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Canadian Peace Education Conference: Listening to the New Generation
an article by David Adams

There were many high-powered presentations at the 2nd Annual National Conference on Peace Education in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from November 20-24. There were the Millennium Project, Montessori schools, Rudolph Steiner/Waldorf schools, the International Baccalaureate, Peaceful Schools International, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, Classroom Connections, and the Hague Peace Appeal, among others. Their publications and materials for the classroom provided a roomful of color at the conference.

But as one participant put it, the real stars were the kids themselves who came to the conference not just to listen but to speak up for their new generation. "I was disappointed that we adults had our own agendas and started to put them forward before young people had much of a chance. But when the young did speak, and they did plenty of it throughout this conference, man were they ever on target!"

They called for passion. They spoke out about the oppressiveness of the system that supports wars abroad and imposes conformity at home. They demanded a voice in designing their own curricula. In one presentation, the professor stood aside and the six students in his class took control of the microphone. Together they described how they struggled through questions of how to use the computer for peace and finished by designing a model website.

I felt privileged to be a part of the conference, helping them put it in the framework of the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

One came away with the impression that peace education is thriving in Canada, and that it should help inspire peace education in the US. The sponsor of the conference, the Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace, is already planning provincial conferences throughout Canada for next year leading up to another national conference in November, 2004. For more information, see the website of www.peace.ca.

DISCUSSION

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Peace education in Canada: Model for other countries?,

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Latest reader comment:

Your report about the Conference on Peace education illustrates how individuals, especially students, can make a significant difference in the culture of peace. I'm fascinated by the work done by a few Canadian students concerning the use of computers as a means of promoting a culture of peace. Is their website online?

This may be of particular value here because of Maine's Learning Technology Initiative, a state program designed to make available laptops to all 7th and 8th grade public school students by the end of this school year. What a boon it would be if they were all aware of CPNN!


This report was posted on November 29, 2003.