PLI Annual Reviews
Each new year, we'll post our annual look back at what we've accomplished, thanks to your support!
Highlights of Our First Year as a NonProfit Educational Tech Start-Up!
A New Home
On January 7, 2021, the Peace Literacy Institute (PLI) filed articles of incorporation with the State of Oregon and became an independent registered nonprofit in the college town of Corvallis. PLI Founder and Executive Director Paul K. Chappell was welcomed by friends and colleagues from Oregon State University (OSU) who had been researching and studying Peace Literacy since Paul first visited in the fall of 2016. Paul also reconnected with teachers from area public schools, including Corvallis High School, the site of several Peace Literacy train-the-trainer workshops, as well as a study on the effectiveness of Peace Literacy curricula that was conducted under the supervision of the OSU Institutional Review Board.
2021 Our Nonphysical Needs
While the world buckled under an unprecedented pandemic, we added “Navigating Struggle, Uncertainly and Crisis” to the new PLI website. This leadership series is based on Paul’s research on nine key non-physical needs—a critical feature of the Peace Literacy framework. The series complements Chappell’s must-watch video and his must-read essay “A New Peace Paradigm: Our Human Needs and the Tangles of Trauma.” Understanding these nine nonphysical needs remains a foundation of our Peace Literacy work.
Peace Literacy Teacher Training
In January through May, Chappell partnered with Shari Clough, our Curriculum Coordinator and Board President, to facilitate 13 on-line professional development trainings in Peace Literacy for early childhood educators in Santa Barbara County, elementary teachers in Santa Monica, faculty, staff, parents, and caregivers at Montessori public schools in Cleveland, and public high school teachers in Manitoba, Canada.
Addressing Aggression in the Classroom
Shari and Paul also co-authored an essay on Peace Literacy with their Cleveland Montessori partners that was featured in Montessori Public – the official publication of the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector. This essay focuses on how best to address aggressive behavior in the classroom. Learn more here about how to combine the teachings of Maria Montessori with state-mandated Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) protocols that are consistent with a Peace Literacy approach.
2021 VR Lessons for Youth-Placed-At-Risk
An image from our VR Journey to the Island of Aggression
Since 2013 Paul has been envisioning a Peace Literacy metaverse and thanks to support from the Orange County Community Foundation, PLI began a multi-stage partnership in early 2021 with the Orange County Department of Education ACCESS program for youth-placed-at-risk, in order to develop and pilot Peace Literacy curriculum in VR. In April we began with an ACCESS teacher training titled, “VR Technologies for Leadership Education and Conflict Resolution in a Pandemic Age.” Assistant Superintendent of the OCDE ACCESS program, Vern Burton, who has been championing the use of our VR curriculum, reported that our VR pilot program “could be the most engaging social emotional learning experience I have seen in my 25 years as an educator.” After multiple teacher trainings through the summer, we supervised the first cohort of teachers leading their ACCESS students on a VR “field trip into the human condition,” beginning with a trip to the Island of Aggression. You can watch students experiencing the Peace Literacy metaverse here. Corvallis High School has since joined the VR pilot program, with plans to bring over 300 students into the Peace Literacy Metaverse in 2022. We will continue to share updates on the construction of the Peace Literacy Metaverse as it progresses.
Peace Literacy Video Series
In June and July a special grant made possible the production of a video series on some of the basics of Peace Literacy. These short Zoom recordings include Peace as a Skillset, The 3 Elements of Peace Literacy/ Curriculum Map, Healthy Belonging, and Building Shared Trust. Teachers, counselors, veterans, and community leaders are using this material and reporting success in counteracting long-term pandemic stress.
2021 Perilous Technologies and Peace Literacy
In August, Shari, and OSU philosophy student and graphic designer Elizabeth Nguyen, brought to digital life Paul's timely analysis of five dangerous god-like technological powers developed by humans that demand from all of us a parallel development of our Peace Literacy skills. Paul uses Greek gods as compelling metaphors to chart our current and future path:
The Lightning Bolt of Zeus (electricity/digital technologies)
The Dream Worlds of Hypnos (virtual reality and augmented reality)
The Robots of Hephaestus (artificial intelligence and robotics)
The Life-Shaping Hands of Prometheus (genetic engineering)
The Solar Fire of Helios (nuclear weapons)
Overseeing the past, present, and future is the Greek goddess Nemesis: Messenger of Justice and Dispenser of Dues. What dues have you paid today? Our urgent question: Will these five god-like powers topple our hopes for a peaceful world? Or will we expand our Peace Literacy skills in time to save humanity? The stunning illustrations and analysis can be found here, along with a discussion guide for middle and high school students, here.
Global Outreach with the Abrahamic Reunion
In October we shared our VR Island of Aggression with our new partners at the Abrahamic Reunion, a team of peacemakers who bring together youth from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian backgrounds in the Middle East. Special thanks to Abrahamic Reunion Board Member Michael Macy, a former U.S. State Department diplomat who has served in Haiti, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, and wrote that “…what you are creating will have a significant impact on peace in Israel and Palestine.” Here is a 2 min video with more feedback and comments. Update: Arabic and Hebrew translations for our VR Island of Aggression are now underway.
The Sun Magazine Interview
In its November 2021 issue, this celebrated magazine dedicated eight pages to The Best Defense: Paul K. Chappell on the Urgent Need for Peace Literacy. We are grateful to writer Leslee Goodman for her detailed and perceptive interview on the past, present, and future of Peace Literacy, the tangles of trauma, our need for purpose and meaning, and humanity’s chances for survival in the coming VR/Metaverse revolution. A great read!
2021 Workshop Finale
The Peace Literacy Institute concluded the year with two online workshop series in December. The first series, Peace Literacy in the Willamette Valley, for community members, parents, and caregivers, was sponsored by Rotary District 5110 and focused on the fires beneath aggression, the anatomy of aggression, and cultivating calm. This series was followed by our annual Public Workshop, a series of online discussions and presentations that addressed these and other topics including healing trauma, navigating technology, and protecting humanity’s future.
One participant summed it all up: “Peace Literacy is what is needed in our world, it is the missing foundation.”
The missing foundation. YES! Help us build the global infrastructure of Peace Literacy frameworks and skill-sets that will allow all of us to survive and thrive in a peaceful and just world.
SUPPORT PEACE LITERACY in 2022
Your gift will help keep our curriculum free, provide educator rates and scholarships for workshops, fund new curriculum development and video production, and build out more virtual reality worlds for our pilot programs with youth-placed-at-risk and students everywhere.
Our world needs Peace Literacy now more than ever.