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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 5, March 2006

Teaching peace

by Kim Meredith

In June, individuals and organizations working for peace around the globe will gather in Vancouver for the World Peace Forum 2006. In conjunction with the forum, the BC Teachers’ Federation is organizing an International Peace Education Conference to be held at the University of British Columbia, June 25–27, 2006.

For BC teachers, our students, and our communities, this is a teachable moment for peace.

As a student teacher just about to begin my practicum in BC’s Lower Mainland, I recognize that this is a particularly exciting time to be a part of the education profession. We are living in a decade declared by the United Nations as the Decade for Peace, in a country that prides itself as a keeper of peace, and in a city appointed as an International Messenger City of Peace. These designations are as meaningful or as meaningless as society chooses to make them. As teachers, we are in the position to make that difference.

Leading up to the conference, we can engage our students in a dialogue of peace and challenge them to create their own definitions of a peaceful world. What would that world look like? What are the barriers that are preventing us from living in that world now? What can we do to overcome those barriers?

At the conference itself, over 2,000 students, teachers, elders, and citizens with interests in pre-school to post-secondary education will come together to discuss, create, and disperse a curriculum of peace. Through plenary sessions, workshops, keynote addresses, and informal discussion groups, we will move closer to achieving the conference’s aim of transforming society by seeking answers to the question, "How, through education, are we going to get the world we want?"

The International Peace Education Conference provides a unique opportunity to connect with peace educators from around the globe. Ultimately, it will be our students and communities that benefit as BC’s teachers join this network of peace. I expect that the insight and motivation gained from this experience will inspire my teaching for years to come.

Registration and program information are now available at www.worldpeaceforum.ca. Visit the site today to find out how to participate in pre-conference initiatives and how to begin embracing our teachable moment of peace.

Kim Meredith is a UBC student teacher doing her practise teaching in Richmond.


Help us create a forest of peace‚ at this year’s World Peace Forum.

Have your students write messages of peace on maple leaf paper cutouts. Decorate them and hang them on a tree.

What kind of tree?
The design of your tree is up to you and your students. It could be a freestanding fake tree, a painted tree on a cardboard display, or even one on a simple piece of poster paper. The possibilities are as limitless as your students’ imagination.

Why maple leaves?
Your peace tree will be displayed among those from other schools in a forest of peace‚ at the 2006 World Peace Forum. At the forum’s conclusion, the leaves will be gently removed from the trees and donated to the peace boat, a ship that sails around the world transporting messages of peace and volunteering for peaceful organizations worldwide.

What then?
The peace boat will drop off the leaves at schools, community organizations, or anywhere else where people are receptive to messages of peace. If your students have included contact information, maybe they will hear from a penpal in another country like Japan, Vietnam, or Jordan. Though of course no response can be guaranteed, students may enjoy sending out a "message in a bottle."


On Thursday February 2, 2006, Vancouver City Council narrowly passed a motion rescinding their support for the Peace Messenger cities and the Mayors for Peace. While this is not a death blow to the World Peace Forum, it will make organizing the forum more difficult. However, the organizers of the World Peace Forum are committed to try to overcome the loss of Vancouver Council support and make the forum happen in June as planned. Organizers will turn to other municipalities to step in to the vacuum left by city council and to the local, national, and international community to make up the funding shortfall.

Already individuals and organizations are stepping forward to help the Peace Forum meet its funding requirements. Ian Graham, a Quaker peace activist from Burlington, Ontario, donated $10,000 after hearing of Vancouver City Council’s decision to flip flop on the funding of the mayor’s meeting. Local association presidents, PD chairs, and social justice contacts have been contacted by BCTF President Jinny Sims asking for locals to make donations and sponsor teachers’ attendance at the Peace Education Conference. Local communities can also fundraise to help make the forum a reality.

Organizers are encouraging all communities to "Give Peace a Dance," a way to have fun and fundraise at the same time. Charitable donations to the World Peace Forum can be made through the peace forum web site at www.worldpeace forum.ca. Donations to the BCTF International Peace Education Conference can be sent to the BCTF, attention Larry Kuehn.

– Jane Turner



Early Bird registration
(before April 30, 2006)
Full week: $175
Full week: fixed-income seniors and students: $100

Registration after May 1, 2006
Full week: $225; Full week/fixed-income seniors and students: $150

Daily Rates (No Early Bird Rate)
$50 a day
Fixed income seniors and students: $30 a day

Field-trip rate, Monday, June 26 International Peace Education Conference only: $5 per student (K–12 students must be accompanied by teacher/ supervisors)


For information about the Peace Education Conference, contact Kim Meredith or Jamie Beck at practicingpeace@mac.com.


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