“During an era when humanity has the technological capacity to destroy itself, peace literacy means survival literacy. As a child in school I spent many years learning to read and write, but I did not learn peace literacy skills. Peace literacy educates us on solving the root causes of our problems rather than merely dealing with symptoms, which is another reason why the survival and wellbeing of our country and planet depend on peace literacy.” – Paul K. Chappell, West Point graduate, Iraq War veteran, former Army Captain, Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
“Students don’t learn reading and writing in just one class. Every class reinforces reading and writing to some degree, because our educational system recognizes that a lot of effort is needed for people to read and write well. Peace literacy is even more complex than literacy in reading and writing, and if true peace is going to be achieved, peace literacy must be integrated into a variety of disciplines.” – Katherine Rowell, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology at Sinclair Community College, American Sociological Association Teaching Excellence Award (2012), Outstanding Community College Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (2005)
What Is Peace Literacy?
Peace literacy is the next step in the development of our global civilization, because peace literacy is necessary in an interconnected world where the fate of every nation is tied to the fate of our planet. Because of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, war, and environmental destruction, being preliterate in peace puts humanity and our planet at great risk . . . When peace literacy is concerned, every bit helps us improve our personal lives, the lives of those around us, and our planet as a whole.
Click here to read a brief article about why our world needs peace literacy.
Peace Literacy Curriculum: Free Sample Chapter, “Beauty and Belonging”
This website offers free peace literacy curriculum that people can use in colleges, high schools, middle schools, organizations, and their local communities. The study guides are created by a variety of educators as a public service, and all of the study guides can be downloaded for free on this website (not all of the chapter study guides are available yet; more will be added throughout the rest of the year). Here is a free sample chapter, “Beauty and Belonging,” which is Chapter 5 of The Cosmic Ocean. For educators who are unable to afford books for their classroom, we have a book donation program. Please contact us to learn more about qualifying for the book donation program. We are also committed to supporting educators who want to teach peace literacy, and we offer workshops to help people teach and model peace literacy skills. Click here to see Paul’s workshop and lecture schedule.
“This chapter could work as a stand-alone chapter and support courses that examine bullying, race, prejudice, discrimination, stereotyping, gender, and concepts of beauty. This chapter could also be adapted for use and discussion with all ages. There are some activities noted that could be adapted for younger children. The discussion on empathy in this chapter is also very important for understanding peace literacy.” – Katherine Rowell, Ph.D.
The Psychology of Fear, Terrorism, and Trauma
There are seven forms of peace literacy. The first form of peace literacy is literacy in our shared humanity. In this video filmed at the Center for Global Humanities at the University of New England, Paul K. Chappell discusses aspects of our shared humanity that we all have in common, regardless of our race, nationality, gender, or religion. As we gain literacy in our shared humanity, we can effectively resist and reduce dehumanization in our society, and it becomes more difficult for those in power to exploit our human vulnerabilities.
Classroom discussion guide for video coming soon.
Why Is It Important to Empower Young People?
Although peace literacy is important for people of all ages, it is especially critical for young people to gain peace literacy. As Gandhi said, “If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on real war against war, we shall have to begin with children.” In this video filmed at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the University of Rochester, Paul K. Chappell discusses why it is important to empower young people.