About the Author(s)

Purwadi Purwadi Email symbol
Department of Guidance and Counselling, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Ahmad Dahlan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Wahyu N.E. Saputra symbol
Department of Guidance and Counselling, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Ahmad Dahlan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Rina R.S. Sudaryani symbol
Department of Indonesian Language and Literature Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Ahmad Dahlan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Prima S. Rohmadheny symbol
Department of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas Ahmad Dahlan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Purwadi, P., Saputra, W.N.E., Sudaryani, R.R.S. & Rohmadheny, P.S., 2022, ‘The attributes of peace educators from Sang Pencerah, the biography of KH Ahmad Dahlan: A hermeneutic study’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 78(4), a7714. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i4.7714

Original Research

The attributes of peace educators from Sang Pencerah, the biography of KH Ahmad Dahlan: A hermeneutic study

Purwadi Purwadi, Wahyu N.E. Saputra, Rina R.S. Sudaryani, Prima S. Rohmadheny

Received: 04 May 2022; Accepted: 28 July 2022; Published: 25 Sept. 2022

Copyright: © 2022. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Peace encourages humans to eliminate the impulse of violence within themselves. Peace in students can drive the development of peace in their social environment. Educators should be able to play the role of peace educators to take part in creating true peace. This study aims to identify the attributes of peace educators through the life experiences of KH Ahmad Dahlan, as narrated in the novel Sang Pencerah (The Enlightener). This qualitative research employs the hermeneutic approach. The research stages include overall understanding (whole), understanding of parts and obtaining an understanding of the underlying meaning. The results indicate that the attributes of peace educators, according to KH Ahmad Dahlan, include showing affection, being sincere, having a good attitude, performing practices aligning with the educators’ knowledge and teaching knowledge based on tolerance and empathy. Those attributes of peace educators can be used as a guide for developing the competencies of educators to encourage students to achieve peace-loving characters. This character supports the emergence of a culture of peace in their environment.

Contribution: This research has contributed to the successful implementation of education through teachers who have the attributes of peace educators. The characteristics of peace educators based on KH Ahmad Dahlan are a reference for teachers to become educators who can create peace through school settings.

Keywords: peace; peace educator; KH Ahmad Dahlan; Sang Pencerah; The Enlightener.


Peace is a friendly and harmonious condition in a specific environment (Ozcan & Neslihan 2021). Peace also has meaning as a nonviolent attitude and creative conflict transformation to suppress the drive for violence in humans (Hansen 2016). Other literature mentions that peace is not just a lack of violence but also an individual’s effort to think about eradicating all aspects of injustice (Navarro-Castro & Nario-Galace 2010). Various parties are moving to challenge the conventional view of peace.

Peace is one of the main elements that every human being aims to achieve. It has become the 21st century vision (Wamsler & Restoy 2020). Peace includes not only personal peace but also social and universal peace (Abdurrachim 2020). Competitive conditions without contradiction and diversity without any conflict create peace (Spring 2020). Peace will create a safe and comfortable environment for every human being to perform self-actualisation activities (Naoufal 2014). Therefore, it requires the active role and support of various parties (Duckworth, Allen & Williams 2012). Previous studies recommend that a curriculum containing contents on peace should be developed so that students not only understand the concept of peace but also practise it (Cunningham & Ladd 2018).

Mahatma Gandhi, a world peace leader, suggested that the development of true peace needs to start from childhood (Dündar, Erdogan & Hareket 2016). Children have the ability to understand messages quickly and practise the concept of peace in their early life. Showing peaceful behaviours from an early age helps develop a peaceful character. Mahatma Gandhi’s perspective proposes that teachers can incorporate the values of love, nonviolence, justice, responsible freedom and tolerance in learning (Dündar et al. 2016). For teachers to create true peace from an early age, children require cooperation from various parties (Leckman, Panter-Brick & Salah 2014). Peace-building which is carried out since childhood and that involves collaboration among parties will develop true peace.

