Adult Self Study Guide

Click on the titles for introductions and to download each lesson.

(Lesson 1: 5 Spheres of Peace)
Towards a Holistic Conception of Peace

This first lesson of the self-study guide will introduce some of the foundational concepts of peace research, including peace, violence, peacebuilding and peacelearning.   Students will be encouraged to reflect upon their own understanding of these concepts and the origins of their worldviews of peace and violence.  This lesson will also introduce National Peace Academy’s “5 Spheres of Peace,” a holistic model for learning about peace, peacebuilding and “right relationships.”   Several peacebuilding and peacelearning processes will also be introduced.


(Lesson 2: Personal Peace 1)
Personal Peace: Building Right Relationship with Self


The personal sphere of peace and right relationship refers to “the awareness of one’s authentic being, and living from and relating to others from that awareness” (Snauwaert, 2008).  In the personal sphere, peace requires that we actively strive to establish right relationship with our self.  Personal peace is pursued through inquiry into how we manage and act upon our internal conflicts, attitudes, actions, and emotions toward living with integrity.

Lessons 2 and 3 of this self-study guide provide an overview to the personal sphere.  Both lessons are based upon peace philosopher Dale Snauwaert’s  lecture “Care of the Self and the Development of the Moral Resources as a Foundation to Peacebuilding,” which was presented at National Peace Academy’s Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive 2011.  This lesson focuses on the first half of Snauwaert’s lecture, exploring our orientation to self and self-identification.

Snauwaert emphasizes the need to develop a conscious presence.  In being “present” we find our true self and true authentic being.  Conscious presence, pursued through the development of various moral resources and reflexive practices, enables us to be in right relationship with self and others.  Right relationship with self, Snauwaert suggests, is the basis of right relationship in all of the other spheres.  This relationship of self to others will be explored in the next lesson.



(Lesson 3: Personal Peace 2)
Care of Self as Foundation of Care For Others


Lesson 3 builds upon lesson two, with additional inquiry and reflection on Dale Snauwaert’s lecture “Care of the Self and the Development of the Moral Resources as a Foundation to Peacebuilding.”  This lesson focuses on the second half of the lecture, exploring the inner moral resources, abilities and capacities required for nurturing peace with self. Snauwaert suggests that the quality of our consciousness, being, and self determines how we relate to others in all of the 5 spheres.

This lesson will examine this relationship of internal exclusion to external exclusion.   It will also look more closely at the various moral resources, abilities and capacities that Snauwaert outlines and invite students to consider their developing their own internal practices.



(Lesson 4: Social Peace 1)
Interpersonal Peace: Nurturing and Sustaining Right Relationships with Others


The social sphere of peace involves interpersonal relationships: the relationships of individuals with other individuals and to their collective coexistence.  In the social sphere, peace requires an active striving to establish right relationships with others.  Social peace is pursued through inquiry into our attitudes, intentions, and actions regarding how we manage our interpersonal conflicts and differences, and how we give to and receive from others the qualities and conditions that comprise human dignity.

Interpersonal relationships link us at all levels of social organization.  Most every day we experience conflicts, big and small, in our interpersonal relationships.  These conflicts can be either destructive or constructive.  To engage in conflict constructively requires a reorientation to the basic assumptions of conflict and an examination of our worldviews and attitudes.  From a constructive worldview, conflict can be an opportunity for personal growth as well as an opportunity for strengthening our relationships with others.  This lesson will introduce some basic concepts and theories of conflict and will invite you to assess and reflect upon your conflict styles and tendencies.



(Lesson 5: Social Peace 2)
Conflict Transformation: Building Right Relationships


John Paul Lederach, a leading thinker and practitioner of peace and conflict, suggests that conflict transformation goes beyond the resolution of particular problems and seeks to address the very nature of the relationship of individuals or parties in conflict. In reflecting upon and articulating the rationale and intention of conflict transformation, Lederach observes that “transformation is clear in vision because it brings into focus the horizon toward which we journey, namely the building of healthy relationships and communities, both locally and globally.” Perhaps most significant, he concludes “this process [conflict transformation] requires significant changes in our current ways of relating.”

Adult lesson 4 (social sphere 1) invited reflection upon the nature of conflict and the relationships between attitudes, behaviors and contradictions (as explored through Galtung’s ABC triangle of conflict). Using John Paul Lederach’s lens of conflict transformation, this lesson builds upon the last, and invites you to consider alternative attitudes toward conflict as well as “changes in ways of relating” that help to further illuminate NPA’s conception of peace as the “wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.”



(Lesson 6: Political Peace 1)
Towards a Living Democracy


Mention of the word “politics” almost always evokes strong reactions. Thoughts turn to partisan gridlock, negative campaign ads, protests, and power struggles. Politics, however, is inclusive of much more than just the institutionalized political order. The NPA 5 Sphere Framework refers to politics as “the sphere of human relationship in which diverse individuals and groups come to- gether to discourse, collectively make decisions, and engage in action to create a world together.” Having right relationships in the political sphere requires examining and establishing just pro- cesses for collective decision-making, policy planning and implementation, and establishing safe public spaces and procedures for engaging in democratic dialogue and deliberation in support of the common good.

This lesson will examine the work of Frances Moore Lappé and Paul Martin Du Bois on “Living Democracy.” They describe living democracy “as a way of life, a civic culture in which people cre- atively participate in public life.” This way of life can be cultivated through a set of corresponding skills they describe as the “arts of democracy.” These “arts” correspond directly to and build upon several of the skills and capacities explored previously in the personal and social spheres.



(Lesson 7: Political Peace 2)
Nonviolence as a Force for Personal and Political Transformation


The political sphere of peace is dynamically related to each of the other spheres of the 5 Spheres of Peace framework.  “The personal is political” may seem cliché, however consciousness-raising is a significant and consistently overlooked and under-valued form of political action.  Several of the “arts of democracy” explored in lesson 6 describe personal or reflective capacities, or what Dale Snauwaert described in lesson 2 as “inner moral resources.”  Activity 1 of this lesson introduces a holistic framework of nonviolence as articulated by Michael Nagler and Stephanie Van Hook of the Metta Center for Nonviolence.  Their integrative framing begins with a conception of nonviolence as “a living force that acts on consciousness,” drawing people together into an interconnected whole.  Activity 2 of this lesson delves into nonviolence as a direct form of political action.  It also introduces the Global Nonviolent Action Database, a marvelous resource for studying nonviolent campaigns spanning from 1170 BC to the present.



Lessons 8-12 Coming Soon

Approximate Schedule of Curriculum Release Dates:

  • Weeks 8-9: Institutional Peace (March 2013)
  • Weeks 10-11: Ecological Peace (March 2013)
  • Week 12: Holistic Peace (March 2013)

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