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Experiential Learning

Peace & Experiential Education

(about experiential ways in which peace can be created)

James Neill
Last updated:
02 Apr 2005

Luke: I'm looking for a great warrior.

Yoda: Ahhh! A great warrior...

[laughs & shakes his head]

Wars not make one great.

Quick Guide

What's New?

Peace Education Programs

These programs offer a variety of experiential ways in which peace can be created - and hopefully inspire our own initiatives.

  • All Around.org - Learning how to do more good - A multipurpose program of self- and global- change - support website materials for self-study and a community who support each other. 
  • Footbag Peace Initiative Dedicated to joyfully harnessing the sport of footbag ("hacky sack") as a vehicle for personal health as well as cultural healing. The FPI aims to foster peace in the world by teaching and promoting cooperative play, peer leadership and non-violence among teens, athletes and others.

  • Middle East Peace Camp for Children - Seattle, WA, USA
  • Original Play Center - promotes a sense of belonging, which is the most powerful alternative to human fear and contest behavior. Original Play is manifested by a sequenced pattern of touch, which allows you to lovingly respond to aggression and violence while maintaining self-esteem and not diminishing the esteem of the other person. 
  • Play for Peace - An experiential peace development program being delivered to tens of thousands of children and youth around the globe.

  • Sacred Run Foundation - Native American inspired long-distance running, carrying the message "all life is sacred" through countries around the world, connecting indigenous communities
  • Seeds of Peace - A camp program in the US that bring together Israeli and Palestinian youth.

Peace Education - Experiential Articles, Stories, and Resources

Reading peace texts and discussing peace concepts is vital given that people are bombarded by all sorts of non-peace focused messages.  Education can foster exposure to peace theories and practices.

Inaugural Outdoor Education & Peace Prize

  • New competition starting soon!

  • Entries are sought for the Inaugural Outdoor Education & Peace Prize.

  • The prize will be awarded for an essay which makes the most significant advances towards the utilization of outdoor education (or related programs such as adventure therapy or adventure-based counseling) for the advancement of peace.

  • The essay can be of any length and should be submitted via email to james@wilderdom.com by Monday April 28, 2003.  There are no formatting requirements.

  • $125 have been donated by individuals towards the prize.  Other donations towards the prize are welcome.

  • If you're interested in reading the essays to help award the prize, the more the merrier, please let me know.

Quotes about Peace & Education

The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party.
- William James

Terrorism will not be defeated with drones, F-16s and smart weapons. It will be defeated with justice, humility, honesty, truth, compassion, friendships, trust, respect for cultural diversity, reverence for world faiths and love for humanity and international law. Our knowledge and our experience should be a torch lighting the way in the long dark tunnel which the world entered on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Dr. Ibtissam Al-Bassam, academic adviser to assistant director-general for education, UNESCO (Paris)

Quotes from Mohandas Gandhi  - One of the most influential figures in modern social and political activism

Quotes about developing peace...

Comments by Experiential Educators about How Peace can be Developed

"This potential/actual war on Iraq, if you want another connection to outdoor experiential education, would have huge and devastating effects on the environment. Is it not our responsibility to say something about these sorts of things in our programmes, in our classes and on our listservs? Why can we lobby for environmental preservation, but not against a war?"

- Sean Ryan

"I am concerned that by not discussing, interrogating, critiquing, and being transparent about the political forces that surround, connect, and influence us and/or how our decisions affect political realities we leave ourselves open to causing harm and not being able to stand accountable for those consequences.  John Punshon a former British solicitor and professor of Quaker Studies at the Earlham School of Religion wrote in 1990:

"Refusing to face moral complexity can be a form of running away, or refusing to face the necessarily unpleasant consequences of the values we adopt. It can amount to an attempt to avoid our personal Gethsemane."

- Karen Fox

"I now believe that is cross-cultural programs that are perhaps our most powerful experiential learning environments, and not the failed classrooms of our schools and universities, nor even the wilderness environments to which so many of us are committed."

- Richard Kraft, 1993 Kurt Hahn Address at the AEE International Conference

Peace-Ed Discussion List

Hosted By Topica

This list is for discussing ways in which experiential education can be used to develop and promote peace.

Why this list?

  • The tools for peace can be developed through active, meaningful engagement with other people and working towards a common goal. 
  • In all forms of education we have a wealth of opportunity for becoming agents of peace.
  • Experiential education has been shown to significantly enhance teamwork, social skills, peer relations, and so on, concepts closely related to peace building.
  • The recent events of the World Trade Center attacks and the war between Iraq and America and its allies, have catalyzed many experiential educators into exploring ways of enhancing peace through education.

Comments on Sept 11 / Middle East War

  • Two dogs in a fight - Likens Iraq and USA to two fighting dogs with poor past behavior records; Explains why (psychologically) they feel the need to fight, and how, when they've finished, experiential educators can help them learn to get along better.

  • Letter to the editor of Australian higher education publications...Limp response to war from American academics - argues that the response of the American academic community to the war has been lacking

  • Ken Wilber on "The War in Iraq"

  • Noam Chomsky on "Hegemony or Survival" - GNN