Each year, Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, partners with Peaceful Schools International and Barnardo’s Children’s Charity in Belfast to bring peace education to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Saint Mary’s University organizes a small group of students who travel to Northern Ireland each February to engage students and teachers in addressing issues surrounding peace and the importance of conflict resolution. 2010 marks the fifth year that students from Saint Mary’s visited Catholic, Protestant and Integrated schools throughout Belfast to offer conflict resolution workshops.
“It is clear that, although weapons a for the most part silenced in Northern Ireland, the conflict still occupies the hearts of the citizens of this troubled region,” says PSI founder Hetty van Gurp.
Bridget Brownlow, Conflict Resolution Advisor at Saint Mary’s, says by working alongside Catholic and Protestant students, it is hoped the Saint Mary’s students will feel they have a hand in creating a more peaceful world in which everyone can learn in a safe environment.
“This initiative presents an opportunity for Saint Mary’s students to learn about the real impact of violent conflict on a society as well as an opportunity to share some of our conflict resolution skills,” said Brownlow.
Peaceful Schools International has worked with schools in Belfast, Northern Ireland since 2002. Past activities include training workshops for teachers, a visit by Nova Scotia high school students, and a documentary film. Please see past projects – Northern Ireland for more information.
Over the past two years, PSI has been working with an amazing volunteer Regional Coordinator and peace educator in Pakistan, Nadeem Ghazi. Nadeem saw the need to introduce peace education and conflict resolution to schools in his own area, and has taken the initiative to do just that. Starting with his own school, World Learning Grammar School in Karachi, Nadeem has spread the peace education message to many schools in Pakistan. He has facilitated numerous workshops and made many presentations, and now has a growing network of peaceful schools in Pakistan.
Nadeem has received recognition for his work from the media in Pakistan and is in demand from other educators for his guidance.
PSI is currently working on a 2 year peace education project in Karachi, Pakistan funded by USIP (United States Institute of Peace). Over the course of this project, we are working with a small number of pilot schools in and around Karachi on peace education. We will also be carrying out school twinning activities and developing a guide specifically aimed at schools in developing countries, Journey to a Peaceful School.
If you would like to follow the peace education work in Pakistan, take a look at Nadeem’s blog: www.psipk.blogspot.com
Peaceful Schools International Workshop & Harmony Week at True Guide Grammar School
PSI is currently raising funds to support this important work in Pakistan, a country dealing with ongoing conflict. Please consider making a donation today. To learn more about the different ways of helping schools in Pakistan, please see our Gifts of Peace page.
For the third year in a row, PSI will be coordinating a small school twinning project between schools in Sierra Leone and schools in Canada and the US. School twinning supports global studies, improves cross-cultural understanding, and enables schools to address peace and environmental issues. Pupils develop skills of communication and enquiry; reflect on their attitudes towards other people and places; develop empathy and openness to others; challenge stereotypical views; and begin to consider their own roles and responsibilities as global citizens. Twinning addresses curricular outcomes in language arts, health, and social studies at all grade levels.
This short video shows a few of the schools and students in Sierra Leone that we are working with.