Practicing Peace at Ivan Goran Kovacic School!

Peaceful Schools has received a delightful letter from our member school in Niska Banja, Serbia, Ivan Goran Kovacic School. It always gives us great pleasure seeing what each school is doing to create their own culture of peace and we’d like to share their hard work with you!

Over the past school year Ivan Goran Kovacic School has participated in activities that promote empathy, acceptance and friendship. Some of their successes have been fundraising money for students that come from low income families, building skills for peaceful conflict resolution through theatre and creating their own tree of friendship to celebrate their school’s love and kindness! These are only a handful of the many other activities the school has participated in over the past year, below are a few pictures highlighting their work.

m_Tree of frendship 1m_Happy thoughts collage 2

Member Schools Promote Peace!

Photo of Kells Elementary’s Peace Ambassadors’ poster used during their No Name Calling Week to encourage fellow students to not call each other names!

Kells Elementary

Photo of Apple of God’s Eye International Academy trying out January’s monthly idea “The Helping Hands Tree” in their school!


Apple of Gods Eye School2Apple of Gods Eye School 1

PSI and Saint Mary’s Sign an MOU

As of September 21st 2012 Peaceful Schools International has a new home! On International Peace Day PSI celebrated by formalizing the arrangement with Saint Mary’s University, in Halifax Nova Scotia, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. Both parties are very excited about the new dimension of partnership and the beautiful new office that PSI now calls home!

Here is a link highlighting the event and grand opening:


Above: Saint Mary’s President Dr. Colin Dodds and Heather Harris, President of Peaceful School International

Beyond the Troubles, Belfast 2012

Beyond the Troubles

February 16th can’t come quickly enough for 14 Saint Mary’s students. On that day, they’ll be bound for Belfast to participate in the 7th annual Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Project, an initiative designed to promote conflict resolution practices in schools in Canada and Northern Ireland.

International Development Studies student Emily Anderson is especially excited about this year’s peace education initiative and looks forward to working with elementary school children from Catholic and Protestant schools. Emily has been involved with the project for three years, first as a workshop facilitator and then as the Student Coordinator for the program. She credits the Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Project with inspiring her graduate thesis on peace education in post-conflict societies.

Conceived and organized by Saint Mary’s University’s Conflict Resolution Advisor, Bridget E. Brownlow, the Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Project is rooted in Saint Mary’s belief in the importance and relevance of engaged and experiential learning. In preparation for their 10 days in Belfast, students receive training in conflict resolution and have the opportunity to facilitate conflict resolution workshops with children and youth in local schools.

“I’m very encouraged by the commitment of our students to peace education, locally and internationally. I am also encouraged by the commitment and support of Saint Mary’s University as an active and dedicated member of Peaceful Schools International,” says Brownlow.

This year’s trip to Belfast will be similar in many ways to past years, but there are some unique differences. For one thing, there is an increase in the number of schools involved. As well, this year the Saint Mary’s contingent will be joined by a small group of IDS students from Dalhousie University under the leadership of Chris Walker, a Saint Mary’s IDS graduate and former project participant.

Another first is that this year’s trip will be documented by film maker Jeff Cusack. Inspired by the grim scenes he witnessed as a participant in the 2010 project in Northern Ireland, Cusack is returning to Belfast to capture this year’s trip in a documentary entitled “Belfast: Students in Conflict”.  The former editor of the SMU Journal, Cusack plans to filter the continuing struggles of Northern Ireland through the gut-level reactions of this year’s participants. According to Cusack, the lessons of Northern Ireland need to be understood now more than ever.

The Northern Ireland Conflict Resolution Project is made possible by a number of supporters including Saint Mary’s University, Peaceful Schools International, The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax, “An Cumann” (the Irish Association of Nova Scotia), The Estate of Patrick Power, Oxford School, Cornwallis Junior High, St. Mary’s Elementary and Inglis Street Elementary.

The high price of bullying in the US

By Cat Koo
BBC News
25 October 2010

Read the full article online, BBC News

A global report on school violence identifies bullying as the biggest problem in US school playgrounds.

Slut. Fat. Gay. Those are some common words – weapons – America’s youth uses to target each other in bullying.

A global report released on Monday by children’s development organisation Plan International gauges the economic impact of school violence, which it categorised as corporal punishment, sexual abuse and bullying.

The US pays a high price for its youth violence, both in and out of schools. Plan estimated the total cost of all forms of youth violence at $158bn (£100bn).

Pervasive problem

At schools around the world, the playground is far from the innocent haven where the ring of a school bell signals the start of children’s laughter.

Instead, for too many, it becomes an ugly arena where spectators can watch youngsters pit themselves against each other.

