The Way To A Happy Future

Culture Of Peace

Just for kids

Yak's Corner

January 24, 2000|By Patricia Chargot

The United Nations has declared 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace.

That means the United Nations' member countries think teaching people how to solve conflicts by listening to each other will be very important in the 21st century.

There already are hundreds of specially trained peace teachers in 70 countries, says Elise Boulding, a peace writer and lecturer.

"Ideally, during that first decade, an intensive program of teaching kids about peace will be launched all over the world," says Boulding, who helped set up the network of peace teachers and researchers in 1965.

"We'll be teaching peace in classrooms in the first grade. Every year, kids will learn more about how to deal with conflict without fighting or being violent.

"By the time kids are in the sixth grade, they'll be very good at this and begin to teach their parents how to be more peaceful."

Humans can be the friendliest creatures on the planet. But they can also be the meanest -- wars and fighting have been around as long as humans have.

But in the 20th century, war and fighting became a lot scarier with the development of high-powered guns and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Richard Chasdi, a terrorism expert, says everyone can help by trying to be more sensitive to other cultures.

"Ask yourself, 'Why are people so angry at us around the world?' " says Chasdi. "A lot of people think the United States wants to dominate culturally."

As you travel and meet people from other cultures, try to listen and understand. Let them know you respect their traditions.

Remember: Peace begins with you.

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