TEDx Talk at American University

This past weekend I gave a TEDx talk at American University. The theme of the event was “Exploring Our Global Future.” The title of my talk was, “Bridging the Distance: Teaching and Learning Peace Online.” In short, the talk laid out my reasons for believing in online learning as a valuable development in the field of education and how online learning can be infused with the values of peace and nonviolence. I also lay out in the talk what I have come to call, “The Seven Blossoms of Peace Education,” which is a pedagogical framework that any educators can apply to their work to integrate peace and nonviolence into their classrooms.

Teaching Our Way Out of the Cave

This past October I gave the keynote presentation at the Teaching about Global Conflict and Peacebuilding Conference at Montgomery Community College and the video was uploaded to YouTube just a couple weeks ago.

The event brought together a great group of community college educators interested in establishing and developing peace and conflict studies programs at their respective colleges. The goal of my presentation was to introduce and outline some of the foundational concepts within the peace and conflict studies field and share some pedagogical approaches for becoming a peace educator, no matter the subject matter you teach or age group with whom you work.

If you want to check it out, I would love any comments or feedback on my cave and blossom analogies :). Enjoy.

Workshop on Intercutural Competence and Nonviolent Action for Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice

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On Friday, I had the honor and privilege of facilitating a workshop at Georgetown University for their The Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service (CSJ).  the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor (KI), and the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA). This year Georgetown launched their Social Justice Leadership Training Institute (SJLTI), a small-group intensive experience for undergraduate students who wish to deepen their commitment to and engagement with issues of social justice. Through an 8-week skills-building, cohort-based experience with accomplished social justice activists and one another, SJLTI participants will learn and reflect on ways to creatively and effectively work for social justice. I was invited by two of the most amazing and inspiring peace and social justice educators I know – Amanda Munroe and Dr. Andria Wisler.

The workshop I facilitated was titled, The Intercultural Dimensions of Nonviolent Action: Power, Participation and Progress. The workshop explored two concepts – intercultural competence and nonviolent action as a method of struggle – and why one is an integral part of the other’s success. For the past couple weeks I have been giving some talks and presentation on this topic. My interest in the connection was spurred by a three day training I did a few weeks ago to become a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). Ever since that training I have been finding a number of valuable connections between that cultural work and the theory and strategy behind nonviolent action.

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Online Civil Resistance Course Launches

After about a year of development, USIP has released a self-study, online version of the course, Civil Resistance and the Dynamics of Nonviolent Conflict. I started working on this course with my colleagues at USIP and ICNC in 2012. Having recently joined USIP, full-time, I am very pleased that this was one of the first self-study onlie course USIP released. I look forward to seeing how learners engage with the course, what kind of impact it will have, and how we will continue to refine it and make it even better in the months and years to come.

Keynote Address at “Teaching about Global Conflict and Peacebuilding” Conference

photo-2This weekend I gave the keynote presentation at the Teaching about Global Conflict and Peacebuilding Seminar at Montgomery College. The conference brought together over 30 community college professors from across the country teaching in a variety of fields and all interested in incorporating peace and conflict studies into their work. I was invited to give the keynote address by the conference organizer, David Smith, an education and peacebuilding consultant who has for many years now been working with community college helping them build and develop peace and conflict studies program.

The title of my presentation was, “Teaching Our Way Out of the Cave: How Peace and Conflict Educators Are Challenging War, Violence, and Human Suffereing.” The title at first might seem a bit obscure, but for the past few years I have been using the metaphor of a cave to explain the differences between direct violence and structural violence and the difference between negative peace approaches and positive peace approaches to addressing those different kinds of violence.

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Nonviolence Presentation at New School of VA

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This past Thursday, my friend and colleague, Althea, and I facilitated a presentation on nonviolence for a group 100 6-12 graders at the New School of Virginia. My friends and former colleague, Travis Cooper, invited us to give this workshops as part of a learning unit he was doing with his students looking at civic activism.

This was a great opportunity for Althea and I to mix concepts from various orientations and conceptions of nonviolence – the ICNC strategic nonviolent action orientation and the Kingian nonviolence orientation.

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Peace Education Summer Online Course

MLKQuoteDuring the second session of American University’s summer 2013 semester, July 1st – August 15th, I taught an online version of my edu-596 Peace Pedagogy course. This course had approximately 13 students, all DC area teachers. The course description reads similar to the other EDU-596 courses that were taught on-site. However, a different pedagogical approach was taken given the online format. Click here to download syllabus.

The course was a blend of synchronous (weekly partnered phone conversations and three, all-class conference calls) and asynchronous learning (weekly discussion boards and daily peace actions). I also provided weekly videos or podcasts summarizing key questions and insights each of the students made in the discussion forums. The entire course was hosted on my customized website, http://peacelearner.org.  This was an interested endeavor in that the in-person course, as one would expect, relies heavily on student participation, modeling, and face-to-face interactions and conversations . So, how was one to do this effectively online?

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