U.S. Army Officer in Afghanistan 2006. (Photo: The U.S. Army / Flickr)

Speaking to High Schoolers About the Truth of War Helped Me Deal with My Trauma from Being a Soldier

Rory Fanning, a military veteran, speaks to high schoolers about the truth of war. If a teenager is going to sign up to kill and die for a cause or even the promise of a better life, then the least he or she should know is the good, the bad and the ugly about the job. Fanning also notes that in a world without a draft, JROTC’s school-to-military pipeline is a lifeline for Washington’s permanent war across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa. Its unending conflicts are only possible because kids like those he’s talked to in the few classrooms he’s visited continue to volunteer. The politicians and the school boards, time and again, claim their school systems are broke. No money for books, teacher’s salaries and pensions, healthy lunches. And yet, in 2015, the U.S. government spent $598 billion on the military, more than half of its total discretionary budget, and nearly 10 times what it spent on education.

Representatives of the organizations participating in Pivot to Peace (Photo: provided)

Pivot to Peace aims to foster hope, reduce violence

(Louisville, KY) For young people who have been shot or stabbed, that key moment for change can occur while they are in the hospital, recovering from their injuries. This brief window of time — of vulnerability and rethinking their lives — is when an innovative new initiative called Pivot to Peace will offer the respect, skills and resources to strengthen participants, supporting them in a crucial pivot to a healthier, nonviolent way of life.

A peace education class for 16-year-old Syrian refugees run by International Alert's partners in Lebanon. (Image: International Alert)

Syria, Five Years On: Building Peace in the Midst of War

Can you really build peace in the middle of a war? It certainly seems at best a counter-intuitive, bad use of time and money. Or does it actually make a lot more sense than any other course of action? The author, Harriet Lamb of International Alert, visited NGOs working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon to do ‘peace education’, a project funded by the British government. Think of this as part citizenship classes for children whose citizenship has been blown to smithereens, part the fun of a Saturday drama class, part therapy for kids who have been through hell – and are still living it. It was a deeply touching experience.

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.

A girl studies on a computer at the shelter where she lives in Los Angeles.

The Limitations of Teaching ‘Grit’ in the Classroom

(Original article: Aisha Sultan, The Atlantic, Dec. 2, 2015) The first time I heard a preschooler explaining a classmate’s disruptive behavior, I was surprised at how adult her 4-year-old voice sounded. Her classmate “doesn’t know how to sit still and listen,” she said to me, while I sat at the snack table with them. He […]

Philippines: Muslim, Christian students celebrate peace

Philippines: Muslim, Christian students celebrate peace

(Original article: Roy Ramos, Anadolu Agency, Nov. 27, 2015) ZAMBOANGA, the Philippines  Students at a predominantly-Muslim public secondary school in the Philippines’ south took turns to read passages from the Koran and Bible on Friday as they joined a week-long province-wide celebration called the Week of Peace in the predominantly Christian city of Zamboanga. Muslim students — who make up 90 percent of the Arena […]

Illustration by Justine Beckett

Healing From Moral Injury

(Original article: Lauren Porosoff, Teaching Tolerance Magazine No. 51, Fall 2015) By seventh grade, Jerome had a reputation: weak performance on assessments, inconsistent homework, frequent need for redirection in class, inappropriate comments at school and online, physical fighting.  But I saw a different Jerome. In English class, Jerome was always raising his hand to read […]

Countering false stories about Thanksgiving with truth telling

The Global Campaign for Peace Education and the Upstander Project invite you to join us in countering false stories about Thanksgiving with truth telling about the history and current reality of Native peoples in the U.S.. Before you sit down to your big meal on Thursday considering sharing First Light with your family and friends. This 13-minute film can be […]

In the 19th and 20th Centuries, tens of thousands of Canadian aboriginal children were sent to church-run, government-funded boarding schools, called residential schools. Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, date unknown. Library and Archives Canada/PA-042133

Reconciliation: Healing the Nation

(BBC World Service) With the recent election of a new, Liberal government, the issue of reconciliation between Canada’s indigenous peoples and the rest of the population is again high on the agenda. So what is the best way to atone for the wrongdoings of the past? The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth […]

Educational Responses to Paris: Facing History & Ourselves

(Original article by Karen Murphy, Facing History & Ourselves, Nov. 14, 2015) We mourn with the people of France. Friday evening’s events are unimaginable. Parisians were doing the things that people do in a free society, enjoying an evening out with friends and family, having dinner, a drink, a laugh, hearing music, watching a football match. By the […]

Separation Wall, Jerusalem.

Fear, Trauma and Healing: a Scientific Analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Relationship

(Original article: Yoav Litvin, Counterpunch, 9-28-15) An approach designated as “evolutionary” can be employed in reference to two outlooks on global ethnic conflicts in general, and the Israeli/Palestinian one in particular. A Conservative and Neo-Liberal interpretation of Darwinism employs an approach whereby only the strongest peoples survive in a multi ethnic land. This so–called “survival of […]

Peace Education and Truth-Telling: A Transformative Philosophy of Disrupting of Status Quo, Political Efficacy, and Action

David Ragland The Truth Telling ProjectBoard Member, Peace and Justice Studies AssociationVisiting Assistant Professor at Bucknell Universitytwitter: @davidragland1(Featured article: Issue #120 April 2015) If we are to agree that the question of the ‘colorline’ continues to be a pressing issue in our country, then we need a national conversation that goes beyond talking. A conversation […]

Commemorating the Vietnam War: Remembering the Unlearned Lessons

Terry Provance and David Cortright (Featured article: Issue #117 January 2015) This spring marks several important Vietnam War-related anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the major US escalation of the war, and of the first antiwar protests; the 40th anniversary of the end of the war; and 20th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between […]

Remembering Nelson Mandela on the first anniversary of his death: wisdom for peace

Vaughn John University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa(Featured article: Issue #116 December 2014) I write this piece as we approach the first anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratic president. Madiba, as he was affectionately known, died on 5 December 2013, at the age of 95. He will be remembered for many […]

Nurturing the Seed of Peace through Peace Education: An Experience from Southern Thailand

Ekraj Sabur (Featured article: Issue #97 August 2012) One of the key inspirations for many peace activists and peace educators to sustain their commitment for peace is the belief that the seed of peace is inherent in every human being. Based on this conviction, each of us is capable of nurturing this seed and can […]

September 11th: Still a Teachable Moment?

David Potori Co-Founder, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows (Featured article:Issue #75 August/September 2010) Like the proverbial tree, if a teachable moment occurs and no one hears the lesson, is it still a teachable moment? If you’ve been paying attention to the controversy, real or imagined, over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” you may have found […]