Mahatma Gandhi raised the theme of love for creating true peace (Hartnett 2020). Love is the reason individuals show various behaviours in various areas of life, including school life. If students face various problems based on love, they can suppress the impulse of violence. A previous study showed that individuals who show a loving character can support the development of students’ subjective well-being (Gillham et al. 2011). On the other hand, education in Indonesia emphasises character development through character education, which includes loving peace.

Peace education is an educational approach that can be employed to build peace in every human mind, especially during adolescence. Indonesia is one of the countries that should implement peace education as it is facing the challenges of global citizenship life in the 21st century, in which conflicts between groups might emerge (Umar, Pangalila & Biringan 2019). Peace of mind in adolescence can contribute to lower levels of conflict and violence, especially in classrooms and schools. This peace of mind in adolescence can help create true peace inside and outside the school environment.

Peace-building in adolescence through education is hindered by problems that students face at school. One of the problems emerging in adolescents is violence, which is a manifestation of aggressive urges (Völkl-Kernstock et al. 2016). Aggressive behaviour refers to physical or verbal behaviour which is aimed to intentionally hurt others (Myers & Smith 2015). Aggressive behaviour emerges with the aim of responding to threats coming from other individuals or groups (MacLaren, Best & Bigney 2010). Aggressive behaviour in adolescents might result in physical injury, psychological injury and social injury to both the victim and the perpetrator (Fitri et al. 2020). Thus, aggressive behaviour is one of the triggers of disharmony in peace-building for students in Indonesia.

Violence, conflict, environmental destruction and moral damage are some of the reasons for conducting a study on the role of educators as agents of peace, especially in the school environment. A study in China showed that 17.9% of students reported that they had one or more experiences of physically aggressive behaviour towards their peers in the last 12 months (Wang et al. 2012). Furthermore, research by Routt and Anderson (2011) in Washington showed that 72% of students physically assaulted their mother, 16% attacked or threatened their father, 5% attacked or threatened their sister and 5% attacked or threatened their sibling. On the other hand, a study in Norway showed that 5% of adolescents showed aggressive behaviour towards others during the last six months (Undheim & Sund 2010). The problem of aggressive behaviour seems to occur in some countries. This is a problem that should be alleviated by involving various parties.

The research results in the international world also reflect conditions in Indonesia regarding aggressive behaviour. Aggressive behaviour has become a problem which changes over time, and it is a subject of research in the area of counselling (Saputra et al. 2020; Wiretna et al. 2020). Research conducted in a city in Indonesia reveals that the level of aggressive behaviour of male and female students was the same (Saputra, Hanifah & Widagdo 2017). This condition requires various parties to pay attention to the problem of juvenile violence in schools in order to build a culture of peace.

Educators who can teach peace in Indonesia can create a conducive environment for students to learn. Research shows that the lack of peace in students has an influence on their aggressive behaviour (Saputra et al. 2021). The results of previous research recommend teachers to teach peace based on Islamic values (Rusyana 2012). Another research shows that identity, discourse and religious actors are aspects that support the development of peace in a conflict-ridden area in Indonesia, such as Ambon (Al Qurtuby 2013).

One of the Indonesian Islamic leaders who tried to uphold the values of peace in his teaching was Kiai Haji (KH) Ahmad Dahlan. The life of KH Ahmad Dahlan is described in the novel and film Sang Pencerah (The Enlightener), proposing that the teachings of KH Ahmad Dahlan can also be applied in the current modern era of globalisation (Puspitasari et al. 2016). As an organisation known for its slogan ‘Hidup-hidupilah Muhammadiyah, jangan mencari hidup di Muhammadiyah’ (‘Live Muhammadiyah. Don’t seek life in Muhammadiyah’), Muhammadiyah holds a modern view which plays an important role in advancing Islam as a religion of enlightenment (Nashir et al. 2019), including creating peace (Latief & Nashir 2020).

