By Anna Galaktionov
The Peace Education Foundation states its mission as “educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict and promoting peacemaking skills in our homes, schools, community, the nation, and the world.”
The organization holds true to its mission by developing and publishing activity-based lesson plans and teacher guides that promote social emotional learning, violence prevention, conflict resolution, mediation skills, character development and bullying prevention among K-12 children.
So far, the Peace Education Foundation, founded in 1980, has worked with over 20,000 schools locally in the Miami area, nationally across many states, and internationally in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Poland.
Barry University partnered with the foundation in 2018 by combining the education and communication departments in the creation of video lessons for teachers.
Senior students from the education department like senior education major Juanpablo Martin role play as school-aged children while Francisco Vega-Bonilla, director of the education programs at the Peace Education Foundation, serve in the teacher role by facilitating a lesson from the PeaceWorks Curriculum.
The lesson is filmed in Barry’s David Brinkley Studio by Media Center Manager John Musulin and students in the communications department.
“[The seminar is] a simple but effective way to bring a class together, and it helps aid teachers in developing a safe environment for teachers where students are heard and respected. It benefited me as a teacher,” said Martin. “Using activities, such as those utilized in the peace seminar, can be a great way to develop that safe learning environment and can help give teachers usable data on how to best help their students.”
This collaboration between two departments is influential for all the faculty and students involved.
Vega-Bonilla heartedly said, “For me, [the Peace Education Foundation] has been a great gift in my life.”
Musulin worked proudly as a professional sports TV editor for over 20 years and has worked at Barry University for over six years.
“[The Peace Education tutorial series] really means a lot to me because I spent my life doing homeruns, dunks, and touchdowns, and believe there’s fun in that, but after 20+ years to work on what I consider to be a very noble cause, it means a lot to me,” he said.
With so many individuals and communities beneficially and happily involved in the video lessons, the organization has a goal to create more of them.
“I was told there could be 100 of these,” Musulin said.
The president of the Peace Education Foundation Lloyd Van Bylevelt said, “I’ve been privileged to be able to work at Peace Education for, I think, over 30 years, and it has been very meaningful in terms of the type of work we’ve done, and you really feel like you’re working towards peace.”
As Bylevelt heralds, may the Peace Education Foundation, the education and communication departments at Barry University and all people become peacemakers.
The video lessons can be found at www.peaceeducation.org/video-lessons/