This week I had the opportunity to give a presentation and lead some exercises around peace education with a group of 35 high school students (9th and 10th graders) from two schools in Queens, NY. They were visiting DC as part of a Global Kids trip. Global Kids is an “educational organization for global learning and youth development – works to ensure that urban youth have the knowledge, skills, experiences and values they need to succeed in school, participate effectively in the democratic process, and achieve leadership in their communities and on the global stage.” This was a unique and valuable experience for a number of reasons I will outline below and I very much appreciated the time I got to spend with the students.
For the past ten days my colleague, Althea and I were in Phnom Penh where we facilitated two workshops on nonviolent civil resistance. We were invited by a diaspora based group called Khmer Unity whose mission is advocating for democracy, human rights, and territorial sovereignty/integrity in Cambodia. They network and collaborate with other nongovernmental organizations both domestically and internationally for the betterment of Cambodia.
This was an amazing experience for a number of reasons. First, this was my first time in Cambodia so I was constantly soaking up the history, culture, and environment while I was there. Second, the process of designing and facilitating a workshop on nonviolent action for learners whose mother tongue is Khmer – a language very different from English – posed some challenges that helped me and Althea think in new ways about how to talk and teach about the topic. And third, it was an opportunity that brought me into contact with so many amazing people who are organizing around a myriad of issues.
Every year at ICNC we try and find new and better ways to advertise and promote our various educational programs and initiatives. This year I took on a project to create this promotional video about our annual Fletcher Summer Institute. I used photos from past FSIs and excerpts from a variety of interviews I helped conduct for another video project on which I am working. I found the background music using dig.ccmixter.org and I used iMovie to edit everything together. After posting it online, I utilized some of YouTube’s video embed link functions that allow viewers to click on the video and link out to other web pages such as the FSI application page and footage from previous FSIs. My goal was to keep the video short, inspirational and a way for viewers to directly access materials to apply and learn more. Lastly, the video was shared on the website, Waging Nonviolence, along with a blog posting I wrote about my experiences at FSI.
This past Tuesday my colleague, Althea Middleton-Detzner and I got the opportunity and privilege to give a presentation and have a discussion on civil resistance with a group of amazing Burmese civil society and political leaders. The four women in the delegation were Khin Lay, Shunn Lei Swe Yee, Ma Nilar OO, and Zin Mar Aung, who was a recipient the 2012 International Women of Courage Award. The United States Institute of Peace invited us to give the talk, which was part of a series of meetings with the delegation that focused on rule of law, governance and, of course, nonviolent political action (aka civil resistance).
From February 1-3, 50 students from around the country gathered in Albany, NY for the Democracy Matters Summit – an intensive and inspiring 2.5 days of learning about and strategizing around how to get big money out of politics and put people back in. This was my seventh Democracy Matters Summit. It is such a honor and privilege to be a part of this amazing organization and movement. Click the link below to see the curation of key tweets, photos, and audio recordings from the weekend.
This past weekend I attended and presented at the Ann Ferren Teaching Conference, which is a yearly conference held every January at American University. The last time I attended this conference was in 2010 and had gotten a lot out of it. This year I was invited to be a co-presenter for one of the sessions, “Finding Your First Flip: Getting Started with the Flipped Classroom Model. My co-presenters for this session were Maya Marato and Meghan Foster. The Goal for this session is to engage faculty in the process of “flipping” their lectures by helping them identify and evaluate topics and activities that are easily adapted to the flipped classroom model.
The above podcast was recorded on Wednesday, November 14th 2012 during the Peace Pedagogy (EDU-596) course I facilitate each year at American University. As a final assignment for the class I asked each student to develop what I called a “Peace Learner Commitment.” A Peace Learner Commitment is:
“…a pledge to yourself, and shared with our community, to achieve a goal that seeks to build and foster peaceable learning environments. This environment can be built in the classroom, your community, among your peers, with your family, in the work place, or for yourself. The choice is yours.
“The key is for an element of this course that resonated with you – skill, content, activity, attitude, technique, perspective, etc. – to bear fruit outside of the (tiny) classroom we shared this semester.”
In the podcast each student shares what their commitment is. And listening to this podcast, I can honestly say that it has been a privilege spending an entire semester with this outstanding, kind, and inspirational group of learners. The 14 students all came to the course for different reasons, with different needs, and from different professional and academic backgrounds. Given the diversity of the learning goals and needs, as the professor for the course I really had to give deep thought to what kinds of assignments were going to actually be useful to the class.
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.
Day two of the Global Challenges Institute Summit consisted of a presentation on their national blended learning course and eBook, exploration of the Global Challenges toolkit, keynote address from Jennifer Clinton from the National Council of International Visitors, small group discussions that looked at the resources and curriculum more thoroughly, finding and forming interest groups around different ways of implementing the global challenges curriculum into courses and departments, and then some final words and questions. Continue reading →
This past Saturday I attended and presented at the Baltimore Educational Equity Summit, which was organized by Teach for America. The session of which I was a part was titled, “Using Social Media as a Vehicle for Change,” and looked at various strategies and tools organizations and movements have used to leverage the power of social media and digital tools to advance their causes and missions.