Creating a Culture of Peace – After School Peace Club

Teachers Without Borders Peace Education Course – Blog #3 (10/21/2011)

Zone of PeaceOver the next couple of weeks I will be starting an after school Peace Club at a local middle school. Using Adams’ table, which contrasts a culture of war vs. a culture of peace, I will attempt to build a culture of peace by focusing on each of the following areas:

1) Democratic Participation (Peace) vs. Authoritarian Governance (War)

My role in the Peace Club will simply be that of a facilitator. Rather than telling the students what to do, or how to be peaceful, we will actively engage in a community dialogue to determine the goals for the Peace Club, how to accomplish those goals, and identify what peace means to everyone as a community. This will help every member feel engaged and empowered in the club.

2) Free Flow of Information (Peace) vs. Secrecy and Propaganda (War)

I commit to being trustworthy and forthright with the students in all matters that affect them. Also, there will be no topics that are “taboo” in the club, as members will have the freedom to speak their minds within the context of the peace club (the club will collectively develop communication guidelines to ensure members speak to each other with respect, compassion, etc).

3) Understanding, Tolerance, Solidarity (Peace) vs. Having an Enemy (War)

The Peace Club will effectively work through any conflicts nonviolently in order to build a stronger community. Also, we will be mindful of “cliques” being created to limit contention between various members. Finally, when games/activities are designed for the club, we will be mindful of limiting competition between members and look for ways to build cooperation within the entire club.

4) Equality of Women and Men (Peace) vs. Male Domination (War)

We will ensure that both genders have an equal say in the Peace Club’s decisions. Also, we will be mindful not to separate “boys from girls,” but rather to have both genders work together on the Peace Club’s activities. Throughout our activities, we will also explore the concept of gender inequality, and discuss how we can create an environment that is equal for both boys and girls.

5) Human Rights (Peace) vs. Exploitation of People (War)

Students will review human rights, the rights of a child, and develop their own declaration of human rights. This will ensure that they know their rights, and can take action if they ever feel exploited. The club will also examine human rights abuse and injustice within their own communities and across the world.

6) Sustainable Development (Peace) vs. Exploitation of Nature (War)

During activities of the Peace Club, we will always be mindful of our impact on the environment and we will act in a way that is sustainable. We will also examine various forms of violence that occur against the environment, and how we can create environmental peace as a community.

7) Disarmament (Peace) vs. Armament (War)

The Peace Club will utilize nonviolent communication in order to “disarm” everyone’s language. All conflict will be handled nonviolently to “disarm” the club physically. Further, we will discuss other ways to disarm our club and community.

8) Education for a Culture of Peace (Peace) vs. Belief in Power That is Based on Force (War)

The overall theme of the club will be to help members build a culture of peace. All activities, games, lessons, etc will have a focus on how to foster peace. We will be mindful to avoid activities that reinforce someone using violent force to get their way.

While this list is not exhaustive in terms of creating a culture of peace, focusing on these 8 areas will be very helpful in making the club a success. I’m very excited to start the club!

Please share your thoughts!

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