Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies

Promotes peace and a global beloved community through nonviolence.

Events

Children’s Book Celebrates Peace

Children’s Book Celebrates Peace

Terri SchimmelThe Center supports Rhode Island children’s book author Teresa Schimmel with her new book, “David’s War, David’s Peace.” In a celebration of peace, Terry is having an exciting book event in the Kingston Free Library, 3-5:00 May 3: Terry will read from her book, Center Director, Paul Bueno de Mesquita will speak, the audience can make peace flags with Peace RI Director Ginny Fox, children from Robin Wildman’s 5th Grade class will make a presentation on Nonviolence, Folk Musician Joyce Katzberg will perform songs of peace. Everyone is welcome to enjoy an afternoon of peace!

Terry Schimmel taught elementary students for 26 years and is currently an early childhood consultant. In her vast experience with young children, Terry has recognized the power of using  literature to help children better understand themselves, their emotions, and their relationships with others. Her first book, Sunny, was the story of Mandy, a child in foster care. It was written to help foster children gain some insight into their emotions, and to expand all children’s awareness about foster families. The story emerged from her own experiences as a foster care mom.

Her latest book, David’s War/David’s Peace merges two books into one with the story of conflict and peacemaking. In this book, a young boy befriends a rabbit, who takes him to his meadow home. He tells him of the invasion of woodchucks. David devises a war plan to  get rid of the woodchucks but as with most wars, this results in tragedy. Turn the book upside down and Book 2 begins, David’s Peace.  In this story David chooses a different course of action. He mediates the conflict between the rabbits and woodchucks. The resulting peace plan brings harmony to the creatures of the meadow.

The book is designed for elementary and middle school children to read independently or with their teacher or
parent. Its purpose is to help children to see the consequences of war and the possibilities of solving conflict through nonviolent strategies.

Tportrait-172x223

RI 8th Graders Write Gandhi Essays

RI 8th Graders Write Gandhi Essays

gandhiThe Fourth Annual Rhode Island 8th Grade Gandhi Essay Contest sponsored by the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies, School of Education, and University Honors Program, was delighted that a record 161 students submitted essays this year. And what a stellar group of essays they were! The judging committee was overwhelmed at the level of writing, depth of meaning, personal connections, and students’ earnest commitment to nonviolence.

This year there were entries from 17 schools throughout Rhode Island, from both public and private middle schools. Some teachers have their entire class participate in learning about Gandhi and answering this year’s prompt: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

In September the essay contest invitation was sent out to all 8th Grade Social Studies and English teachers in Rhode Island. The contest officially kicked off on October 2, Gandhi’s birthday.  The deadline for submissions was January 30, Gandhi’s assassination date. Each essay was scored by 3 judges, who were URI students in the secondary education English program. Dr. Diane Kern, URI School of Education Professor, trained and coordinated this process. The highest scoring essays were presented to the final judging committee, who reviewed and evaluated each one. Thanks to committee members Clay Sink, Bob Carothers, Tia Lahiri, Indu Suryanarayan, Ruby Dholakia, Nik Dholakia, Paul Bueno de Mesquita, and Kay Johnson.

The awards ceremony will be held April 30 from 5:00-6:30 in the URI Multicultural Center Forum. All top honorees, their families, teachers, principles, and friends are invited. This is always a wonderful, uplifting event that honors not only Gandhi, but each 8th grade individual who has studied and learned about this great nonviolent man. Kudos 161 times!

