For young people living in Chelsea, AL; Franklin, TN; Hartford, SD; and Silverdale, WA, news of the Trump-Putin summit, annual summer protests in Iraq, and potential talks between the U.S. and the Afghan Taliban may feel like a world away. Four high school teachers from these communities, selected to take part in a U.S. Institute of Peace program, will spend the next school year bringing pressing international issues of conflict such as these to life, while also empowering their students to see peace as something practical and possible.

peace teachers on the panel
USIP’s 2017 Peace Teachers, pictured from left to right, Joanne Leedom-Ackerman (moderator), Ezra Shearer, Maria Zelaya, Amy Cameron, and USIP’s Megan Chabalowski, share their experiences at a USIP event.

USIP has chosen Ryan Adams of Chelsea High School in Chelsea, AL; Casandra Bates of Centennial High School in Franklin, TN; JoAnne Bohl of West Central High School in Hartford, SD; and Jennifer O'Boyle of Klahowya Secondary School in Silverdale, WA, to participate in the 2018 Peace Teachers Program. Over the course of the next school year, they will receive training, resources, and support to strengthen their teaching of international conflict management and peacebuilding.

"We are delighted to announce our four 2018 Peace Teachers. As experienced social studies teachers, they are dedicated to helping their students become effective global citizens," said Megan Chabalowski, who manages the program for USIP's Public Education department. "We know from working with previous groups of Peace Teachers that this program will help them achieve that goal. It will give them and their students the knowledge, skills, and perspectives they need to envision a more peaceful world and their part in creating it."

The Peace Teachers Program is rooted in the conviction that educators can be pivotal in bringing global peace and conflict themes into their classrooms, schools, and communities. Past participants have reported that this program changed their own perspectives and those of their students.

"In my classroom, we started every day with one question: How can I be an effective peacebuilder? My students began to see the world through a different lens. They blew me away with their ideas on how to generate peace in a violent world," said 2017 Peace Teacher Amy Cameron.

"I am now able to bring global peacebuilding education to both my subject area and the school as a whole," said Maria Zelaya, another 2017 Peace Teacher.

As participants in this program, the 2018 cohort will discover ways to advance their students' understanding of conflict and the possibilities of peace in ways that align with their own content. Over the course of the next school year, they will take part in online coursework, develop and implement individualized action plans, and share their strategies and experiences, serving as models and ambassadors for peacebuilding in action, bringing global issues to life in their own classrooms and beyond. Staff from USIP will travel to each school over the course of the year to support the Peace Teachers and generate additional outreach opportunities in their communities.

The Peace Teachers Program is part of USIP's public education work. Grounded in the Institute's original mandate from Congress, public education serves the American people, providing resources and initiatives for K-12 students and educators, as well as others interested in learning about and working for peace.

For more information on the Peace Teachers Program or its 2018 cohort, email Megan Chabalowski at mchabalowski@usip.org.

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