A Word From South Africa

“South Africa is such a special country that still has a lot of pain and hurt to work through. Many of my students spoke about things that they had not discussed openly with their peers before. It was a beautiful process, watching them respect the opinions that differed from theirs”

Dear Elie: This curriculum is important because in our society, today, people are so broken and so hurt, that they forget how to forgive and they forget about peace. This curriculum teaches us how to find the broken links and repair them . . . I found my hurt – and conquered it!

– 7th grade student, South Africa

One of the most encouraging aspects of this pilot year has been receiving feedback from teachers and students about the Curriculum. The school in South Africa has just completed its first term using Peace Heroes, and the report I received from Chay, the 7th grade teacher, was so heartening, I asked her if I could share it – word for word – on my blog. At this particular school, Chay had planned to teach four heroes during the first term, beginning with Desmond Tutu – one of South Africa’s most prominent and well-known peace heroes. However, learning about their own history through the lens of peace was such a monumental experience, that the two 7th grade classes never got beyond their first hero. Instead, they took an entire semester to delve more deeply into Tutu’s life, allowing it to impact their own lives in unforeseen ways. Here is Chay’s summary of the experience: Continue reading “A Word From South Africa”

Seeing Otherwise

Let us not underestimate the transformative power of right seeing. While we do not have the power to take from people their intrinsic worth, we do have the capacity to make it visible

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu tells how, when he was a child of nine, he was completely taken aback when he watched a white priest, Father Trevor Huddleston, tip his hat at Tutu’s mother, who was a domestic worker in a hospital for the blind. Tutu could hardly wrap his mind around the gesture – in 1940s South Africa, for a white man to show a black woman such a sign of respect was a thing rarely seen. In a single act, Father Huddleston acknowledged that this woman was valuable – that there was a loveliness in her that most white South Africans could not see. And it blew little Desmond away.


People sometimes ask what has been my guiding principle as I write the Curriculum, and I always answer with just two words: Human dignity. While the answer might sound straightforward (and perhaps a little idealistic), it is actually a surprisingly hard principle to follow.

Continue reading “Seeing Otherwise”

Guest Post: Joccoa and Mel on a Year With the Peace Heroes

“It soon becomes clear that no one particular type of person or characteristic is needed to be a hero for peace – any one of us can make a difference in the world”

It is my great privilege to hand this post to Mel and Joccoa, mother and daughter who have been using the Peace Heroes Curriculum in their homeschooling program for over a year now (feel free to read this blog post for more about their very creative ideas). It begins with Joccoa’s lovely poem, featured artistically in her picture above, followed by some of her thoughts, and ends with some reflections from Mel.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Joccoa and Mel on a Year With the Peace Heroes”