Various studies have identified the patterns and forms of efforts to build peace. The results show that educators have succeeded in teaching peace through classroom video conferencing as an instructional approach (Paderanga 2014). Other studies have also shown that a peace education programme called ‘The Dream of the Good’ is effective for developing attitudes and behaviours that promote nonviolence (Sommerfelt & Vambheim 2008). Furthermore, the implementation of peace education in counselling has beenuccesssful in reducing student aggressive behaviours (Saputra et al., 2019; Saputra et al., 2020a). However, not many studies have identified the attributes of peace educators, especially for the implementation of peace education in Indonesia.

This article aims to analyse the attributes of peace educators according to KH Ahmad Dahlan from the novel Sang Pencerah. The role of educators in building peace is to create a conducive student perception of the school climate. A conducive perception of the school climate can increase student involvement in obtaining academic achievement (Saputra et al. 2020b). The discussion on the findings of this study can be used as a reference for educators to maximise their role in building and maintaining peace in the school environment.


Research design

This qualitative study employs the hermeneutic approach. The hermeneutic approach is used to explore the unseen meanings inside a text. Each interpretation is an effort to be aware of the hidden meanings in a text. The researcher used Gadamerian hermeneutics to find the meanings of the novel Sang Pencerah (Basral 2013). Hermeneutics is a discipline focusing on the interpretation of meanings in the text. The principle of Gadamerian hermeneutics is the deconstruction and reconstruction of the text. Hermeneutic research is divided into two, namely objective hermeneutics and alethic hermeneutics. Gadamerian hermeneutics is a type of objective hermeneutic. The main idea of Gadamerian hermeneutics is that there is a hermeneutic circle. The circle consists of up and down patterns between the part and the whole, which can be applied to understand the meaning in a text. The part will change the understanding of the whole. On the other hand, changes of the understanding of the whole will change the understanding of the part. Through the hermeneutic circle, the research seeks to explore hidden meanings and rebuild the definitions of peace inherent in the novel Sang Pencerah. The researcher finds and understands the experiences of KH Ahmad Dahlan about peace and interprets them.

Data collection instruments

Data collection in this research was conducted utilising documentation of the meaning of the text. In this study, the authors want to see the representation of the attributes of peace educators by determining how the hermeneutic circle works to obtain an optimal understanding. Therefore, hermeneutics can reflect the attributes of peace educators from the novel Sang Pencerah. The circle as a whole defines the parts, and the parts together form the circle. One complete sentence, is a unit.

Data collection

The initial kind of data utilised in this research is secondary data. The secondary data in this research is the novel Sang Pencerah, which describes the struggle of KH Ahmad Dahlan. Based on the content of the novel, the attributes of peace educators are investigated. The researchers used data obtained from the content of the text. The novel Sang Pencerah tells the story of KH Ahmad Dahlan’s struggle to establish Muhammadiyah. The stories in the novel are set in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The main character of this novel is KH Ahmad Dahlan, who displays qualities such as love, hard work, tolerance and the courage to take risks for the truth. The secondary data in this research was analysed by citing sources such as books, articles, word references, journals and websites related to the study.

Data analysis

Regarding the interpretation of the attributes of peace educators based on the novel, the researchers categorised them into three stages: (1) overall understanding (whole), (2) understanding of parts and (3) obtaining an understanding of the underlying meaning. Data analysis techniques in this research consist of data reduction, data presentation and conclusion (Miles & Huberman 1994).


This section presents the research findings in the form of the attributes of peace educators interpreted from the biography of KH Ahmad Dahlan in the novel Sang Pencerah (Basral 2013). The preaching of KH Ahmad Dahlan, which upholds the value of peace, is one of the bases of the research. Based on the data analysis, the next section explains that there are at least five groups of attributes of a peace educator.

