Truth commissions, education and positive peace: an analysis of truth commission final reports (1980-2015)

Julia Paulson, Michelle Bellino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

253 Downloads (Pure)


Transitional justice and education both occupy increasingly prominent space on the international peacebuilding agenda, though less is known about the ways they might reinforce one another to contribute towards peace. This paper presents a cross-national analysis of truth commission (TC) reports spanning 1980–2015, exploring the range of educational work taken on by one of the most prominent forms of transitional justice. We find that TC engagement with education is increasing over time and that TCs are incorporating the task of ‘telling the truth about education’ into their work. However, when TCs engage with education, they tend to recommend forwards looking reforms, for instance decontextualised human rights and peace education. We argue that this limits the contribution that TCs might make towards positive peace by failing to use their backwards looking, truth telling work to insist on transformation in the educational sector.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalComparative Education Special Issue
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jun 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2017



  • transitional justice
  • truth commissions
  • peace
  • education

Cite this