TPI In The News: Featured in April 2014 Junior Statement

Original article in the April 2014 Junior Statement of the Junior State of America (JSA): http://issuu.com/juniorstate/docs/js6finalmain2__2_/13?e=2225280/7509556

This year, the Teaching Peace Initiative (TPI) is one of JSA's national activism causes. TPI's goal is to spread a message to the youth of the world: bullying can be fought and conquered with peace education. The Teaching Peace Initiative, a nonprofit educational advocacy organization founded at The Key School in Annapolis, MD in 2011, takes a revolutionary new look at anti-bullying and peace-promoting efforts which engage students through much more than merely putting up posters or attending assemblies. Two elements make TPI unique: its use of a comprehensive curriculum to teach peace, and the fact that the organization is run entirely by students.

The grant-winning curriculum of the Teaching Peace Initiative, which has been successfully tested in classrooms, is available at two levels: 4th-6th grade and 7th-9th grade. This way, students are able to have lessons targeted toward their age group. The lessons focus on using a combination of age-appropriate example situations, critical thinking about current events, and a final collaborative peacemaking activity in order to help students really grasp the intricacy of the issues of peace and tolerance. The results have been excellent – TPI proudly states that “The students were able to feel ownership and mastery of complex, adult concepts, and thus were interested to learn more and become peacemakers themselves.” Both sets of curriculum are free, and are available for download at TPI’s website.

Any student is welcome and encouraged to start a Teaching Peace Initiative chapter in their community, and upon contacting TPI will be given resources to do so. Currently there are thirty of these Regional Executive Directors within the United States, and three internationally. These students both help to teach TPI’s curriculum to students in their community and serve as outreach about the organization and its message.

At the executive level of the Teaching Peace Initiative is a team of college students from top universities around the country and a few high school seniors. These students are in charge of broad areas such as curricular development, finance, and communications, or serve as Senior Organizers in charge of working as the executive link to the regional TPI chapters. Spearheading all these students’ efforts is Executive Director Fish Stark, a Yale University student and one of the founders of TPI.

The Teaching Peace Initiative strongly believes that the keys to solving bullying issues lie within the minds of students. TPI’s mission statement states in part that “Our broader, overarching goal is to see instruction in the ideas of peace, compassion, and nonviolence become a part of every child’s learning experience, and to foster the growth of a generation of leaders who fully understand and can practice empathy, conflict resolution, and work proactively to make our world stronger, safer, and more peaceful.” Children are the future, and if they can be taught to be peacemakers, then that will greatly affect the way in which they live their lives and interact with those around them.

Members of the Teaching Peace Initiative have been invited to speak at conferences and have been interviewed by local news organizations, and TPI has received praise from members of congress, activists, and educators. The movement is spreading, and more and more students are getting involved. The aim of TPI is to get its peace curriculum taught in as many schools as possible, in order to maximize the number of students who are reached with a compelling, engaging, student-facilitated message of peace and respect. TPI is always looking for new volunteers.

The solutions to bullying aren’t going to come from superintendents and politicians—it will have to come from us.

To learn more about TPI, visit www.teachingpeaceinitiative.org, “like” the Facebook page at facebook.com/TeachingPeaceInitiative, follow on twitter @TeachPeace2kids, and subscribe to the YouTube channel TPITeachingPeace. 

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