A high school in the coastal city of Boca Raton, Florida is empowering students to build peace in their local community.
Around 100 children from Spanish River High School have undertaken the Positive Peace Academy devised by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), a free online course that provides participants with the skills to develop peace and take action at a grassroots and institutional level.
After undertaking the academy peace programme, 25 Spanish River High School students will gain a certificate of completion.
For an age group that will wait years to activate their voting rights to affect change in society, gaining peacebuilding skills will help the students make a difference now.
Bogdan Paraschivoiu says his long work history teaching holocaust studies naturally led him towards IEP’s peace research and the academy.
“By completing the Positive Peace Academy from the Institute for Economics and Peace myself, I realised the importance of teaching these concepts to my students,” said Paraschivoiu.
“A group of Spanish River students were also interested in building a peacebuilder club, so that we can make a difference in the community and the world.”
“The educational model I created for the club is meant to build peace in the mind of young people and we do that through readings and research, guest speakers and lectures, the Positive Peace Academy and research, reflection, and community service projects.”
“The Positive Peace framework is a universal model that can be used by anyone or any group to share objective truths on the various injustices plaguing our world.”
The club uses communication, a deep reflection of history, relevant empirical and statistical data to develop appropriate responses and strategies that will change the current social climate. Students will also be undertaking community service projects at local, national, and international level.
Within the school so far, the students and club members participated in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and created a detailed video featuring Holocaust Survivor Norman Frajman. A student has also been accepted into the William P. Lauder Internship programme, which provides an opportunity to engage with survivors of genocide. The same student is also mentoring a peer group through the Stronger Than Hate Challenge, a competition which invites students to create an artwork or media piece that demonstrates how your community can be stronger than hate.
The Spanish River High School Stand up for Peace, Human Rights, and the Environment club is sponsored by the local Rotary Club of Boca Raton Sunrise and Rotary’s partnership with IEP. Rotary Youth and Rotary Peace in Action form the foundation for the club’s administration.
Positive Peace is defined by IEP as the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies, and represents a holistic approach to developing peace. It not only reduces violence and the level of grievances, it also provides a framework for robust human development.
More than an absence of violence, Positive Peace is associated with many other social characteristics that are considered desirable, including stronger economic outcomes, higher levels of inclusiveness and more sustainable environmental performance.
For more information on the different ways Rotary and the Institute for Economics & Peace partner together, visit the Rotary International website.
Find out more details about the SRHS Stand Up for Peace, Human Rights, and the Environment Club by visiting the website https://www.suphre.org/.
Sign up for the Positive Peace Academy here.