Meet Tony Jenkins
Tony Jenkins is the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the National Peace Academy and serves as the Global Coordinator of the International Institute on Peace Education and the Global Campaign for Peace Education. At the National Peace Academy, Tony oversees the development of formal and non-formal educational programs and a research agenda designed to promote and inquire into the conditions and learning and educational change strategies for nurturing positive peace.
Prior to joining the National Peace Academy, Tony was the Co-Director of the Peace Education Center at Teachers College, Columbia University where he coordinated peace education research and program development nationally and internationally. He was the lead consultant for an international consortium of educators working to identify the substance of an advanced degree in Peace Education. From this consultation Tony developed the framework for the first Masters Programme in Peace Education offered in the world at the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Tony has taught courses in peace education, human rights, disarmament education, and gender and peace at Teachers College, Columbia University’s New York and Tokyo Campuses; Jaume I University in Spain; and at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica. Tony’s current work and research interests focus on examining the impacts and effectiveness of peace education methods and pedagogies in nurturing personal, social, and political change and transformation (NationalPeaceAcademy.us).
Read the National Peace Academy’s five spheres of peace and right relationships. Tony played a key role in developing this framework for peace education, around which their entire certificate program is built. The certificate is designed to provide learners with a variety of course offerings designed to develop the full scope of peacebuilding.
“…peacebuilding and peacelearning…promote a very active conception of peace and the dynamic and transformative learning required to pursue and achieve it. Additionally, these concepts illuminate at least five interrelated and interdependent spheres of peace and right relationships that need to be nurtured toward the full development of the peacebuilder: the personal, the social, the political, the institutional, and the ecological. These five spheres relate and function together as a peace system; each representing a unique, crosscutting, and reciprocally reinforcing sphere of human organization and relationships” (NationalPeaceAcademy.us)
Reflection Question: Which of these spheres would you be most interested in developing as part of your peace education practice? How would that sphere impact the kind of educational work that you do?
I agree with Jerron and Cassandra that the personal sphere is the most important. I believe that in order to try to instill peace in other people one needs to be at peace and understand oneself. In my future classroom, I believe that I’m in a natural position to be a role model and leader for my future students. Because of this, I think that I can’t teach other students to be peaceful without being at peace and understanding myself. I also feel that as a teacher I need to be a calming influence, I need to be the level head in the classroom who is always in control and always knows what is going on.
Personal development is what interest me the most. You have to know who you are and love yourself before you can teach and develop others. I sometimes have a problem thinking that I can carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Then I take a moment and realize I’m not perfect and I need to worry about my well being. Personal development impacts the work that I do because it gives me a self confidence in my ability but also allows me to be humble. I can impact my students to be proud of who they are. I can have my students take time to reflect on who and what they want to become when they get older. Also reflect how they communicate, behave, treat people, and hold one selves accountable for their actions and learn from there mistakes. As the late great Michael Jackson said “I’m starting with the man in the mirror,I’m asking him to change his ways,……….If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a CHANGE!!!”
Very nice man in the mirror reference.– Alex
I see the value of developing all of these spheres; however, I am most interested in developing the personal sphere. I believe that if you are not at peace with yourself and living with integrity, it will be very difficult for you to be at peace with others, political systems, organizations/institutions, and nature. You must have an understanding of yourself before you can have an understanding of others and the environment. From a personal point of view, I have been working hard to achieve personal peace for the past year and understand the importance and value in establishing personal peace. It takes a lot of time and reflection, but without personal peace, you go through life with a resentful, regretful, negative outlook that puts a strain on all other aspects of your life (relationships, communities of which you are a member, society, etc.). From an educational point of view, I would like to work on helping my students develop personal peace. I could start this process by having students be more reflective about their conflicts, attitudes, actions, and emotions. I would need to learn more about how to achieve personal peace in order to help my students grow in this sphere. Personal peace will not only benefit students in the classroom, but it will also help them outside of the classroom.
I agree with Audrey, I think that personal peace is the most important to develop. If everyone was personally peaceful then the other spheres would develop naturally. The Dalai Lama says that outer peace comes from inner peace. I think that this is hard for most people. It is much easier to point out what is wrong with societal structures or political institutions and much harder to point the finger back at yourself and live a more peaceful life.
Annsleigh Carter: I think I would be most interested in developing the personal sphere because I don’t see how any of the other spheres are really accessible without first developing peace within the self. I think this would have a good impact on me as a teacher. If I concentrate on working on my “authentic being,” and how I can relate to and help others, I will be a much stronger leader for my students.
I would be most interested in the Ecological sphere for several reasons. I am, and have always been, an environmentalist, and aside from the peace it can bring to humanity, helping protect the natural world brings me peace of mind. Also, I want to eventually help develop media education programs for the National Park Service focusing on the environment and earth sciences, so it’s logical that the Ecological sphere would be the one to develop.
Daniel Knoll – I’m most interested in developing the social sphere into my peace education practice. First, I scored the highest on interpersonal skills on the MI test, and I feel as if building relationships and understanding other people is an essential part of community building and successful team work. This sphere shapes my approach to education – it is essential to understand one self and how one fits in the community. It is important for students to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and understand that other students can help in areas that they need some improvement. The basics of a peaceful environment are how we treat one another, and the social sphere emphasizes human interaction and understanding “human dignity.” When I think of our classroom on Wednesday nights, I think of the social sphere.
I am most interested in developing the political sphere. I agree with the author and with Hannah Arendt that political power (and in Arendt’s case power in general) should not be about influencing the will or action of others. The political aspect can and should work alongside the other spheres, especially institutional, to create a larger social discourse. Because political spheres within different communities help to form many components of education, it can be a good resource for setting standards, developing curricula, facilitating debate/discourse, and allocating resources.
