Teaching Peace in a Time of War


A decade of civil war cost the lives of more than 250,000 people in the former Yugoslavia. The children of this region have been irrevocably afflicted by the violence. Can Hetty van Gurp help teach the language of peace to a generation of youth who have only known war?

Directed by
Teresa MacInnes
Produced by
Kent Martin
Peter d’Entremont
Written by  Erna Buffie
Teresa MacInnes

 The documentary film, Teaching Peace in a Time of War introduces us to the students and teachers of Vasa Pelagic School in Belgrade, Serbia. The students include Nenad, whose father is institutionalized for killing his mother, Emil who is terrorised for being Muslim, and Alexandra whose father admits that he “enjoyed” the war, relates that peace “means nothing to me, because I don’t have any peace.

Peace education can be a challenge at the best of times. It’s even harder in a post-war atmosphere where the education system suffers from weary staff, overcrowding and lack of resources."

Ultimately, Teaching Peace in a Time of War shows that triumphs like the progress of Nenad, and of student representative Gordana, who helps organize the school’s first ever dance, offer a sense of optimism that even schools in the most troubled circumstances can become beacons of peace.

 National Film Board of Canada website

Watch an interview with Teresa MacInnes, writer and director of Teaching Peace in a Time of War: 

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