Monday, November 11th 2002 , a.m.

Annual Conference on Peace Education in Canada :

 Post-Conference Workshop for Action

McMaster University

 Notes prepared by Sarah Ferguson.

In addition to these notes, see the  CONFERENCE SUMMARY (Draft December 3, 2002) click here - this is the important page: it has our proposed Vision and Action Plan for Peace Education in Canada that came out of the Conference. 

The question is posed: What is the goal of today’s meeting?

 

Bob Stewart: We’re working towards a proposed vision, an action plan for peace education in Canada .  It may be useable towards other countries and applicable in other places but first we must get our act together in Canada .  Let’s draft a proposed vision and action plan to be circulated among the conference participants and beyond this conference.  Look to the big picture, a vision, and an action plan; should be pragmatic, not “pie in the sky”.  Not developed curriculums per say rather a plan of action. 

 

1.      We decide to take one half hour to look at our notes of the past four days, and organize “potential action items” under the categories: short-term, intermediate and long-term.  We decide to write down these actions (items) on individual post-it notes and organize based on the three categories.

Later it is decided to further divide the short-term, intermediate-term and long-term into community level and world level.

 

Joan (offers suggestion to look at international level as well as community level regarding post-it note project): Bob, you said at one point that Canada has a special potential and responsibility to the rest of the world given the disastrous state of the UN.  What should Canada do on an international level?  There are some things the country could do internationally (that are) very special.

 

David: Yannis and I conversed in response to the work of physicist Derrick Hall.  We must look to the apocalyptic in respect that “time is running out”.  There’s great value in planting seeds and letting them grow: the “earth worm long term”.  But a certain portion of work today should pay respect to the “high-risk, dramatic, urgent, apocalyptic”.  Derrick Hall proposes immediate rapid action that I see as another dimension to our proposals. 

 

Conversation shifts to issues in the news: 1. Palestine-Israel, news of missiles fired into Gaza strip.  2. Conflicts among Iraq and U.S.A.

 

Bob S: As chair, I must say, we can’t have effect on these emergent issues.  We can’t be bogged down by debates of fires-- Time is of the essence.  Thus the trouble with the earth worm perspective, though we must look to the long-term perspective.  We are cultivators.

            Our goal: to prioritize our sticky notes making an action plan.  We should use this time to put deadlines to things, put people’s names to things, and devise tactics how to implement things. Let us verbalize a vision for Peace Education in Canada .

 

Conversation revolves around coming up with this vision.  Vision should be a simple statement, easy to remember captures what you want to end up with (i.e. Kennedy had the vision to put a man on the moon and bring him back before the end of the decade).  Regarding peace, it’s not simple to come up with a vision.

 

Meg: Our vision is of what we want the world to look like. Is it a different vision of peace versus peace education in Canada ?

 

Joan (regarding social studies): Vision captures the spirit of where you want to be: the idealistic leading to something more practical: negotiation and work to be done.

 

David: There’s a multiplicity of visions.  Not one vision but complementary visions.

 

Laurie: Vision is sketchy if we go through the steps of the action plan, rather it’s the synergy of it all.

 

Meg: Whether we use the vision to achieve the plan, or use the plan to attain the vision, we now have rich fodder that can be worked with immediately.

 

Bob: Spend some time on clear articulation.

 

Seddika: Who is the audience?

 

Bob: The primary audience is Canadian people. There’s no one it isn’t for, though some it should be aimed at more directly.

 

Seddika: We should forget about our differences; concentrate on the dream I want to feel in peace.  What are opposites? And how can I take the present situation and what can I do to improve the present situation?

 

Bob: Every person offers a perspective.

 

Sticky Note Exercise

 

6 volunteers, one for each category, each person clusters common ideas within each category. 

 

Community Level- Short-term

1.      Planning meeting for next year.

2.      Individual ideas

3.      Direct involvement of youth

4.      Parenting education and peace

5.      Develop a Canadian peace prize

6.      Promote conference outcomes

7.      Post charter of rights and freedoms in every classroom

8.      Send letters to CEOs, chair(wo)men of boards.

9.      Communication: put a one page critical statement in front page of white pages

10.  Funding initiatives: centralize resources

11.  Determine school curriculum

12.  Create committee structure around outcome categories

13.  Research

14.  Clarify individual and collective Peace Ed. Interests

15.  Develop teaching tool to debunk worldview, series of workshops to help people see themselves as social agents of change.

 

Community Level- Intermediate-term

1.      Develop measures to get “Culture or Peace” used ubiquitously in society

2.      Teacher education

3.      Lobbying

-set up mechanisms to lobby.

4.      Networking

-annual summit conference

5.      Role of children

6.      Curriculum

7.      Provisions of resources

8.      Develop Campaign to depict culture of peace in business society

9.      Other ideas not clustered into above categories:

a)      Culture of Peace Newsletter ( McMaster University )

b)      Liase with black communities, confronting crime (in light of Toronto Star report on racial profiling.

c)      Be ready to fill jails

d)      Introduce Gandhi, MLK into training for teachers

e)      Peace Ed. Workshops for teachers; offer to boards at local level

 

Community Level- Long-term

1.      Major Concepts

a)      hurting people isn’t ok

b)      arts and culture

c)      work with science

d)      work like earthworm; keep vision of soaring bird

e)      dance

2.      Research based

a)      local/domestic, school/street violence

b)      peace web-sites

c)      study and decimate experiences of practical, democratic participation in schools

d)      teach children about feelings; what can they do about them?

e)      shift from individual to collective and community

f)        produce research friendly catalogue

3.      Program based

a)      city peace commission

b)      encourage study in USA and other places

c)      encourage dialogue with police

d)      youth voice in political and peace organizations

e)      radio station: promote peace ed.

