Paul K. Chappell is the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. A graduate of West Point and a veteran of the war in Iraq, he created the idea of Peace Literacy after his time in the military. He develops the idea further in his seven-book series The Road to Peace, where he writes about waging peace, ending war, the art of living, and what it means to be human. To learn more about Chappell, his work, and his speaking schedule, visit his website.
What Is Peace Literacy?
Peace Literacy is a new approach to both peace and education, informed by three models:
- Literacy education in reading and writing
- West Point leadership training
- Nonviolence strategies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi
Peace Literacy builds on the strengths of these three models:
- Viewing peace not simply as a goal, but as a skill-set
- Teaching a strategic approach to peacemaking
- Focusing on and integrating well-being at the personal, social, and political levels
Here's a short essay on why our world needs peace literacy.
Peace Literacy: The Promise
Our understanding of peace is only as good as our understanding of the human condition and trauma. Peace Literacy is based on research about basic human needs such as self-worth and belonging, and how trauma gets entangled with these needs. Peace Literacy offers:
- A new vision of what it means to be human
- A practical approach to healing trauma
- A realistic paradigm for solving problems in families, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, nations, and our global community
Peace Literacy is a growing movement of educators and concerned citizens who want to empower people with the training, skills, and understanding needed to heal the root causes of our problems, rather than merely addressing surface symptoms. There is a lot you can do to help create a more peace literate world, we have provided a few ideas here in this Teacher's Guide.
A peace literate world is a secure, just, and prosperous world.
A New Peace Paradigm
To gain a deep and practical understanding of extremism, trauma, and the nature of human happiness, and to solve our national and global problems in the twenty-first century and beyond, we need a realistic and pragmatic model of the human condition that helps us understand our human needs and the tangles of trauma. You can find a recently updated essay on this topic, available for download, here.
"If we aren’t taught the language of peace, how can it be spoken?" Reflections from Michael Gardner, President of the Santa Barbara Rotary Club, after hearing Chappell's presentation on Feb. 9, 2018.
We have a number of workshops coming up this year that are open to the public - check them out!
The recently updated essay "Our Human Needs and the Tangles of Trauma" can be downloaded here for free.
We offer peace literacy lesson plans and study guides suitable for use in k-12 classes, higher education, and community organizations. These materials have been created by a variety of educators as a public service, and they can be downloaded here for free.
Sharyn Clough, Ph.D. Peace Literacy
Trish Beckett, B.Ed.
Scott Griswold, M.Div.
Krista Hensley, M.A.
Abbie Jenks, M.SW., M.Ed.
Christopher Mahon, B.Ed., MA
Ann Mbacke, B.A.
Derek Petrey, Ph.D.
Susan Radford, B.A.
Linda Richards, Ph.D.
Katherine Rowell, Ph.D.
Teachers who’ve used our materials share their stories.
“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. ...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
“Paul Chappell recently visited our school to give our students a new perspective on the issue of bullying and harassment. For years our students have been told what they are not to do. Paul, instead, focused on what they can do to be more caring, more empathetic, more respectful, and kind to one another. This positive spin on the issue was so refreshing and spoke to our students in ways that rang true and allowed them to reflect on their own life and decisions.” Eric Wright, Principal, Alternative Education Program, College Hill High School, in Corvallis, Oregon