The first attribute describes KH Ahmad Dahlan as a figure who shows affection to fellow human beings. In the story (Basral 2013), KH Ahmad Dahlan mentioned:

Semua Kiai yang aku kenal menunjukkan bahwa mereka memang menyayangi anak-anak. Tidak seperti seorang lelaki yang pernah kulihat di Malioboro yang bersikap kasar sekali terhadap para bocah. (p. 63)

All the Kiai I know show that they really love children. Not like a man I saw in Malioboro, who was very rude to children. (p. 63)

The statement indicates that KH Ahmad Dahlan emphasises love for children. This is shown by the experience of KH Ahmad Dahlan, who saw that almost all Kiai he knew showed affection for children. KH Ahmad Dahlan shows his rejection of the violence that people usually do to children in Maliboro, Yogyakarta.

A similar story was also presented in the novel (Basral 2013), as indicated by the following excerpt of KH Ahmad Dahlan’s conversation:

Islam harus menjadi rahmat bagi siapa saja yang bernaung didalamnya, baik muslim maupun bukan muslim. Merahmati artinya melindungi, mengayomi, membuat damai, tidak mengekang atau membuat takut pada umat. (p. 175)

Islam must be a blessing for anyone who holds it, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Mercy means protecting, nurturing, making peace, not restraining or frightening the people. (p. 175)

The statement of KH Ahmad Dahlan reflects his principle to be a human being who is full of love and compassion for others. This principle is adopted from Islamic values which must be a blessing for everyone. The principle means that humans who embrace Islam need to show attitudes and behaviours that protect, make peace, and do not scare the people around them.

KH Ahmad Dahlan had another experience that also shows his feelings of love and compassion for fellow human beings. This experience is shown by the following statement (Basral 2013):

Anak-anak di sekitar kita adalah titipan Allah yang harus kita jaga dan didik dengan sebaik-baiknya. (p. 402)

Children around us are a gift from God that we must take care of and educate as well as possible. (p. 402)

This statement emphasises the importance of showing love and affection for fellow human beings, even to people who do not have the same understanding and are of a different class. KH Ahmad Dahlan held the principle that all human beings are people who need attention and must always help each other when experiencing difficulties.

In the second attribute, KH Ahmad Dahlan showed sincere attitudes and behaviour when interacting with other people. One of the life stories of KH Ahmad Dahlan that shows these attitudes and behaviours is as follows (Basral 2013):

Apapun pekerjaan kita sekarang, itulah yang harus kita kerjakan sepenuh hati dan membawa manfaat bagi sebanyak mungkin umat. (p. 21)

Whatever the work we do now, what we must do wholeheartedly and bring benefits to as many people as possible. (p. 21)

This statement means that sincerity is an important element in carrying out various activities. A person does a certain task not only for getting a reward but also for providing benefits to many people. Meaningful activities should benefit many people.

Another story of KH Ahmad Dahlan concerning sincerity is as follows (Basral 2013):

Allah sendiri menyatakan kepada kanjeng Nabi Muhammad bahwa, tugasnya hanyalah menyampaikan. Begitu juga dengan tugas kita sekarang hanya untuk menyampaikan kebenaran bukan untuk memperbesar permusuhan. Bersihkan niatmu ketika menempel selebaran-selebaran ini hanyalah untuk menyampaikan kebenaran, bukan di barengi niat-niat lain. (p. 233)

Allah stated to the Prophet Muhammad that his job was only to deliver the truth. Our duty now is, therefore, only to convey the truth, not to make enemies. Purify your intentions when putting these leaflets, only to convey the truth, not accompanied by other intentions. (p. 233)

The excerpt implies that one of the tasks of humans is to convey the truth in a sincere way. Telling the truth with other intentions is an attitude and action that is not following the norms and can trigger other problems. KH Ahmad Dahlan also emphasised that humans should not create hostility when trying to impose the truth they want to convey.

