Peace Education at American University

daryn_cambridge

Daryn Cambridge participated in the 2010 NPA Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive (PPI) where he refined and articulated his vision peace education at American University.

When I applied to attend the 2011 Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive in Burlington, VT I was excited but did not really know what to expect. I knew that the intensive had an emphasis on envisioning and developing peacebuilding initiatives in our respective communities, but little did I know how much going through that experience with the other amazing individuals from around the world who were attending would have on my life. From the opening session of the intensive I was meeting and learning about the work that the other participants were doing that I immediately started thinking bigger about my peacebuilding initiative.

I went into PPI with the following vision in mind – to establish a peace education certificate program at AmericanUniversity, where I had been teaching as an adjunct for a couple years at that point. By the end of the intensive, though, my vision had blossomed further and was for AmericanUniversity to become the premiere institution for peace education in the United States and that only part of that would, one day, involve a certificate program. With that vision and commitment in mind, I had a level of determination and confidence not felt prior to PPI.

Immediately upon returning to DC I reached out to me friends and colleagues (deans, professors, students, and program coordinators) from different schools and departments at the university and shared this vision with all my passion. Folks were on board and the ball started rolling. Fast forward to January 2013 and I am appointed Peace Educator in Residence in the School of Education, Teaching and Health. This is a position designed to promote, highlight, and develop peace education efforts at AU and the surrounding DC community. Then fast forward to July 2013 and my colleagues and I co-organized a “Cultivating Peace in Our Schools” gathering that brought together DC area organizations who do peace education work and DC area teachers to learn about the methods, models and program these organizations are spreading throughout the area. This gathering is just one of several peace education initiatives that are underway as I work with my partners at AU to keep forming and realizing the vision.

Would any of this happened had I not attended PPI? There is no way to answer that. What I can say, however, is that as I have been finding my way in this new position, organizing peace education events, and elevating AU’s status as a premier peace education institution, PPI and all the wonderful individuals who were part of that experience are with me! I can see their faces, I can hear their stories, visions, ideas and accomplishments and with that draw from a constant pool of support and inspiration. I have been involved in envisioning and goal setting exercises before, but I can truly say that PPI has been one of the most successful because of the community it helped create and the spirit that enveloped the entire process.

Sustainable Eleko Community

OSHANIWA-ToyinLast year, Toyin Oshaniwa, Executive Director for Nature Cares (a non-governmental organization), participated in one of NPA’s certificate program courses:  An Introduction to Sustainable Communities.  Following his participation in the course, Oshaniwa conducted a study of the community of Eleko, along the coastline of Lagos in Nigeria.  As Oshaniwa notes in the conclusion of his first report, “the dawn of sustaining futures for all human communities and, in last instance, the community of all life depends upon humans being critically aware of social and ecological problems and challenges of the times.”  Check out the Nigerian news article highlighting Oshaniwa’s work and research.  And below you’ll find Oshaniwa’s full report.

Synthesis Report on Sustainable Community Research- Case Study of Eleko & Itun Agan Community

SUSTAINABLE ELEKO COMMUNITY- FOCUSING ON ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES

Eleko_CommunityGlobal challenges are an alarming  indicator that calls for reflection on how best to utilize, preserve, and conserve our natural resources, a call for sustainable lifestyle, sustainable growth, sustainable economy and sustainable development.

In the new millennium, great attention is being paid to environmental protection so that future generations can also benefits from the bounty of nature. The new slogan of the 2000s is “sustainable development or sustainability“ which is impacting on most, if not on all, economic and social aspects of growth,  and which is of paramount significant to Lagos State as an emerging mega city. The tires of government need to address locally her social, ecological and economy challenges in meeting the agenda for sustainable development in the state.

The concept of Sustainable Communities is one of the sustainability movements of creating awareness, educating, promoting peace, values and mainstreaming the three pillars of sustainability in development process. Thus, Sustainable communities are communities planned, built, or modified to promote sustainable living. They tend to focus on environmental sustainability (including development and agriculture) and economic sustainability.

ITUN AGAN COMMUNITY

Eleko Community is one of the old communities of Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos, renowned for her swampy nature and located along the coastline of Lagos State, Nigeria. In the present economy growth and development of LagosState, Eleko is the ´´Gate Way´´ of economy prosperity of today’s LagosState. Both the Lekki Free Trade Zone and the Eco-tourismVillage cut across Eleko community. History also pointed out that the economy significance of the community was predicated long ago by the priest of the land, that a Road will be but across the swamp which will be a light to the community.

Eleko community has approximately a population of 5,000 inhabitants. Major occupation of the people is fishing and some trading activities because of the famous ´´ELEKOBEACH`´

ELEKO SITUTATION

In the context of promoting a Sustainable ELEKO Community, dimensional questions might help in giving a clear picture of the future of Eleko Community.

