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Resource Project for Youth
Lutheran Peace Fellowship

dove of peace

On Violence and Conflict Resolution

LPF project summary November 1996

A. Background: Work on these resources began in early 1993. They examine violence, conflict, and conflict resolution using a wide range of activities, perspectives, and materials. Geared initially to high schools, they have also been used in middle schools, colleges, and with youth groups. Lutheran Peace Fellowship is a leading member of the Project, LPF's national coordinator has served as project director from the beginning, and LPF is adapting and testing project materials with youth groups. These resources have been shared with more than three hundred classes and youth groups, teachers and youth leaders, and project members have been asked to discuss them in scores of media interviews and community gatherings.

B. Major Features and Strengths of Project Resources:

1. Emphasis on Involvement -- The unit makes ample use of audiovisuals, participatory activities, and displays such as the "Path of Hope" to develop and maintain interest and involvement. It seeks to foster young people's direction and initiative, and behavioral and attitudinal as well as cognitive learning.

2. Multiple Dimensions -- In our experience, young people learn best by examining conflict, violence, and conflict resolution on a variety of levels and dimensions: historical and contemporary; international, intergroup, cultural, community, and interpersonal. The skills and lessons developed on each level seem to be mutually reinforcing. This suggests that school programs on violence and conflict resolution are best organized "across the curriculum," where teachers in the social studies, language arts, and other subjects, as well as family life and counseling programs address the issues in a serious, mutually reinforcing manner.

3. Focus on Solutions and Alternatives -- Another hypothesis confirmed by our experience in class-rooms and youth groups is the importance of discussing alternatives, solutions, citizenship skills, and values at each stage of a program and not, as so often happens, tacked on at the end. Skills, alternatives, and solutions developed in these resources are also of a broader range than in most available curricula.

4. Unit Adaptability -- Resources are designed to allow groups of lessons to be used on their own or added to another curriculum. Lessons can be expanded into two or three days and lesson plans often provide suggestions for doing so. Most lessons offer alternative activities, audiovisuals, approaches, etc., and reference is often made to helpful lessons from other sources.

5. Cooperative Process -- Unlike many programs on these issues, we have been eager to share the results of our efforts freely. And we have studied materials from many other sources. Where an existing resource uses an approach or activity that has merit, we recommend it rather than "reinventing the wheel."

C. Response: Youth groups, students, and teachers have had a very positive response to project activities and resources. The success of the unit has led to requests for more than thirty newspaper, radio, and television interviews including several national programs. A classroom session of the project was featured on the Pacific Northwest region's most widely seen public affairs television program, The Compton Report.

D. Materials Available on the Project: A Unit Overview summarizes more than thirty lessons and options of the resource unit and graphically conveys the breadth of its content and key relationships among the unit's themes.

An Information Packet with sample lesson plans and handouts from each of the five section of the unit is available for $3.

The Weapons Connection, an article on the project's philosophy and origins was published by the National Association of Social Workers (Spring 1994), and in the peace education journal, COPRED Chronicle (December 1993).

The Compton Report TV show featuring a classroom discussion from the project is available (VHS video, 23 min., $10 rental).

Fact sheets (free), Info Packets ($3), and Bibliographies (free) on community violence, racial and economic justice, international issues.

Project leadership: Glen Gersmehl, Director; Wilda Luttermoser, Chair; Nan McMurry, Co-Chair; Kirstin Baron, Monica Bradley, Cheri Davis, Glen Gersmehl, Larissa Heyman, Sonja Josund, Abe Keller, Steve Lane, Andrea Langeland, Todd Nicholson, Bob Wilson, Principal Writers. Project members: Fellowship of Reconciliation, League of Women Voters of Seattle, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Peace Action of Washington, Peace & Justice Resource Center, Peace Between People, Physicians for Social Responsibility, United Nations Association. Project support has included grants from the S.H. Cowell Foundation, Women of the ELCA (WELCA), and the Board for Church in Society, Rocky Mountain Synod, ELCA. For more information: contact Glen Gersmehl, LPF, 1710 11th Ave., Seattle, WA 98122; 206-349-2501 (1-5 pm); e-mail:

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