Peace Education Exploratorium

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This weekend I organized a Peace Education Exploratorium – a full day with my students and some guest educators talking about, experimenting with, and modeling, and learning about different approaches to teaching and understanding peace education. This was the final class of the semester for my Peace Pedagogy class and it was a great way to conclude the course. Spending an entire day with these friends and colleagues and basking in the joy of peace education made my heart glad. I must also acknowledge my good friend and fellow peace educator, Arthur Romano, who came up with the title, Peace Education Exploratorium, and organized one of these full day events in the Spring with his peace education class at George Mason and invited me to be a guest presenter/facilitator. I also want to send much appreciation to the two other guest facilitators who joined the class for the day – Amanda Munroe and Johonna McCants (pictured above). Click to read more about each of the guest facilitators and the various sessions that they facilitated.

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Arthur’s session was titled, Exploring Diversity. This session offered several experiential activities that can be implemented in classroom settings. The activities aim to generate conversations about inclusion and exclusion, the impact of stereotypes and the need for community and belonging. The activities  presented are easily adaptable for a wide age range and can be used in formal and informal educational settings.

One of the interesting things that Arthur shared in his presentation was the pyramid of hate, which looks at the various stages one can go through that leads to extreme hate and violence. The point of sharing this concept was that if we can identify and address actions and beliefs that emerge at the bottom of the pyramid we can prevent escalation to the more extreme and violent levels of hate towards to top of the pyramid.

Johonna’s session was titled, Exploring Theology for Peacebuilding. This session led participants in exploring how Biblical narratives can be used as a resource for peace education.  Participants learned about the Visions to Peace Project’s plans to engage young people in “doing” theology for peacebuilding through the use of storytelling and the arts.

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Amanda’s session was titled, Sport and Peace (@sportandpeace). This highly interactive session mixed movement and media to introduce connections between sport and peace. We investigated the opportunities, strategies, and main challenges for peace education through sport, with a particular focus on experiential education and critical pedagogy.

A couple excellent resources that Amanda shared during the presentation part of her session were a short video about a program in Afghanistan called Skateistan and the blog that she and some of her colleagues put together about the intersection of sport and peace.

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And what would a peace ed weekend be without a delicious meal together. We had delicious, scrumptious and peaceful potluck lunch. Students in the class brought some of their favorite dishes.

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