URI Brings Nonviolence to Nepal

URI Brings Nonviolence to Nepal

Nepal GroupThis alternative spring break trip was no Cancun beach party – it was a mission to deliver the hope of peace and nonviolence to a nation emerging from 10 years of civil war and internal political conflict. Twenty URI students, faculty and friends joined the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies to travel halfway around the world to conduct Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training for Nepali peace activists and university students. For the fourth year, URI’s Center conducted the training in collaboration with several Nepali nongovernmental organizations, including Collective Campaign for Peace, Center for Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Promotion, and Social Work for Development. Also participating were students from Tribhuvan University’s Conflict, Peace & Development Studies Program. With the world’s highest and most magnificent Himalaya Mountains as the backdrop to the training, URI students and Nepalis participated in three days of interactive dialogues, experiential exercises, and simulated training activities. Cultural boundaries were quickly crossed as participants worked together and established friendships. Following the important global peacebuilding work, the URI team traveled through the central highlands and lower Terai plains to experience first hand the  cultural and geographic diversity of this beautiful country. From the ancient city of Bhaktapur to mountainous Nagarkot, to jungles of Chitwan National Park, to an orphanage and several holy temples in the capitol city of Kathmandu, this life changing experience brought us all together as we developed close friendships and deepened our commitment to a peaceful world. We are grateful to the wonderful Nepali people for their generous hospitality, and humbled by their happy spirits despite the challenges of their difficult living conditions in one of the poorest countries in the world. Many lessons were learned from the Nepali people we met on this journey — none more important than how to find inner peace, live happily and be rich in spirit even under circumstances of extreme poverty, endangering pollution and threatening conflict.

26 Bells for Newtown Victims

26 Bells for Newtown Victims

“We have been silent too long about hand gun control!” was the powerful statement made by Moms Demand Sensible Gun Laws. December 14 marked the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings. Last year the country honored the children killed with a time of silence. This year the mothers are requesting the ringing of bells to commemorate these children. At 9:30AM on Saturday 12/14, bells rang out across the entire country.

Center staff members and friends met at the Wakefield Mall, bells in hand, and invited shoppers, many who were children, to join in to ring the bells.

45 RI Authors Share Books at Expo 11/16/13

45 RI Authors Share Books at Expo 11/16/13

The First Annual Rhode Island Author Expo was today, Saturday, November 16 at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in Kingston. The Center’s Thupten Tendhar and Kay Johnson showcased their books as two of 45 RI authors. Thupten’s poetry book, Peace – Rhythm of My Heart and Kay’s In Peace and Freedom coauthored with Bernard LaFayette, Jr. were well received. Large crowds came in waves and enjoyed visiting with authors from all over the state.

World Kindness Day – 11/13/13

World Kindness Day – 11/13/13

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. – Dalai Lama

World Kindness Day is 13 November. It was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement a coalition of nations kindness NGOs. It is observed in many countries, including England, CanadaJapan,Australia, Singapore, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates. World Kindness Day is to highlight the Good in the community focussing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and zip codes. Kindness Cards are also an ongoing activity which can either be passed on to recognise an act of kindness and or ask that an act of kindness be done. Approaches are being made to the United Nations by the peak global body, The World Kindness Movement to have World Kindness Day officially recognised and its members unanimously sign a Declaration of Support for World Kindness.

DO ONE THING for a Better World

1. Find out more about the power of kindness

2. Make an effort to use kind words

3. Try to perform an act of kindness each day

4. Organize or participate in a community service or awareness-building event or activity on World Kindness Day

Read more.

FILM “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield” Nov. 14 7:30PM SWAN Auditorium

FILM “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield” Nov. 14 7:30PM SWAN Auditorium

WHATDirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

WHEN: Thursday, November 14, 2013, 7:30PM

WHERE: Swan Auditorium

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the hidden world of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. With a strong cinematic style, the film blurs the boundaries of documentary and fiction storytelling. Part action film and part detective story, Dirty Wars is a gripping journey into one of the most important and underreported stories of our time.

Award Winning Documentary, “Living for 32″ 11/18 Swan Hall Auditorium

Award Winning Documentary, “Living for 32″ 11/18 Swan Hall Auditorium

WHAT: The award winning documentary film, “Living for 32″ – sponsored by the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies

WHEN: Monday, November 18, 2013, 7:30PM

WHERE: Swan Auditorium

On a snowy, windy April day in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007, young Americans pursued a college education and their teachers engaged in providing it to them. Some of those students were attending Introductory German, Intermediate French, Advanced Hydrology Engineering, and Solid Mechanics classes in a building called Norris Hall.

Thirty-two of them died, 17 more were wounded, and six more were injured jumping out of windows. Their lives had collided with that of a tortured loner, whom a judge had written was “fundamentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents an eminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness,” or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self.

