Educators from Australia and New Zealand gathered in Melbourne last week for the Australasian Peace Education Symposium. Source: Edmund Rice Education Australia.
In message for the 50th Anniversary of the World Day of Peace in July, Pope Francis said: “Today more than ever, our societies need 'artisans of peace' who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family.”
As artisans of peace, educators from Catholic and Anglican school systems and from various faith and justice groups explored the essential elements of educating for peace at the conference.
The conference was jointly sponsored by Pace e Bene, Edmund Rice Education Australia, Catholic Education South Australia, Anglican Schools Commissions in WA and NZ.
The stories from activists who bring practices of peace to their work both locally and internationally was shared, as were the theological and theoretical insights in understanding Jesus as a definitive example of living a nonviolent life.
- Simon Reeves from Geelong spoke about his work at the Norlane Community Centre and Love Makes a Way
- Sally Morgan spoke about her work in Rwanda and on the Rwandan Stories curriculum as well as her more recent work with young people who are seeking asylum.
- Carly Osborn helped participants to understand the theories of Rene Girard as a theoretical framework for recognising and making sense of violence in our world;
- Restorative justice as a practice of peace and nonviolence was explored from Australian and New Zealand perspectives
Wayne Tinsey, executive director of EREA, opened the conference.
“Can there be a more important topic calling people of faith and belief in the future together than the quest for deeper understanding of peace and the power of peace in our individual lives and the lives of our communities?” Dr Tinsey asked.
“Can there be a more countercultural pursuit than the pursuit of nonviolence in a world which appears intent in ripping itself apart?
“Many of us are involved in the formation of young people who will be the creators of the future. We know that the type of future that they will create will be shaped to a large extent by the peace that they encounter in the depths of their being. May they come to know peace!”