Ali Salah, Minah Harun


This paper discusses the language of peace by making sense of the Iraqi students’ narratives on their experience in their country. It explores how the people who experience war situations talk about their desires of having peace. The paper argues that positive discourse can be strategically engineered to empower people to use language that promotes peace and harmony in daily communication in particular when conflict situations exist. By listening to the laymen discourse, we can observe how language users construct peace through their selection of language. For this purpose, eight Iraqi students from a public university in Malaysia participated in the study based on a purposive sampling. The following criteria were employed: (i) They have experienced war situations in Iraq; (ii) They come from various regions; and (iii) They are able to articulate their experience freely given the maturity of their age. Data were collected through the pilot study comprising focus group discussion and in-depth interviews, and analysed using the thematic content approach. The results reveal the varied ways the participants’ use language to frame their feelings and perspectives of the notion of peace and factors that hinder peace situations. The paper also provides several implications and recommendations for future studies on peace language.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



language of peace, narratives, discourse, focus group discussion, in-depth interviews, Iraq

Full Text:



Al-Khalidi, A., & Tanner, V. (2006). Sectarian violence: Radical groups drive internal displacement in Iraq. Washington: Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement.

Amaladas, S., & Byrne, S. (Eds.). (2017). Peace leadership: The quest for connectedness. Routledge.

Athiemoolam, L. (2003, September). South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy: Nine years of peace in a troubled world. In Peace as a Global Language Conference II, Seisen University, Tokyo.

Bar-Tal, D. (2009). Reconciliation as a foundation of culture of peace. In Handbook on building cultures of peace (pp. 363-377). New York: Springer.

Belloni, R. (2001). Civil society and peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Journal of Peace Research, 38(2), 163–180.

Birmingham, P., & Wilkinson, D. (2003). Using research instruments: A guide for researchers. Routledge.

Blue, G., & Harun, M. (2003). Hospitality language as a professional skill. English for Specific Purposes, 22, 73-91.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Burke, K. (1966). Language as symbolic action: Essays on life, literature, and method. California: University of California Press.

Cameron, J. (2005). Focusing on the focus group. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, 2, 116-132.

Chandra, S. (2016). Meaning and concept of peace education. In Promoting global peace and civic engagement through education. (pp. 66-88). IGI Global.

Cordesman, A. H. (2004). The developing Iraqi insurgency: Status at end 2004. Working draft paper, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 12.

Dalib, S., Harun, M., & Yusof, N. (2017). Student intercultural competence in a Malaysian campus: A phenomenological approach, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 12(1), 42-62

Dedaic, M. N., & Nelson, D. N. (Eds.). (2012). At war with words (Vol. 10). Walter de Gruyter. Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, peace, and peace research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–191.

Goretti, L. N. (2007). Peace journalism applied: an assessment of media coverage of the conflict in Northern Uganda. Conflict and Communication Online, 6(2).

Greenstone, M. (2007). Is the “surge” working? Some new facts. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Harber, C. (2018). Building back better? Peace education in post-conflict Africa.

Harun, M. 2007. Malay-Chinese interethnic communication: An analysis of sensemaking in everyday experiences. Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Ohio. Retrieved from

Harun, M., Dalib, S., Yusof, N., & Ahmad, M. K. (2018). Intercultural communication competence: Educating students for global networking. Jurnal Komunikasi Borneo Edisi Khas (Konovokesyen ke-20 UMS), 1-17.

Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (2010). Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. Random House.

Holland, T., & Martin, J. P. (2017). Human rights education’s role in peacebuilding: Lessons from the field. Human Rights Education: Theory, Research, Praxis, 267.

Jadav, M. S. S., & Suvera, P. S. (2014). Well-being among Hindu and Muslim educated

unemployed people. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 1(2), 119.

Lazarus, S., Cochrane, J. R., Taliep, N., Simmons, C., & Seedat, M. (2017). Identifying and mobilising factors that promote community peace. In Enlarging the Scope of Peace Psychology (pp. 161-183). Springer Cham.

Mac Ginty, R. (2013). Indicators+: A proposal for everyday peace indicators. Evaluation and Program Planning, 36(1), 56-63.

Morgan, B., & Vandrick, S. (2009). Imagining a peace curriculum: What second- language education brings to the table. Peace & Change, 34(4), 510–532.

Nipkow, K. E. (2018). God, human nature and education for peace: New approaches to moral and religious maturity. Routledge.

Ntlama, N. (2017). The foundations of ‘peace’ as a value for the promotion of human rights in Africa. African Human Rights Law Journal, 17(1), 55-67.

Obono, K., & Onyechi, N. J. (2017). Communication and peace building: The 2015 Presidential Elections in Nigeria. The Journal of Pan African Studies, 10(7), 22.

Oluoch, M. O., & Adams, Y. (2017). Ideology in editorials: An investigation of ideologies in the peace messages related to the 2013 General Elections in Kenya. International Journal of Scientific Research and Innovative Technology, 4(1) 1-10.

Orjuela, C. (2003). Building peace in Sri Lanka: A role for civil society? Journal of Peace

Research, 40(2), 195–212.

Oxford, R. (2017). Peace through understanding: Peace activities as innovations in language teacher education. In Innovative Practices in Language Teacher Education (pp. 125-163). Springer.

Oxford, R. L. (2013). The language of peace: Communicating to create harmony. Oxford:


Staub, E. (2003). Notes on cultures of violence, cultures of caring and peace, and the fulfillment of basic human needs. Political Psychology, 24(1), 1-21.

Tani, S., Houtsonen, O., & Särkelä, E. (2018). Global education for global understanding: The case of Finland. Geography Education for Global Understanding, 155-163.

Ugoji, S. C. (2017). The Impact of Language Development and Global Peace Initiative in the 21st Century: The linguistic perspective. An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 6(1), 85-97.

Walker, J. (2004). Crisis prevention, conflict resolution and peace promotion through education. Education and Conflict Transformation (pp.1-48).



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright © 2015 - 2022. European Journal of English Language Teaching (ISSN 2501-7136) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).