Third Annual Teaching Peace Conference

The 3rd annual Teaching Peace Conference for educators, community activists, researchers and students is scheduled for April 14, 2007, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at Oyster River High School, Durham, New Hampshire. Begun as a commemoration of the United Nation’s little known 2000-2010 Decade for a Culture of Peace, each year, the conference brings together presenters and participants to discuss peace education, environmental and cultural sustainability, and conflict resolution on both a local and global scale. This year’s conference is titled, "Weaving Peace Through Curriculum and Community."

"A Pueblo Elder once said, ‘… it is an act of courage to choose sanity and peace when others are choosing hate and war,’" notes conference co-founder, Melinda Salazar.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Mary Lee Morrison, Director of Pax Educare, The Connecticut Center for Peace Education. The title of Dr. Morrison talk will be "Creating Cultures of Peace: Relational Strands and the Weaving of Community." She will talk about the importance of each one of us building cultures of peace wherever we find ourselves, no matter the setting.

Twenty-two workshops, scheduled to run concurrently in two sessions, will include discussions on alternatives to violence at the personal, community and countrywide levels; the culture of peace; sustainability; and various approaches to non-violent conflict resolution.

Will Thomas and Richard Murphy of New Hampshire Veterans for Peace, will be giving a workshop entitled "Addicted to War," which will discuss the consequences of US militarism, both here and abroad.

Professors Leo Sandy and Scott R. Meyer of Plymouth State University will discuss the "Culture of Peace in Higher Education." Tom Lee, author of Battlebabble: Selling War in America, will discuss how governments use persuasive and deceptive language to get the public on board with war.

There will be opportunities to develop non-competitive games with teacher Ben Stump from Concord Academy, Concord, MA; learn about Islam and Arabic cultures with Mohamed Eddefaa, teacher from Merrimack High School; learn Tai Chi with local instructor Kevin Beane; and brainstorm and explore ways to deal with and prevent bullying in schools with Kate Kerman, Youth Coordinator, Cheshire Mediation. Rachel Lehr, artist/educator and founder of Rubia, the Afghan Women’s Handwork Project, will be sharing stories and photographs of her visits to Afghanistan, illuminating the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan in a rapidly changing world.

In an interactive setting, participants will learn about local and global reconciliation techniques used by the United Nations, with Virginia Swain, Director, Institute for Global Leadership, Worcester, MA.

In addition, this year’s conference will feature a "World Café" discussion session facilitated by Jon Prichard, Cooperative Extension Educator at the University of Maine. The World Café discussion technique asks several questions to changing groups of people, giving participants an opportunity to acquaint themselves with many different people and their ideas.

Other presenters include: Karen Barker, non-violence trainer; Douglas< Wheeler, Professor Emeritus, University of New Hampshire; Malcolm O’Dell, consultant/trainer International Team Building and Community Development; Pat Savage, teacher, Coe Brown; Cathy N. Vincevic, graduate student, Goddard College; Ben Goss, Natural Step facilitator; Dot Walsh, The Peace Abbey; Andrea LeBlanc of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows; Barbara Thorngren, Peace Educator; L.R. Berger of Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service; Inna Vozlinski Lehman, Russian and Esperanto teacher, interpreter and cultural advisor; Rochester, New Hampshire psychologist and founding member of Seacoast Peace Response, David Diamond; and Jake Hess, senior at Suffolk University.

The conference is organized by two Oyster River High School teachers: Melinda Salazar, social studies teacher and advisor to the Race, Unity, Diversity Club and Kay Morgan, Peace Studies teacher and Director of the New Hampshire Heritage Project. "We had both read The Tipping Point," says Morgan, "and felt that maybe we really could make a difference."

Exhibits from various peace and sustainability groups will be displayed, along with books, workbooks and other items available for purchase. Teaching Peace Conference was the 2006 recipient of the Sarah J. Farmer Peace Award.

Cost for the conference is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. A delicious lunch, provided by the Oyster River junior class will be available for $5.00.

Registration forms are available online at: www.teachingpeaceconference.org