Peace Literacy, Post-Election


By Candace Walworth, PhD, Peace Studies program lead

Three days after the 2016 election, my class (“Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies”) met for a Veteran’s day seminar with Paul Chappell, a West Point graduate and an Iraq war veteran who left active duty in 2009 as a Captain. Currently, Paul lectures nationally and internationally in his role as Peace Leadership Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Paul opened with the question, “What do human beings need?”

In conversation with students, he generated a list of human needs, including the need for purpose, meaning, trust, transcendence, and a sense of belonging. Framing his own narrative in the context of “the need for peace literacy,” Chappell shared his experience growing up in Alabama, the son of a Korean mother and a half-white, half-black father who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

As the conversation continued, students sought out connections between peace literacy, leadership and the election. Distinguishing between two kinds of poverty—material poverty and poverty of purpose—Chappell linked the election of Donald Trump to poverty of purpose and self-worth.

He encouraged students to approach peace work as an art-form and a skill-set that includes learning how to heal trauma and rage.

The Naropa Peace Studies program would like to thank Nederland’s Mountain Forum for Peace for including Naropa on Paul’s Boulder itinerary.

To learn more about Paul Chappell’s publications and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, go to ')}


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