115 adults and youth of all races, from many faiths and diverse neighborhoods, sat face-to-face to begin a communication renaissance and create a culture of connection.

Who are They, Anyway? Finally meeting the strangers in our own land

Libby and Len Traubman, founders of the Beyond War Movement of the 1980s, are inviting people from their community to participate in an open process of respectful communication, beginning with a new quality of listening to one another, to everyone. “We’re confident that this local public action to know the ‘other’ will give voices to the unheard and dignify everyone, especially the listeners.”

A peace-building event organized by RPEP. (photo RPEP Facebook)

3-year peace education program concludes (Rwanda)

After three years of building sustainable peace in communities across the country, the Rwanda Peace Education Program (RPEP) is coming to a close. RPEP has reached more than 50,000 people from more than 20 districts across Rwanda promoting positive values including social cohesion, pluralism and personal responsibility, empathy, critical thinking and action to build a more peaceful society.

Training Report: “Education for Peace – Developing Competences for Peace Education in the Youth Field”

The European Intercultural Forum e. V. just finalised the narrative report of their 1st training course in the frame of the Training Programme “Education for Peace – Developing Competences for Peace Education in the Youth Field” (Misaktsieli, Georgia – April 10-18, 2016)

Patrick Asuquo Effiwatt is the head boy at Township Primary school in Plateau State, Nigeria. He is also one of the student leaders in the school's Peace Club. (MCC Photo/Dave Klassen)

Peace education in photos (Mennonite Central Committee)

The Mennonite Central Committee’s Global Family education program supports nine projects that focus on peace education. Students learn about diversity, forgiveness and the skills they need to mediate conflicts between their peers. These programs are all located in places that have a history of violent conflict, and our local partners believe that the children who learn nonviolence have the potential to grow to be leaders of change. This article introduces several Global Family peace projects around the world in photos.

Applied Peace Education in Mexico

How can we empower people facing chronic violence to define and solve their own problems, rather than imposing solutions from abroad (which are almost certain to fail)? The Trans-Border Institute (TBI) at the University of San Diego believes that the most effective solutions to the most pressing problems of peace and justice in Mexico will come from the communities most affected. They understand the problems and potential solutions better than any outside analysis. But, they also need encouragement, training, and research infrastructure from unbiased sources, outside of their own political and social constraints, to realize their potential. To this end, TBI has developed certificate programs in Applied Peace Education, interactive educational and capacity building programs in the areas of Mexico hardest hit by the drug war and the dislocations of the border.

A Step towards Peace Initiative (India)

“Pashmina weaving helped to meet my educational needs and I am still pursuing my Master’s degree in English” shared Aneesa. Speaking on how she joined the youth group she reminisces, “I used to notice the activities of women and the youth group formed by IGSSS in my village and in the adjacent villages; initially, I felt it was a futile activity and was not really interested in joining them. But one day, I happened to attend a peace education workshop organized by IGSSS under its P-LEAPS project which was held at Singpora. I listened to the resource person at the event keenly, acquainting us with concepts of peace building and how we can engage with different stakeholder to reduce conflicts in our respective areas. He also spoke on the need of building peace in conflict ridden Kashmir” added Aneesa. “It is there, I realized that I am missing something; the knowledge by which I can contribute towards the peace building initiatives”.

“Restorative justice addresses fundamental problems in the culture of peace. If we can do it in the schools, we can do it in society as a whole,” David Adams said. (Photo: Aliyya Swaby)

New Haven Peaces Out. A Bit (CT, USA)

The public schools “restorative justice” plan and the resettling of refugees in town strengthened New Haven, Connecticut’s “culture of peace” this past year, according to a new report. Compiled by the New Haven Peace Commission, the third annual report — “The State of the Culture of Peace in New Haven” — incorporates anonymous statements from 15 local activists on the ways that the city is improving or stagnating in eight different categories. The conclusion: New Haven is moving toward peace. But slowly.

Peace Exchange Community of Practice

USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, in collaboration with DME for Peace, recently launched PEACE EXCHANGE. Peace Exchange is an open, online platform hosted on DME for Peace where anyone with a commitment to conflict sensitivity can share their experiences and resources on conflict sensitive practices, tools and literature. The community will help practitioners and organizations improve integration of conflict sensitive and peacebuilding approaches into development and humanitarian assistance trainings and programs.

Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman (right, white scarf) was awarded the Nobel Peace Price for her nonviolent activism for women’s rights. (Photo: Sudarsan Raghavan)

How the world is proving Martin Luther King right about nonviolence

Since 2011, the world has been a deeply contentious place. Although armed insurgencies rage across the Middle East, the Sahel and Southern Asia, violent civil conflicts are no longer the primary way that people seek to redress their grievances. Instead, from Tunis to Tahrir Square, from Zuccotti Park to Ferguson, from Burkina Faso to Hong Kong, movements worldwide have drawn on the lessons of Gandhi, King and everyday activists at home and abroad to push for change. (In 2011) when we drilled into the data, we found that nonviolent resistance campaigns don’t succeed by melting the hearts of their opponents. Instead, they tend to succeed because nonviolent methods have a greater potential for eliciting mass participation — on average, they elicit about 11 times more participants than the average armed uprising — and because this is the source of major power shifts within the opponent regime. That was 2011. Now it’s 2016. What have we learned about nonviolent resistance in the past five years? This article sketches some of the key empirical takeaways from political science, some of which have rather surprising implications for skeptics of nonviolent action.