In the third attribute of peace educators, KH Ahmad Dahlan is an individual who guides people to goodness and avoids revenge. The following experience describes the attitude and behaviour of KH Ahmad Dahlan to refrain from anger (Basral 2013):

Apapun yang akan aku lihat, aku harus bisa menahan diri. Terutama dari amarah untuk membalas dendam. (p. 248)

Whatever I’m going to see, I have to be able to restrain myself. Especially from anger for revenge. (p. 248)

The excerpt suggests the importance of a person’s ability to contain anger. Moreover, every human being has the urge to vent their anger on others. An educator should have the ability to accommodate students in managing their anger, especially when they want to take revenge on people who have hurt them.

Another experience also appears in the novel (Basral 2013) which shows the role of an educator who guides students, as implied in the following excerpt:

Salah satu kecerdasan Sunan Kali Jaga yang lain dalam memahami dunia kanak – kanak sekaligus konsep figur imamat. Pengembala adalah seorang yang selalu mengarahkan hewan-hewan gembalanya agar tidak tersesat, layaknya seorang imam yang berkewajiban untuk membimbing makmumnya di jalan yang benar, betapa pun sulitnya jalan itu. (p. 324)

One of Sunan Kali Jaga’s intelligences is understanding childhood as well as the concept of imamat figure. A shepherd is a person who always directs his herd animals so as not to get lost, like an Imam who is obliged to guide his community on the right path, no matter how difficult the path is. (p. 324)

The above message from KH Ahmad Dahlan means that a good educator has the ability to direct his students so that they do not get lost. The responsibility of an educator is to equip his students with knowledge and skills so that they can live their lives well. These students can determine the direction in which they will walk towards goodness.

In the fourth attribute, KH Ahmad Dahlan emphasised the concept of amaliyah. Amaliyah means that an educator can apply his knowledge in everyday life and use everyday phenomena or events as a source of learning (Basral 2013):

Selesai pelajaran tentang ‘Kentut’ itu aku habiskan jatahku mengajar dengan mengupas pentingnya bersyukur setiap saat kepada Allah. Biarlah pengajaran agama ini kuperkenalkan melalui peristiwa sehari –hari yang mereka alami saja sehingga lebih mudah untuk mereka pahami. (p. 351)

After the lesson about ‘fart’ I spent my time teaching by discussing the importance of being grateful to Allah every moment. Let me introduce this religious teaching through everyday events that they experience so that it is easier for them to understand. (p. 351)

The statement by KH Ahmad Dahlan suggests that every human being has an understanding of certain concepts. However, humans are not necessarily able to apply the knowledge they have in everyday life. In the excerpt above, KH Ahmad Dahlan mentioned the meaning of being grateful. Being an educator requires a commitment to apply the knowledge the educator has in everyday life. This commitment becomes a role model for students to implement their knowledge in everyday life.

Another excerpt also shows the importance of KH Ahmad Dahlan’s commitment, while he was an educator, to practise his knowledge. The following excerpt presents KH Ahmad Dahlan’s statement about the science of amaliyah (Basral 2013):

Aku mengajarkan agama lewat tembang itu supaya memudahkan anak-anak memahami inti agama. (p. 358)

I teach religion through songs to make it easier for children to understand the essence of the religion. (p. 358)

The excerpt shows KH Ahmad Dahlan’s commitment to teach his knowledge to others. KH Ahmad Dahlan, acting as an educator, looked for strategies so that his students could absorb knowledge easily. The use of the violin shows that KH Ahmad Dahlan was trying hard to share his knowledge with others.

In the fifth attribute, KH Ahmad Dahlan shares a message about educators who uphold tolerance and empathy. The following excerpt describes KH Ahmad Dahlan showing tolerance when different opinions emerge (Basral 2013):

Saya hanya ingin mengatakan bahwa arah kiblat yang kita yakini selama ini menghadap ke Ka’bah itu ternyata keliru, baik berdasarkan perhitungan ilmu falaq dan hisab maupun dengan bantuan alat-alat baru seperti Kompas. (p. 201)

I just want to say that the direction of Qibla which we believe is actually wrong, both based on calculations of falaq and hisab as well as calculation by using new tools such as the compass. (p. 201)

The excerpt above indicates that KH Ahmad Dahlan does not carry out intolerant behaviour towards the Qibla of the mosque which does not face the Kaaba. However, KH Ahmad Dahlan tried to be open and show that the Qibla of the mosque has not fully faced the Kaaba. One of KH Ahmad Dahlan’s efforts is calculating the science of falaq and hisab, as well as using new tools such as the compass.