1)      How sustainable is Eleko Community in 2015/2020?

2)      How sustainable is her fishing activities

3)      What are the ecological, social and economic challenges

4)      Governance and community development (Community Participation)

PRE-NEED ANALYSIS

The research visit to Eleko Community on 11th December 2012 was to study the community and understand her natural resources, development of the area, challenges mostly in respect to the environment and most importantly meeting with the key stakeholder of the community, thus, community leaders and elders.

Environmental Potentials and Challenges:  Eleko Community is rich in natural resources and biodiversity, the community been a  swamp area is surrounded by palm trees, swampy shrubs, water tolerant plants, coconut trees along the coastal shore, the ocean rich in biodiversity such as sea foods ( Shrimps, periwinkles prawns, fish).

The following challenges were observed in Eleko Community:

  • Impact of climate change on the community which can be directly or indirectly affecting the people f Eleko  such as  low fishing activities, rising in sea level, high ocean tides, changes in weather and fishing patterns and sizes , loss of natural shore line protection (Coconut Plants)
  • Poor Waste Management in the community
  • Land clearing or utilization
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Intrusion of Salty water and impact on skin
  • Deforestation

To address the environmental or ecological problems, sustainability strategies can be employ to create more environmental values and reduce the negative impact of the people activities or lifestyle on the environment.

Social Potentials and Challenges:  The strongest element of sustainable community is the promotion of social equity, appreciating cultural values and peace. The people of Eleko community are peaceful, supportive and accommodative, meeting and interaction with them shows the desire to develop in a sustainable way, by identifying social needs for the community, and development that will help the future generation.

Some of the noted challenges are:

  • Poor Sanitary System (Toilets)
  • No basic educational infrastructure and system ( Primary and Secondary School)
  • Electricity
  • Vulnerable Livelihood, especially the women.

A practical sustainable community participatory project will promote a sustainable community development.

Economical Potentials and Challenges:  Eleko community as a gate way of economic development of Lagos is a strong potential and economic value for the community if justly and rightfully utilize.  The second form of economy activities in the community is trading; meaning with the full operation of both economy projects, thus Lekki Free Trade Zone and Eco-tourismVillage, the community will become economical vibrant and promoting new business, employment and development.

The fear is the poor government policies and lack of good governance that never consider the people in developmental process, the Lekki Free Trade Zone is an indication that there will be land use conflict and destruction of natural resources with no proper sustainability plans. Some noted challenges are:

  • Poor roads within the community
  • Illegal selling of lands
  • No sustainability plan for the community
  • Women and Youth Unemployment which might be a treat to the business community of eleko
  • Neglect of the fishing potential or market
  • Poor fishing equipment for local fishermen and safety
  • Poor government fishing polices that promote unsustainable fishing activities of commercial fishing industries.

Both the local and state government must ensure a sustainability plan that will protect the source of live hood of the community people, protection of their lands for future generation, investing in fishing industries by building modern fishing markets , research and development center for fishing industries, youth and women empowerment programs and green job creation.

Conclusion:

The dawn of sustaining futures for all human communities and, in last instance, the community of all life depends upon humans being critically aware of social and ecological problems and challenges of the times.

Expanding the sustainable development to the sustainable communities’ paradigm will lead humanity to make the stark choice between growth and fairness, a choice that is being played out in the American presidential campaign of 2012.

We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.”

Part two of the report will focus on ITUN AGAN

Summer of Peace Tour: Cecila St. King and Alycia Hutchisson

Alycia Hutchisson and Peace Troubadour Cecilia St. King met two years ago at the National Peace Academy’s first Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive (PPI) in Wilmington, OH, then again at the PPI in Burlington, VT last year. St. King had toured internationally and had been touring regionally in the U.S. for several years, but had never covered the midwest. Since Hutchisson is from Detroit, she offered to
host Cecilia and the two paired up from late June to early September, bringing Cecilia’s music (25 performances in total) to audiences in OH, MI, IL, WI and MO. This video, shot and edited by Hutchisson
highlights the journey.

The two also shot a video in New York City, (Times Square) this past
April, where they found people from 42 different countries willing to
show the peace sign. They have entered similar videos, “CouchSURFing 2
INspire PEaCE on EaRTh,” and DOCumenting CouchSURFing 2 INspire PEaCE
on EaRTh,” (also available on YouTube) in the Get Inspired Video
Contest from CouchSurfing.org as a means of winning around-the-world
airline tickets to take Cecilia’s music to an international audience
in 2013.

Summer of Peace Tour

Peace on Earth Times Square