The idea of peacemaking in a world that often seems to be dedicated to war and violence might seem naïve, but even small changes can make a difference when people learn to work together.
Helping them to learn to communicate differently through peace literacy was the focus of a series of workshops led by Paul K. Chappell, a former soldier turned peace educator and Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
A former soldier is perhaps not the most obvious choice as a speaker for a conference on peacemaking. Yet his experience helped to give a personal twist to the Key Communication Tools for Peace Literacy workshop, the first session in a series on peace literacy held in Winnipeg starting Apr. 11, 2017.
According to Paul Chappell’s website, “Peace literacy is necessary in an interconnected world where the fate of every nation is tied to the fate of our planet.” Yet few people really even know what peace is, and still less how to implement it.
The first step is learning the techniques of peacemaking in everyday life and in the larger world, a process that can take years, and even a lifetime. Chappell’s technique for teaching people about peace includes discussions of bullying, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as other common causes of conflict between people, and is geared to people of all ages who want to learn how to bring peace to their relationships and to the world.
Chappell’s vision for peace goes far beyond families and friends in their local contexts. His “peaceful revolution” calls for people to consider the possibility of world peace. People are not naturally violent, he says, but they can draw on communication and peacemaking techniques to find alternatives to the often combative methods that they too often use.
The short workshop gave participants only a taste of what meaningful peacemaking is about, but it was a start for people interested in finding better ways of dealing with others, whether at work, at home, or in the larger world. Attendance at the event was not large, but the participants seemed enthusiastic about the ideas they heard.
If even just a few of the people who attended the Key Communication Tools for Peace Literacy workshop take what they learned into their everyday lives and relationships, they might help to make their part of the world a better place.