Another experience of KH Ahmad Dahlan about educators who have tolerance and empathy is as follows (Basral 2013):

Kebenaran sesuai dengan pengetahuan dan pemahan kita yang selalu terbatas dibandingkan ilmu Allah. Karena itulah kita harus selalu belajar, bersikap terbuka dan mau memperhatikan sekeliling. (p. 448)

Truth from our knowledge and understanding is always limited compared to Allah’s knowledge. That’s why we must always learn, be open and willing to pay attention to the surroundings. (p. 448)

The statement means that humans do not need to boast about their abilities. Every human being needs to pay more attention to the people around them when they have problems. This concept of empathy needs to be possessed by an educator, considering that students certainly have various problems in their lives.

The research finding shows that the attributes of peace educators implied in the novel are as follows: (1) showing compassion, (2) sincerity, (3) guiding towards good attitudes, (4) having practices in accordance with knowledge and (5) conveying knowledge based on tolerance and empathy. Table 1 presents the attributes of peace educators described in the novel.

TABLE 1: The attributes of peace educators.


The research findings indicate that an educator needs to have specific attributes to create peace. According to the life story of KH Ahmad Dahlan, the attributes of peace educators are showing affection, sincerity, guiding towards good attitudes, having practices that are in accordance with his knowledge and conveying knowledge based on tolerance and empathy. It is important for educators to have the attributes of peace educators to create a conducive atmosphere for students to pursue peace in their school environment. The concept of integrated peace education is important in the school setting (Gursel-Bilgin & Flinders 2020). Peace education is integrated within the curriculum at schools, so that the learning process is not only limited to the transfer of knowledge but also creates true peace (Joyce 2020).

The first attribute of peace educators according to KH Ahmad Dahlan is showing compassion. The interpretation of Al-Maun represents the importance of showing feelings of love and compassion towards fellow human beings (Yusuf 2021). The results also show that the concept of love is one of the values of peace according to the teachings of KH Ahmad Dahlan (Saputra et al. 2021). Love becomes an important quality to support the emergence of peace (Barcelos 2021). In an individual who has love, there is no urge to commit violence that can damage peace itself, both self, social and environmental peace (Chapman & Wolfner 2017). Hartnett (2020) argues that love is also one of the foundations for the emergence of peace in pluralism. Moreover, Indonesia has a diverse culture. Thus, teachers who prioritise love and compassion can be the answer to suppress the high urge of adolescent violence.

The second attribute of peace educators, according to KH Ahmad Dahlan, is sincerity. The slogan ‘Live Muhammadiyah! Do not seek life in Muhammadiyah’ is a representation of sincerity (Lubis et al. 2021). The sincerity of educators in carrying out their duties is one aspect that supports the creation of peace. Sincerity is the act of an individual who selflessly helps others. An educator needs to have a sense of sincerity in carrying out his or her duties (Grzanka et al. 2020). According to the perspective of humanism, an educator’s self-concept should match his or her behaviour (Grafanaki 2013; Kuba 2013). The sincerity of educators in carrying out the learning process allows students to feel comfortable and safe in interacting with others (Lai et al. 2021). Sincerity is a variable which can support commitment without anything in return, and this variable supports the creation of a culture of peace in the school environment.

Thirdly, a peace educator should be a guide for students in developing good attitudes. One of the characteristics of students who are in the adolescent phase is an identity crisis (Crocetti 2018). In this phase, they have two possibilities, which are good and bad behaviour. The influence of the social environment on adolescent behaviour is significant (Kornienko et al., 2016). Thus, educators have a central role in providing direction so that students are able to reduce negative behaviour and develop positive behaviour.