Shelly Gracon

Student Creates Butterfly Project in Response to Tamir Rice’s Death

Second-year social work master’s student Shelly Gracon describes herself as very outspoken and an activist who takes a sustainable approach. Those qualities have served her well as she has worked to address the shooting death of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy and create a long-term environment of healing and hope for those directly affected and for the broader community. Gracon is a student in the Community Practice for Social Change concentration in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.

Tiffany Anderson, the superintendent of the 3,000-student Jennings School District in Jennings, Mo., addresses college-prep students on Dec. 10. Anderson has a "hands-on" approach and visits classrooms frequently. She has brought additional funding, initiative and momentum to the district. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

This superintendent has figured out how to make school work for poor kids

(Washington Post) School districts don’t usually operate homeless shelters for their students. Nor do they often run food banks or have a system in place to provide whatever clothes kids need. Few offer regular access to pediatricians and mental health counselors, or make washers and dryers available to families desperate to get clean. But the Jennings Mo. School District — serving about 3,000 students in a low-income, predominantly African American jurisdiction just north of St. Louis — does all of these things and more. When Superintendent Tiffany Anderson arrived here 3 1/2 years ago, she was determined to clear the barriers that so often keep poor kids from learning. And her approach has helped fuel a dramatic turnaround in Jennings, which has long been among the lowest-performing school districts in Missouri.

United Movement to End Child Soldiering: reflections from our work

United Movement to End Child Soldiering, based in Washington, DC, is partnered with UMECS: The Center for Peace, Education and Development, a Republic of Uganda based NGO, to fulfill a mutually shared mission: to support secondary school and higher education for children and youth affected by conflict and poverty, together with school-based peace education and guidance and counseling programs, and help to build cultures of peace to prevent new wars. Following are excerpts from their 2015 year-end newsletter.

Handbook on Human Security

Handbook on Human Security

Human security aims to address the root causes of today’s crises, ensuring the rights and needs of people, and addressing the root causes of conflict: citizens who live with dignity and have hope for their future rarely take up arms or join extremist movements. The Alliance for Peacebuilding’s Director of Human Security, Lisa Schirch, has spearheaded a comprehensive, three-year project culminating in a first-ever handbook and online training curriculum, along with a compilation of case studies illustrating successful civil-military collaborations, and a policy brief outlining key guidelines for policymakers.

A 23-year-old Arlington man, who wasn't publicly identified by police, allegedly replaced a sign reading "All" over the word "Black" on a banner displayed outside Arlington's First Parish Unitarian Church. The resulting "All Lives Matter" banner was discovered Nov. 27 by a parishioner, who took it down and contacted police. (Arlington Police Department)

Massachusetts man who defaced Black Lives Matter sign gets ‘restorative justice,’ not criminal charges

(Original article: Conor Berry, MassLive.com, Dec. 3, 2015) ARLINGTON — Rather than arrest a man for defacing a Black Lives Matter sign displayed at a local church, authorities have come up with a “restorative justice solution,” according to Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan. The 23-year-old man, who was not publicly identified by police, allegedly replaced […]

Peace Action Project for Women makes Difference (India)

(Original article: Gaurav Das, The Times of India, Dec. 4, 2015) GUWAHATI: A peace action project involving women from Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and Karbi Anglong district is slowly doing its bit in building confidence among ethnic communities vulnerable to clashes. The project, initiated by Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSS-NE), in association with Caritas International, hopes […]

A man walks past a boarded-up row of houses as rain falls in Baltimore, Sunday, April 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Mapping the Continuing Culture of Disinvestment in Baltimore’s Black Neighborhoods

(Original article: Brentin Mock, Citylab.com, Nov. 18, 2015) If Baltimore seems hardwired for racial strife and segregation, that’s partly because the banks there have programmed it that way. Baltimore has a long history of redlining, in which financial institutions refuse to offer housing loans or insurance in African-American neighborhoods. That redlining legacy has continued running […]

Peace Clubs promote culture of peace, tolerance (Zimbabwe)

(Original article: crisiszimbabwe.org, Nov. 13, 2015) In an effort to address issues of political violence and promote a culture of tolerance, villagers from Buhera West have united to focus on fostering unity in their area. The villagers from Manjengwa Village in Buhera West Ward 5 have united under Peace Clubs, an initiative by Heal Zimbabwe […]

Building a Sustainable Present: What can one person do?

  Building a Sustainable Present: What can one person do? A special panel discussion on sustainability and change was convened by the Peace Education Initiative at The University of Toledo on Tuesday, November 10, 2015.   Looking at sustainability, this panel of experts shared work being done at various levels from the grassroots to the […]