cultivating peace  
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What we do or choose not to do is shaped by our beliefs about how the world works. Each of us carries a set of assumptions, or a world-view, that acts like a filter for our ideas and actions. Key assumptions in the predominant world-view — that human violence is inevitable, natural resources are endless and consumerism is a right — shape what we learn, how we think and our willingness to act. The goal of this resource is to provide learning opportunities that challenge these assumptions in ourselves and in our students, so that together we will be empowered to take action for a culture of peace.

Peace is more than the absence of war. It is justice, equity and freedom from oppression, discrimination and all forms of violence. It is compassion and empathy for those we see in our communities and for those whose faces we will never see and whose voices are silenced. It is economic and environmental security. It is cultural dignity and appreciation for all of the unique manifestations of the human spirit. Because of this, the Taking Action resource includes a wide range of issues relating to this definition of peace, including sustainable development, economic disparity, fair trade, human rights and government spending priorities.

Awareness alone is not enough. Students need to have optimism and confidence that their actions can make a difference, and they need to be assured that there is no one “right” way to take action. We will not all be leaders of great social movements, but we all can make a significant difference in the lives of those around us and in the lives of those to whom we are connected by the threads of global citizenship. The materials in this resource provide a wide range of role models for taking tangible action in innovative, surprising or quiet ways. Educating for change is not about preaching to students that they must act, but it is about helping them understand that inaction is also a choice and perhaps the truest form of direct action.

… the root of the interlocking crises of our times, including war, the environment, the North-South gap, ethnic and other conflicts … will not be solved without a human transformation — a human revolution. Education is our best hope.

Daisaku Ikeda, president of Soka Gakkai International

As teachers, it is your mandate to meet objectives for course content and skill acquisition. This resource is about the intersection of curriculum expectations with our joint responsibility to encourage active global citizenship in our youth. It provides students with concrete opportunities to build skills —in communication, inquiry, application and understanding — and it also constructs the foundation for engaged, socially minded human beings who have the ability and the willingness to take action and make a difference in themselves and in the lives of others.

We can all do our share to redeem our world in spite of all absurdities and all frustrations and all disappointments.

Abraham Heschel

Imagine what thinking and actions would be possible if each of us shared that world-view.

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