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Peace Literacy Moves Forward

A paradigm-shifting training, compelling Peace Literacy curriculum, and an educator-friendly website—the NAPF Peace Literacy Initiative is now embracing an even wider world.

Participants in the NAPF 2017 Summer Peace Literacy Workshop, held July 16-21, had special praise for the work of NAPF Peace Leadership Director Paul K. Chappell who developed the Peace Literacy Initiative early last year as a practical approach that sees peace as a skill set.

“Paul Chappell offers a visionary, practical direction forward for humanity,” said Quaker Nadine Hoover, of Conscience Studio, Friends Peace Teams-Asia West Pacific, and the Power of Goodness Global Story Pool.

“Paul is a Master Teacher,” said Rev. Pat Bessey of Unity of Portland, Maine. This was her second training with Paul. “His passion, depth of knowledge, clarity of communication, and appreciation for those of us there made for an unforgettable experience.”

Those teaching on the college level were also energized. “We left the seminar feeling more equipped and empowered to make a difference, and to apply fundamental academic concepts to issues that deeply matter in society,” said Dr. Craig Wansink and Kelly Jackson from the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan University

As the participants settled back into their daily routines, they gave their new perspectives. “The Peace Literacy Workshop cemented my belief that nonviolence is never the weak, idle option; in fact, it is perhaps the most difficult route one can choose—as it demands commitment, empathy, and strategy,” commented Walsh University college senior Amy Gilmore. “I actually just talked about the conflict resolution portion of it with my university’s soccer team during a team bonding event! It went great!”

Preparing to return to her middle school classroom, Kim Cowperthwaite explained, “I came back to Maine feeling empowered to teach peace literacy in a way that is practical, that is grounded in fundamental truths of human behavior, and that is appropriate to a public school setting. Knowing, living, and teaching peace literacy is indeed the crucial work of our time and I am grateful for the experience that Paul and the entire staff at NAPF gave me.”

Janice Murphy, another Maine middle school teacher, said, “Paul’s peace literary language will carry forward in the ways I establish conversations – both private and as a whole class. The selections of literature and non-fiction will be analyzed not just from the usual ‘type of conflict’ but a deeper analysis of characters based on the nine needs of survival that Paul presented on the first day….I especially appreciate the connections that I have made with other teachers to support this effort in making peace literacy an essential element in any curriculum.”

These two middle school educators can now download from the first component of the new peace literacy curriculum, Peace Literacy Lesson Plan 1 on the Nine Peace Literacy Skills, with three skills each on understanding and healing aggression, recognizing and applying the power of respect, and resolving conflict/the power of calm.

Chappell finalized this curriculum with Sharon Clough, professor of philosophy and co-director of the Phronesis Lab: Experiments in Engaged Ethics at Oregon State University. She now also serves as the NAPF Peace Literacy Curriculum Coordinator.

Clough, who has also taught high school, gathered information from the other educators at the workshop and helped to reorganize the website with busy teachers in mind.

With the Phronesis Lab in the midst of a “Year of Peace Literacy Project” with Chappell giving lectures and teaching workshops, Clough plans to continue her work with Paul to build a peace literacy curriculum to share in schools across the country and around the world. She said, “Kids need to learn peace in a sustained fashion – in the same way that they are taught to read and write. And for us adults, too, we have much to learn. It is never too late.”

“Learning peace literacy is, I have come to discover, like going back to school,” Clough said. “Just like children, we’re learning things we didn’t even know we didn’t know, and didn’t know we needed to.”

She recognizes that Chappell is building a powerful explanatory model of the kinds of peace literacy skills we need to learn if we are to survive. “The peace literacy program couldn’t be any more relevant to what’s happening in our country right now. Part of what makes Paul different is that he offers hope—hope for healing.”

To learn more about the new Peace Literacy curriculum, visit

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