Paul K. Chappell, the NAPF Peace Literacy Director, brought the Peace Literacy Initiative to an interfaith group of more than 70 committed activists at the Pax Christi Texas 2018 State Conference in Houston on March 24. This event was preceded several days earlier by Chappell’s “Learning to Wage Peace” radio interview on Think, on KERA 90.1, a National Public Radio member serving North Texas.
Pax Christi International first began in 1945 with French citizens interested in reconciliation with Germany and is now considered “the official international Catholic peace movement.” Its mission is to “transform a world shaken by violence, terrorism, deepening inequalities, and global insecurity.”
Chappell was invited by long-time Pax Christi member Catherine Foley, who is also a lifetime “affiliate member” of Veterans for Peace. Foley heard Chappell speak at the 2017 Veterans for Peace conference and was struck by the intersection of Pax Christi’s active nonviolence initiative and Chappell’s positive focus on promoting nonviolent practices and strategies.
Foley recalled an earlier time in her life and how Chappell’s work could have made a difference. “I recounted the dearth of information available to new parents who did not want to pass on the type of violence with which my husband and I were raised, but had nowhere to turn at that time for models of such optimal behavior.”
In addition to comments that included “inspiring and engaging,” “innovative and thought-provoking,” “very spiritual and transformative,” and “forward-thinking info on new ideas,” participants looked to move Peace Literacy into peace education for all ages.
Joe Marcinkowski, active with the Houston Peace and Justice Center, said, “I felt Paul’s presentation was excellent, opening my mind to a better approach to peace education, but most important, if we implement, would give us an opportunity to take our peace education a further step to older children and adults.” He also considered how Peace Literacy could enhance the lives of veterans.
Mary Berwick, a longtime peace activist, a member of Pax Christi USA, and a co-founder of the Austin chapter of Pax Christi, said, “As an educator, I am especially concerned about peace education. Paul’s focus on “peace literacy” was an exciting challenge. I wrote in big letters in my notes: “Peace Literacy is a Human Right!”
That is one goal of the Peace Literacy Initiative: to make Peace Literacy internationally recognized as a human right by 2028. This is part of the paradigm shift Chappell tells us that is needed to help bring about a peace literate world without nuclear weapons and state-sanctioned war. With the commitment of the attendees at the Texas Pax Christi conference, this paradigm shift has already begun.
For more on the NAPF Peace Literacy Initiative and tools for educators, visit peaceliteracy.org.
To hear Paul K. Chappell’s radio interview on “Learning to Wage Peace,” on Think, click here.