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Internet Poll | Formative Childhoods: A Path to Peace?

Is early childhood relevant to peace building?

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." -Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)

"It is our hope that the results of this poll will contribute to the launching of a new field of study devoted to answering the next question: How is early childhood relevant for peace building?" -Sunar et al (2013)

Method and Questionnaire

In an effort to establish evidence-based research targeted on early childhood development (ECD) and peace building, an Internet poll, designed to ascertain expert agreement on the hypothesis that ECD is a pathway to peace, was conducted and analyzed in 2012. World experts with interests based in early childhood development and education, ECD intervention, and peacemaking and peace building, were invited to participatein the online poll 'Formative Childhoods: A Path to Peace?' The poll queried respondents' beliefs and opinions on a range of issues with significance to the impact that family life has on children in their early developmental years and what it implies with respect to peace building within communities and societies, and interventions.

  • View the questionnaire here.

Abstract - Briefing & Poll Results

The general themes of early childhood and peace building barely intersect, whether in scientific research, policy or practice. Yet recent studies emerging from different disciplines such as neurobiology, developmental psychology, family studies, intercultural contact and conflict resolution are beginning to point to the potential value of multifaceted approaches that can draw connections between early childhood and peace at various levels, such as family, community, or beyond, whether defined negatively as ‘absence of violence’ or positively as ‘a condition of security, justice and dignity within and between groups’. Such a comprehensive perspective is promising, in terms both of developing a better understanding of the myriad factors involved and of achieving impactful interventions. This briefing describes very briefly some of the background supporting the connection between early childhood and peace, and then presents the results of a poll of experts regarding various aspects of the relationship. It concludes by suggesting that future studies will profit by considering early childhood development (ECD) and peace building together rather than separately (Sunar et al, 2013).

  • Read the published article here.


  1. AÇEV (Mother Child Education Foundation): Diane Sunar; Çigdem Kagitçibasi; Yanki Yazgan; Ayla Göksel; Yasemin Sirali SFI; Hilal Kuscul; and Serkan Kahyaoglu
  2. Supporting Father Involvement Program: Kyle Pruett; Marsha Kline Pruett; Philip A. Cowan; Carolyn Pope Cowan
  3. Yale University: James Leckman; Pia Britto; Catherine Panter-Brick; Kyle Pruett; Maria (Chin) Reyes; William Hodges; and Anna Zonderman
Is early childhood relevant to peacebuilding?

by Diane Sunar et al. (2013)

Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) and Yale authors present findings from world experts who were polled to ascertain their agreement on the hypothesis that early childhood development (ECD) is a pathway to peace.

Full text J Peacebuilding.

Peace in the Family - A Head Start

Practice Moderator

Diane Sunar, PhD, Head of Psychology Department at Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey

"Peace in the family gives a child a better start and leads to better school performance, less aggression, more autonomy and a better self-concept."

Diane Sunar, PhD, Head of Psychology Department at Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey; ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013

Surest Pathway Toward Peace Building

Practice Presenter

"Supporting early childhood development as well as transforming families, causes ripple effects to the community. This is at the core of societal development and is possibly the most enduring and the surest pathway toward peace building."

Ciğdem Kağıtçıbaşı, Ph.D, Professor of Psychology at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. A founding member of AÇEV. ECPC Launch Event 20 Sept 2013