 

4.      Lobby based

a)      peace propaganda campaign

b)      spend more on peace then war

 

World Level- Long-term & Short-term (these categories were put together based on the cross-similarities of many of the items)

 

1.      Major ideas

a)      help children to speak their truths

b)      youth voice immerging in political and peace organizations

c)      working towards a peace industrial complex; make money on peace initiatives

d)      support international initiatives

e)      Canada and its citizens must be seen as an important part of the world regarding peace

 

2.      Create and Publish

a)      peace movies, books, monuments, etc. (short-term)

b)      empower people to publish non profit media resources (long-term)

c)      publish youth written documents, children’s peace initiatives

 

3.      Actions and Partnerships

Short-term

a)      bring world NGOs together

b)      support September 21

c)      celebrate the decade for a culture of peace and non-violence

d)      organize youth card campaign for Hague appeal of peace

e)      implement support for UNESCO documents

f)        UNAC

Long-term

g)      help develop culture of peace

h)      world-youth peace initiatives

i)        link schools in Canada with schools in Afghanistan

j)        Fundraise to build schools

k)      Workshop with police and military

l)        Increase dialogue

 

Laurie: The proliferation of changing a culture of war to a culture of peace rests on the changing of attitudes.  The development of knowledge and skills: what does peace look like, sound like, feel like?  We have to know how to develop ideas to be peaceful rather than watching kids divert back to what the parents taught (violence). 

1.      Peace Pole Ceremony (photos passed around).

2.      What do kids talk about at Peace Symposium (Nov. 2001, Apr. 2002)

This included peace visioning in the classrooms, why peace is important to the students, band learned songs about peace, representatives from classrooms read ideas at mic., planting of a peace pole, etc.

 

Teachers have to unify and decide “this is what we believe in as staff.”  There are always nay-sayers but we must work for the majority.  There’s a need to sit down with the administration and focus on activities centred on value.  Once this is clarified, get on board to put together the resources.

 

Meg: The classroom represents a space of conversion of systems; we have to understand all the different levels that come to play in the classroom.

 

Laurie: This is not simple.  For example a school in New York may be surrounded with violence. Climate/culture needs to be deconstructed; unearth the dimensions. 

Example of an exercise in classroom: Grade 6 class: individual writes down everything (s)he feels (s)he has the right to do.  Share this with the person next to you.  Differentiate between rights and privileges. Reword negative statements to positive ones (i.e. “to be without fear” should change “to be safe”). 

 

Meg: The culture of the classroom is key.  Kids need to feel valued by the teacher so they develop skills to value one another.  The Art of Living Peace Program is based on affirmation- published by the UN.

 

Affirmation

a)      have right to a safe education

b)      jot down negative things that happen in the classroom and bus

c)      kids identify their rights and what takes away from these rights

d)      get kids to value; engage kids

e)      build up images supporting Culture of Peace

f)       move from Culture of War as they know it

g)      have kids collect signatures for manifesto 2000

 

Yannis: How about cloning good teachers?  (haha)  We can elevate the status of good teachers by developing a documentary showcasing these good teachers.  Publish this and play it in schools.   We need to develop a) materials and b) lobbying systems.  Get these things into the hands of teachers.  Get copies of UN, Hague documents in every school and get people to value these things within the school system.

 

LUNCH BREAK

 

 

After the break, it was discussed how Bob Stewart had invited every province minister to come to the conference.  One representative of a Ministry came - Joan Engel, Alberta Learning.  In addition, Paul Cappon (President of the Policy Action Group on Learning and Director General of Council of Ministers of Education, Canada) also made a presentation.  We discussed the need to hear what is happening from within different avenues of the system. 

Various tactics were discussed for a move to peace education:

1.      Must understand the system before you can change it.

2.      Politicians need to be held accountable: motivate people (youth in particular) to hold politicians’ liable.

3.      Youth need to be active participants within the system (investment in future)

4.      The Civics Course in schools teaches statistical data like how many seats in legislature, etc. There’s a need for individual teachers to teach about active citizenship.  Take kids to a demonstration.

5.      Have background to answer questions and challenges regarding UN documents, etc.

6.      Go to authorization of Credit of Teachers to involve more teachers in conferences for peace education.  Determine means of formal credit for this; work for Certified Peace Conference for Ontario . Start at the board level.  Positive leadership must be demonstrated to interest people.  I.e. small team(s) to contact each board and talk to them about Peace Ed.

7.      Say it simply so people understand: “this is how things could look if we adopted Peace Education. There’s a relationship between a failure to act sooner and what is happening now.”

8.      School is politicized and indifferent to change. How do we change this?

9.      Develop unions of teachers and religious organizations.

10.  Develop community level discussion (i.e. CP News Network).

11.  Encourage student action and lobbying.

12.  Support teachers

13.  HAP cards

 

Taj: Teachers go in with great ideas they want to implement in their schools.  It’s extremely discouraging (for people to work in an environment where they) throw idealism out the window, and face up to “reality”.  We need to work together in ways of non-violent social change.  Dialogue with Queen’s Park and OSSDF.  Link and organize community and students.  Form initiatives for finding reasons behind why this or that is or is not being taught.

 

Ray: At the Hamilton level talk about ethical issues might improve labour peace.  Certain company principles regarding investment banking; solutions imposed are making tragic results.

 

Larry: There are basic concepts we can use in our quest.  Start to look at political culture in classrooms or workplace. Take measure of: how democratic? How authoritative? Do people understand inputs and outputs?  Go to various classrooms and compare.  Is the classroom a participatory democracy? Is one person in charge?  There’s a need for a Canadian Peace Education handbook.  A public handbook of peace activities (Deirdre Fisher).