Fourthly, peace educators, according to KH Ahmad Dahlan, perform practices that are in accordance with their knowledge. Carl Rogers’s humanistic learning perspective names this concept congruence (Nelson et al. 2014). Meanwhile, KH Ahmad Dahlan calls it amaliyah science; not only do humans understand certain ideas, but they also need to implement them (Khoirudin, Baidhawy & Nor 2020; Kurniawanti & Kumalasari 2020). In this fourth attribute, educators teach students to apply the understanding they have about building peace in everyday life.

Lastly, peace educators should be committed to sharing knowledge based on tolerance and empathy. The development of tolerance is one of the needs of modern education (Safina & Abdurakhmanov 2016). This culture of tolerance can spur the emergence of peace, starting from the school setting (Tadjibaeva & Oblomuradova 2020; Yazdani 2020). Meanwhile, empathy is one aspect that is also able to support the emergence of peace (Calloway-Thomas 2021). The interpretation of Al Maun is a representation of the importance of showing empathy when interacting with others (Sutanti & Diponegoro 2018). Teachers who carry out learning with the attributes of tolerance and empathy help students learn to eliminate violent impulses when interacting with people who have different principles.

The five attributes of peace educators can support the success of educators in creating peace in the school setting. It is a challenge for educators to implement peace education. This is in line with Cook’s (2014) view that there are two challenges educators face in implementing peace education, which are the limited understanding of teachers in peace education pedagogy and teachers’ limitations in compiling teaching materials on peace education. The results of previous studies show that educators as agents of change should have the attributes to support peace education programmes (Novelli & Sayed 2016). Therefore, peace education and the development of peace educators are important components of any educational system.

The findings of this study contribute to guidance and counselling services at schools, particularly in Indonesia. Counsellors, as educators, are agents of peace who play an important role in teaching peace among students (Lee 2018). As the agents of peace, counsellors can cultivate the attributes of peace shown by KH Ahmad Dahlan, as discussed in this study. Cremin (2018) argues that counsellors receive many benefits when they successfully internalise the attributes of peace educators within themselves. Counsellors should have such attributes as compassion, sincerity, guiding towards good attitudes, having practices that are in accordance with their knowledge and tolerance based on empathy. These attributes can support the success of counsellors in carrying out their role in building true peace in the school environment.

Counsellors as practitioners in education have the potential to address various issues related to violence against adolescents. Moreover, they have a central role in suppressing the development of violent behaviours among students at school (Paolini 2015). In terms of service, counsellors can apply guidance as a preventive measure and counselling as a curative step. Various research results show that counsellors can be agents of peace to create a culture of peace in the school environment (Gerstein & Moeschberger 2003). Therefore, this study contributes to knowledge related to alternative sources of peace educator attributes that can be used by counsellors for cultivating peace values in schools.


The figure of KH Ahmad Dahlan can be a role model of a peace educator. An educator should have such attributes as showing affection, sincerity, guiding towards good attitudes, having practices that are in accordance with knowledge and conveying knowledge based on tolerance and empathy. Peace is a condition desired by everyone. Moreover, a safe and calm situation can support a person in maximising self-actualisation. Peace can be built through education with a systematic and continuous process. Educators can be agents of peace who teach peace to students by having attributes that can support them to become agents of peace. These findings can be used as the foundation for further research in developing a peace-based education model at schools. Recommendations for further research are to develop an ideal teacher and counsellor model to create a culture of peace in the school environment.


The authors would like to thank Universitas Ahmad Dahlan for supporting and funding this work under the supported professorship candidate research grant.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contributions

P.P., W.N.E.S., R.R.S.S. and P.S.R contributed to the design and implementation of the research, to the analysis of the results and to the writing of the manuscript.

Ethical considerations

This article followed all ethical standards for research without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

Funding information

Universitas Ahmad Dahlan funded this work under the supported professorship candidate research grant.

Data availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.


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