AbstractThe origins of peace studies as an academic field of inquiry could be traced to the late 1940s and the field has been developing considerably since then. Currently, scholars at various tertiary institutions over the world are involved in using their academic skills to educate students about the causes of wars and violent conflict while pointing out various alternatives to these phenomena. Peace studies in the South African and broader African context are certainly of great significance and importance. After all, the gripping and devastating violence that manifested in African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, the DRC, Somalia, Angola, the Comoros and many other conflict-stricken areas warrant scholarly attention with a view to better understanding the causes, dynamics and effects of such conflict. By means of this understanding the conflict could be addressed through mechanisms of conflict resolution and peace building could be promoted. Furthermore, the South African Government’s progressive military involvement in international peace missions in recent years is far more than an issue of mere military concern. It is a matter of great political interest and significance. Being supportive of the need for peace studies in the curricula of South African universities (and African universities in general), this article argues that South African students should be exposed to a rich and comprehensive literature on the search for international peace and security; of how to understand and deal with the causes of large-scale conflict and violence; and how these could be curtailed and resolved − literature which informs scholarly discussions and research in many centres and places of education, training and peace building.
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