Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Alexia Georgakopoulos

Second Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Third Advisor

Robin Cooper


art, conception of peace, learning constructs, narrative, peace education, social construction


This dissertation allowed the researcher to analyze 171 pieces of youth-created artwork and narratives by children aged six to nine who took part in the peace education, mentorship, and literacy program, READING PEACE PALS, implemented with an underserved population at a Boys and Girls Club in the U.S. Qualitative content analysis (Krippendorf, 1980; 2004) was used to analyze the artwork and narratives to gain insight into children’s conceptualization of peace, violence, and bullying and their strategies for addressing bullying and violence.

The findings uncovered the myriad of unique ways youth conceptualize and define peace and the strategies they employ to combat the bullying and violence in their lives. Youth artwork demonstrated conceptions of positive peace. However, youth narratives included more descriptions of negative peace. Youth also addressed connection, empowerment, and their responsibility for creating peace. Strategies to combat bullying and violence included bringing in an adult, power in numbers, and ways to address the bully. In addition, the findings of this dissertation, when triangulated with the findings previously found in Georgakopoulos, Duckworth, Silverman, and Redfering (2017) in terms of student perceptions of affective, cognitive, and behavioral learning and the social impact that the learning in the peace education program had on them show similarities in terms of youth conceptions of peace and the strategies they employ to combat violence and bullying in their lives. Conversely, the artwork and narratives offered a unique lens and captured more vivid and detailed expressions than the surveys were able to convey.