concept of peace, above all as it relates to the opposite term, “war”. This conceptual modification should be integrated, along with the methodology for teaching it, into the learning of teachers and students.
Indeed, after many years the idea of peace has evolved and a broader and more complex understanding of it now relates it to the concepts of fairness, justice, respect for human rights, the rights of peoples and tolerance. Alongside this process, teaching practices in Peace Education have also been modified, taking on a clear commitment to the principles of democratic participation along with the implementation of educational activities which include issues of nonviolence and conflict transformation by peaceful means, with a view to building a more compassionate, juster and fairer society.Peace, as an individual, social, national and international value must be analysed in depth from an interdisciplinary and multidimensional perspective
Armed conflicts in other parts of the world now make us more open to a cognitive, systematic and up to date treatment of the miseries and cruelties of war and also to the analysis of its terrible consequences, using the multiple resources that the media allow us, bringing it closer to us. Peace, as an individual, social, national and international value must be tested and analysed in depth from an interdisciplinary and multidimensional perspective.
The geographical and historical treatment of the subject is necessary but not sufficient. Concepts and issues such as nationalism, sovereignty and the state; the role of the UN in the world of today; the reality of different ethnicities and their complicated coexistence; intercultural dialogue; solutions and disagreements within conflicts; the situation of refugees and their terrible defencelessness before the attacks of “friends” and enemies; crime related to drugs and prostitution; the dangers of nuclear war; the arms race and the arms trade as a profitable global business are urgent and important issues.
All of these issues desperately need to be the subject of reflection, debate, research and criticism by both teachers and students in an ongoing exercise of deepening knowledge, developed both individually and collectively on the basis of obtaining information from many sources, promoting the exchange of different opinions, developing critical judgment and the respect for diversity2.
But even this is not enough if we isolate the international problems that distress us so much from the everyday “wars” of the society in which we live. Marginalisation, social exclusion, violence and persecution are not things that we can only find in news reports about Mexico, Colombia, Syria, Crimea, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan…An obligatory task of education is to link direct open conflicts with those “wars” which have other features
There are other “wars” much closer to home, right next to us. Social inequality, lack of vital resources for much of the population, unemployment and poverty create hopelessness and distrust of democratically elected governments. Authoritarian mechanisms, the control of information, crimes, delinquency and impunity are part of our political life.
In this sense, war is not so far away… and not only because of the globalisation of the arms trade or the information that we receive from the transnational media. It is a daily war to survive in terrible conditions of housing and health, of education and employment, of the insufficiency of essential public services and insecurity, with basic inherent principles of human dignity being trampled on every day in many countries and continents.
It is an obligatory task of education to link these two aspects: the direct open conflicts with those “wars” which have other features but are no less intense. Only through a comprehensive analysis of the roots of violence, its characteristics, forms and consequences can we make it possible to achieve a critical reflection, at the levels of both the individual and society, so as to generate possible changes that may lead towards a lasting peace in today’s world.
This is the great educational challenge for the coming years and for our pedagogical work in the field of Peace Education.Let us dare to face up to it.
1. Iglesias Díaz, Calo (2007). Educar pacificando: Una pedagogia de los conflictos, 1ª edición, Madrid, Fundación Cultura de Paz Editorial.
2 Bazán Campos, Domigo (2008). El oficio de pedagogo. Aportes para la construcción de una pràctica reflexiva en la escuela, Rosario, Argentina, Ed. Homo Sapiens.
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