During my time in Macedonia, I saw a great deal of divisiveness in the larger community regarding education, teaching children national or mother tongue languages, and maintaining segregation along ethnic lines in schools. Macedonia seems to be making some strides toward more integrated and holistic peace education. However, the Ministry of Education and other parts of political life in the country seem to have slowed progress. It’s my goal to work within all the spheres Jenkins identifies, but to more carefully develop my role in the political sphere so that politics and power can become a tool for peace education and not an obstacle.
The personal sphere is one that I think would be important to develop further before attempting to teach others. Sometimes I struggle with finding inner peace with myself and time to really reflect on and think about that concept. Through a concentration on finding my own inner peace, I could reflect on ways in which I can achieve that and then be a better instructor for my students. Sometimes people have a hard time with the other spheres of peace because they don’t have personal peace. Personal peace can be easier to think about with proper instruction because you don’t have to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable to share that with others- it is personal. It is also important to teach through allowing students to be reflective and exemplifying how to do so.
I would be interested in developing two spheres I.e the Political and the Institutional for a peace education practice. The focus of the work would be on “decision making” and how compromise and other firms of dialogue among and between individuals, organizations and communities does not have to be about winners and losers, zero sum equations, winners takes all, or other forms of interactions which almost always less to conflict in many forms. We would focus on institutions – the processes, procedures, systems of beliefs, and values.
I might have said the ecological sphere last week, but since reading Lin’s views about peace and love, I’m most interested in developing the personal sphere. The necessity of actually teaching young students what it means to be humble, forgiving, understanding, sensitive, reflective, and generally loving is very clear to me. I remember learning a list of a dozen or so “life skills” all through my school years (though not in high school; we were supposed to have internalized them by that point), but there was rarely time for us to practice those skills. The personal sphere could affect the way each lesson is approached and organized; there would be an introduction relating a lesson to other concepts, and time questions and creative, cooperative learning, and at the end time for reflection. Less emphasis would be placed on the tangible outcome, and more on how students feel about a particular concept and how it affects their lives.
This is tough for me to decide because as I was reading through the different spheres, there were three that really resonated with me. Currently, I would have to say that I am most interested in developing further concerning the social sphere. Among what was discussed in the article was “managing interpersonal conflicts and differences” and for my middle school students this is a definite area of growth. They are trying to figure out who they are, get comfortable with themselves (let alone be comfortable with others) and in my current work, this is the sphere that I see impacting my work the most.
I see a lot over overlap with the political sphere in terms of the groups I’m about to discuss, but the article says that a focus of the social sphere is establishing the right relationships with others. One of the hurdles that I face is that students are establishing the right relationships with the RIGHT others. We have a significant amount of gang activity that goes on in our school neighborhood and they start recruiting members in middle school. These groups really prey on these students who are very socially confused and not confident and one of the biggest impacts I see the development of this sphere having on my practice is being able to successfully communicate with more students about the quality of the relationships they are developing and how those relationships will impact their aspirations.
The social sphere is incredibly intriguing and crucial to my personal development. Recently, I have had a good couple of cries over my own internal conflict of what it means to be a “good person.” The vagueness of that term is purposeful as I am attempting to challenge my respect and admiration of diversity and relativity on a micro level, combined with my own adversity to diversity on a macro level. I think if I where honest with myself that I would realize that I love human differences be that physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectual etc on a small level, but hate it on a large level. This could be for a couple of reason: (1) once I exercise my liberty, I may take away your liberty (ex: the institution of marriage) or (2) institutions suck and take too long to progress. I’d rather have anarchy than democracy and thats something that not many people would agree with. Yet, the foundation of being human lies to me lies in critical thinking, human dignity and creativity. With this being said, coexistence for me seems challenging, because I fear macro coexistence as inherently creating a majority or privileged group (i.e.: white privilege). Disrupting this formation is a challenge I am pursuing this semester and I hope to create a synergy between my fears and hopes of achieving equity.
For my peace education practice, I would most like to work within the political relationship sphere. I know this is referring to more than political science, but the idea of establishing dialog between different groups of people is essential to effective social change – or changing of institutions.
I feel this is definitely an inherent goal in teaching social studies. I got into the gig in order to get students thinking critically about the world around them and where they fit into that world. In practice, this is learning where students ask questions of themselves and people throughout history. I have a quote posted in my room that basically says honest history asks something of ourselves in return.
To me, history is about analyzing the walls and framework that we have built for institutions – then thinking critically about if we want to dismantle the walls. If so, how do we go about doing that? Politics, large and small, are the sledgehammer and the concrete to rebuild.
I am most interested in developing the political sphere. I feel that the world would benefit tremendously if more people adopted this sphere of peace education. Many problems could be addresses and solved within in education system if opposing sides agreed to come together to discourse with the goal of collectively making decisions, and committing to acting together to carry out those decisions. This method can work on a small scale, with people settling individual differences, or on a much larger scale with committees seeking to make high-impact decisions and formulate education policy. The concept of working together to formulate an agreement encourages compromise and consideration of the other, gives all people a sense of ownership over the agreed upon decision, and spurs people into action.
Currently, I am most interested in developing the institutional sphere. I believe this is where I see the most break down of effective strategies to solve social problems. This sphere could impact my educational work by bringing to light systems of organization that do not work, are inefficient, or do not address root causes of problems. From there, I would be interested in developing preferred systems, based on experiences teachers have on a daily basis, and methods teachers use to solve their own problems. I would like to have students involved as well, identifying systemic issues, troubleshooting their causes, and developing solutions.