How to be a Peacemaker

Thursday, February 2
How to be a Peacemaker
Weiss Center, Rubendall Recital Hall, 12:00 p.m.

Issue in Context
If it is true that all governments claim they want peace for their citizens and for the international world, then why is it that we fail to teach our children peace in the classroom? In our modern society, there is very little focus on the study of non-violence, conflict resolution, pacifism, or the discipline of peace. Many famous philosophers have subscribed to this notion of nonviolence. Gandhi once famously said “Nonviolence is the weapon of the strong.” Einstein seemed to agree with this notion, writing “We must begin to inoculate our children against militarism by educating them in the spirit of pacifism. … I would teach peace rather than war, love rather than hate.”

People become violent because they are taught violence as children. This cycle of violence can be broken. Peacemaking can in fact be taught; the literature in this field is large and continues to grow. In 1970, only one college had a major in peace studies: Manchester College in Indiana . According to the Peace and Justice Studies Association, a national group based at Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, as many as 300 undergraduate and graduate programs are currently in place. Often times, majors, minors and concentrations are offered in these programs. Since 1986, brutal or corrupt governments in Poland , the Philippines , Chile , South Africa , Yugoslavia and Georgia have all been driven from power not by violence but by organized nonviolent resistance. Unless we teach our children peace, someone else will teach them violence.

About the Speaker
Colman McCarthy is a syndicated columnist and editorial page writer for The Washington Post. He teaches non-violence at the Georgetown University Law Center , American University , University of Maryland and three public schools. Over 23 years, McCarthy has taught more than 7,000 students. He founded The Center for Teaching Peace, which helps schools begin and broaden peace studies programs. Under his leadership, the center also conducts workshops and seminars on conflict resolution and mediation.

Colman McCarthy has been speaking about social justice for many years. He speaks at more than 20 colleges and universities annually, as well as conferences and groups. He has appeared on national media programs including “Crossfire,” “The Today Show” and “Weekend Edition” on NPR. McCarthy brings to his audiences the idea that each of us can be a peacemaker, and gives us the opportunity to learn how to be aware of our society. He convincingly and passionately calls on students to defy the status quo and become more involved in the lives of others. His most famous books include I’d Rather Teach Peace and All of One Peace: Essays on Non-Violence. Followers of his writing cherish McCarthy’s work for the passion of his convictions and his idealism.

Related Links
• The Center for Teaching Peace
• Can Peace be Taught – and Learned?
• I’d Rather Teach Peace