One of those wounded was a 21-year-old senior International Studies major from Richmond, Virginia, named Colin Goddard. Goddard played a unique role in the horrific drama that played out at Virginia Tech University on that blustery April day: he was the only person within the building to call the police. Urged by his French professor to dial 911 as the crackle of gunfire came closer to the door of their classroom, Goddard made the call. Shot for the first time, he passed the phone to a classmate who gave the police enough information to get them to the scene three minutes later. Police got into the building, which had been barricaded, six minutes after that. For all the terrible damage that the killer did, the toll of lost lives might have been much higher if it were not for the 911 call started by Colin Goddard and continued by Emily Haas.

By the end of the ordeal, the killer had fired at him at three separate moments during the eleven-minute assault. Goddard had been shot four times. He heard the rescue workers walking through his classroom, shouting ‚”red tag, black tag, black tag‚” a dire roster of the critical and the dead. He was later told he might not walk again, but fought his way through arduous physical therapy. And he grew a fire in his heart to do something about keeping dangerous people from having easy access to deadly weapons. The killer had two semiautomatic handguns, dozens of 10- and 15-round magazines, and 400 rounds of hollow-point ammunition.

After recovering and finishing his degree, Colin Goddard decided he was going to volunteer for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s largest gun control organization. And he was going to convince them to sponsor him in wearing a hidden camera and going undercover into gun shows all across America, to prove how easy it is for anyone to buy a gun, with no identification, no Brady background check, and just a wad of cash.

Living for 32 is his story.

Film, “Free China: The Courage to Believe” Nov. 21 7:30PM Lippitt

Film, “Free China: The Courage to Believe” Nov. 21 7:30PM Lippitt

WHAT: The film, “Free China: The Courage to Believe” sponsored by the Center

WHEN: November 21, 7:30PM

WHERE: Lippitt Hall Auditorium

The Center is sponsoring this engaging award-winning film that tells the story of a mother and former Communist Party member, Jennifer Zeng, who along with more than 70 Million Chinese were practicing a belief that combined Buddhism and Daoism until the Chinese Government outlawed it. The Internet police intercepted an email and Jennifer was imprisoned for her faith. As she endured physical and mental torture, she had to decide: does she stand her ground and languish in jail, or does she recant her belief so she can tell her story to the world and be reunited with her family?

With more than one hundred thousand protests occurring each year inside China, unrest among Chinese people is building with the breaking of each political scandal. As China’s prisoners of conscience are subjected to forced labor and even organ harvesting, this timely documentary exposes profound issues such as genocide and unfair trade practices with the West. The film also highlights how new Internet technologies are helping bring freedom to more than 1.3 billion people living in China and other repressive regimes throughout the world.

November Documentary Series on Nonviolence & Peace

November Documentary Series on Nonviolence & Peace

The Center is sponsoring three films in November on the URI campus. Come join us for informative and engaging documentaries that underscore the need for nonviolence in our country and world.

1.  Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

Thursday, November 14, 2013, 7:30PM Swan Hall Auditorium – This follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, into the hidden world of America’s covert wars — from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. With a strong cinematic style, the film blurs the boundaries of documentary and fiction storytelling. Part action film and part detective story, Dirty Wars is a gripping journey into one of the most important and underreported stories of our time.

2. Living for 32

Monday, November 18th, 7:30 pm - Swan Hall Auditorium  - Living for 32 is the inspirational story of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic gun-shooting massacre, which occurred on the Virginia Tech campus, April 16th, 2007. The winning combination of Colin’s passion, charisma and optimism has commanded the attention of the American public and media since the devastating incident, which left 32 dead and 17 injured. In Living for 32, Colin shares an intimate account of terror he and his classmates endured and the courageous journey of renewal and hope he chose to pursue.

3. Free China: The Courage to Believe

Thursday, November 21st, 7:30 pm - Lippit Hall 402 –  The award winning “Free China: The Courage To Believe” tells the story of a mother and former Communist Party member, Jennifer Zeng, who along with more than 70 Million Chinese were practicing a belief that combined Buddhism and Daoism until the Chinese Government outlawed it. The Internet police intercepted an email and Jennifer was imprisoned for her faith. As she endured physical and mental torture, she had to decide: does she stand her ground and languish in jail, or does she recant her belief so she can tell her story to the world and be reunited with her family? A world away, Dr. Charles Lee, a Chinese American businessman, wanted to do his part to stop the persecution by attempting to broadcast uncensored information on state controlled television. He was arrested in China and sentenced to three years of re-education in a prison camp.

Think Big We Do

Copyright © 2014 University of Rhode Island.