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Peace Foundation Celebrates Four Decades of Peacebuilding

Peace Foundation Celebrates Four Decades of Peacebuilding Initiatives and Shares Future Vision

Monday, 23 May 2016, 6:00 am

The Peace Foundation celebrates four decades of peacebuilding initiatives, awareness and education that include (1) peer mediation programme for schools; (2) support for the establishment of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, NCPACS, at the University of Otago; (3) Nuclear-free New Zealand; and (4) partnerships for the declaration of Auckland as a City for Peace. The Peace Foundation’s vision for future activities include taking its peer mediation programme to a further 30 schools in the coming year, while developing a multi-million dollar plan to reach out to every school in the country.

“Over 20 years ago, the Peace Foundation launched its peer mediation training programme in schools and the programme has touched 450 schools to date,” says President of the Peace Foundation, AUT Emeritus Vice Chancellor Dr John Hinchcliff. “We have research results from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education showing how powerfully effective the programme is for students and teachers in managing conflict constructively in schools, as well as raising pupil attainments,” says Dr Hinchcliff.

“The peer mediation programme involves a neutral person, usually a peer, who facilitates a process to help the disputants find positive, mutually acceptable solutions to solve their problem,” he says. The peer mediation programme in primary schools is known as ‘Cool Schools’, while the programme being run in secondary schools is known as ‘Leadership through Peer Mediation (LtPM)’.

“The programme is developed and made in New Zealand,” says Founder of the ‘Cool Schools’ programme and former President of the Peace Foundation, Yvonne Duncan. She wants peer mediation to get to every school to impart lifelong, practical conflict management skills to students and teachers. “It works. Kids love it (they manage themselves more) and teachers love it (they do not have to supervise all the time),” she says.

The Peace Foundation’s programme provides a peaceful conflict resolution ‘tool box’ for parents as well as for teachers and students in schools. “There is greater urgency now to increase the reach of the programme throughout the country, particularly given reports in the media about bullying at school and horrific family violence in New Zealand,” says Dr Hinchcliff.

“It is time to do that now, and also to spread the programme around the world as a ‘new export’ from New Zealand,” says Christopher Le Breton, Co-General Manager for the Peace Foundation. “The peer mediation programme has received interest from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Pakistan, Australia, Fiji and the USA. The Peace Foundation has over two decades of experience teaching tools for peaceful conflict resolution – life skills that will make a difference for safer schools, families and communities that respect and celebrate diversity,” he says.

In conjunction with the Peace Foundation’s birthday celebrations, a function will hosted by the Deputy Speaker, the Honourable Chester Borrows, at Parliament Buildings. The function will be held on Tuesday, 24 May 2016, at 5:00 pm. Highlights for the function include talks about the Foundation’s work for peace in New Zealand, and video clips of children engaging in peer mediation.

In addition, the Peace Foundation will call for inclusive, proactive partnerships with others throughout society to achieve peace in New Zealand and internationally.

Ahead of the function at Parliament Buildings, the Peace Foundation will be holding a public event in central Auckland on Monday 23 May 2016, at The Domain Lodge, 1 Boyle Road, from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. “Organisations or members of the public who are interested to join in would be most welcome to get in touch with the Peace Foundation office or myself,” says Christopher Le Breton.

Christopher Le Breton Co-General Manager Peace Foundation Level 2, 128 Khyber Pass Road Grafton, Auckland 1023 Mob: 022 689 7107 E-mail: christopher@peacefoundation.org.nz Web: www.peace.net.nz

Sandra Segall Communications Officer The Peace Foundation Mob: 027 429 7946 E-mail: sandra@peacefoundation.org.nz

ENDS

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