Some 20% to 65% of children worldwide say they suffer from bullying, but that proportion may be higher because school violence is "notoriously under-reported", the report says.

In the US, around a fifth of high school students said they experienced repeated, intentional bullying, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

"Younger kids are more likely to be bullied and prevalence tends to be higher in middle school," said Marci Hertz, an adviser at CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

Bullying also tends to be higher among girls, she says.

"It seems to be a very pervasive problem."

Indeed, the prevalence of bullying is so high that CDC treats it as a public health issue.

"As a result of being bullied, you don’t attend school, you’re losing the opportunity to learn," says Julie Hertzog, director of the National Center for Bullying Prevention run by the Pacer children’s organisation.

One way that Plan calculated the cost of school violence was to look at the potential income a person lost because of missed schooling.

Continue reading “The high price of bullying in the US”

Gilmore school raises peace flag

Burnaby NewsLeader
September 23, 2010

Gilmore peace flagOn Tuesday afternoon at Gilmore Community School, which has been undergoing major seismic upgrades the last couple years, there was a moment of peace–in more ways than one.

The roofers’ constantly rumbling asphalt machines fell silent for a few minutes as the entire school celebrated its commitment to being a positive, peaceful school with the raising of a special flag.

The flag marks Gilmore’s membership into Peaceful Schools International (PSI), which provides support and resources to schools wanting to educate students on peace.

Continue reading “Gilmore school raises peace flag”

Mount Saint Vincent joins PSI organization

Peaceful Schools International is a non-profit group to support schools that create ‘cultures of peace’

September 22, 2010

soft cialis MSVU flag raising

A flag with the image of three figures holding up the world is now hoisted outside of Mount Saint Vincent University.

In a fitting activity on the UN’s International Day of Peace, the Mount was made a member of Peaceful Schools International (PSI) yesterday.

Continue reading “Mount Saint Vincent joins PSI organization”

Pink day spreads anti-bullying message

Schools across province take part in campaign to battle intimidation
Friday, September 10, 2010
NS Chronicle Herald

Many students throughout Nova Scotia were attired in pink Thursday as a reminder that bullying will not be tolerated in their schools.

Activities on the third annual Stand Up Against Bullying Day included the wearing of pink T-shirts, assemblies and projects about peace.

Some students made anti-bullying art and poetry, held discussions about bullying or had guest speakers and team-building exercises.

"But addressing issues of bullying needs to be something that happens all year round," said Clare Levin, executive director of Peaceful Schools International, in an interview.

Continue reading “Pink day spreads anti-bullying message”

Summer Camp Giving Peace A Chance

How many summer camps offer solar cooking, guerrilla gardening, puppetry and a dozen lessons in ways to make the world a more peaceful place?

We’re not sure exactly, but there’s at least one hosted by Peaceful Schools International, and it runs Aug. 16- 20 at Saint Mary’s University.

The Summer Peace Camp is a five-day interactive camp for youth ages 8 to 13 created to help children better understand peace and how people can live peacefully together. The program provides an opportunity for youth to come together to explore, experiment and experience the value of peace through creative and fun activities.

“It’s amazing to see how willing children are to become engaged in the idea of peace and what it means to them,” says Bridget Brownlow, Saint Mary’s Conflict Resolution Advisor and an organizer of the camp. “Their ideas about how to achieve peace in the world last year made all the adults in the room really stop and think.”

Saint Mary’s is a committed member of Peaceful Schools International and delighted to host the camp for a second year, said Brownlow.

Peaceful Schools International is a respected source of support and guidance for more than 300 schools in 13 countries working to build a more peaceful world. Saint Mary’s students have volunteered to assist with the camp. The work is an expansion of their volunteer efforts in supporting conflict resolution skills for youth in schools locally and internationally.

“We’re offering children an opportunity to actively use their creativity to learn ways of making peace at many levels,” said Saidu Timbo, a Peaceful Schools International volunteer from Sierra Leone who will be one of the facilitators at the camp.

For more information, please see


Watch a clip from CBC News about the camp (begins at 18:31).

News Release from Saint Mary’s University 

For More Information:

Steve Proctor
External Affairs
Saint Mary’s University
(902) 420.5513

Advocate: Put peace on par with other academic subjects

N.S. schools should offer peer mediation course, says ex-teacher
By CLARE MELLOR Staff Reporter
NS Chronicle Herald (link to article on the Herald website)

Just like reading, writing and arithmetic, Hetty van Gurp wants peace education to become part of the curriculum in Nova Scotia schools.

The issue is personal for the former teacher who founded the charitable organization Peaceful Schools International in 2001. Her 14-year-old son, Ben, died in 1991 as a result of a bullying incident at the Halifax school he was attending.

Continue reading “Advocate: Put peace on par with other academic subjects”