Forum 1.1

Please introduce yourself to the group by posting a comment with your responses to these five questions:

  1. What is your name?
  2. What is/are your official titles(s) (e.g. profession, job, etc.)?
  3. What is/are your unofficial titles(s) (e.g. other ways you identify who you are and what you do – hobbies, family, beliefs, etc.)?
  4. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  5. Having gone through the syllabus, reading the objectives and knowing the requirements, what are some agreements that you would like us to have as a class that will help make this course run smoothly and be successful?

Please also take a moment to watch the short videos below so you can meet some of the other peace educators whose voices and experience have inspired this course. They have all responded to the same questions to which you’ve been asked to respond.

37 thoughts on “Forum 1.1

  1. 1.What is your name?
    Salutations!!! My name is Courtney Strange, and the last name is certainly fitting.

    2.What is/are your official titles(s) (e.g. profession, job, etc.)?
    I am a graduate student and a fourth grade teacher.

    3.What is/are your unofficial titles(s) (e.g. other ways you identify who you are and what you do – hobbies, family, beliefs, etc.)?
    I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a GREAT cook, a writer, and a culture super fan.

    4.If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
    My great grandmothers. I know very little of my family history beyond my grand parents. Because of my mixed heritage, both grand mothers lost their familial ties after they married. I would love to explore their stories and learn how they lived.

    5.Having gone through the syllabus, reading the objectives and knowing the requirements, what are some agreements that you would like us to have as a class that will help make this course run smoothly and be successful?
    I think we should all agree to maintain an open mind and try new things in spite of preconceived notions.

  2. Hello everyone,

    1. My name is Cady Voge

    2. Official titles:
    I am the Program Manager at One World Youth Project (, which is a program of the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation ( I am also a trainer and educator.

    3. Unofficial titles:
    I am a daughter, friends, partner/girlfriend, roommate, sister to 1, cousin to 21, granddaughter, photographer, silk screen printer, film maker, cook, baker, foreign language enthusiast..

    4. There are so many amazing people I would love to have dinner with! For now I will choose my grandmother Carolyn. She was a teacher for her whole career but passed away before I knew I was so dedicated and passionate about education as well. I would love to learn more about her approach to her work, what inspired her, what influenced her to become a teacher, and I would love to tell her about my current work and interests as well.

    5. Suggested agreements:
    – Be patient and aware of different types of communicators — I believe this is important in creating a welcoming and peaceful community.

    Lastly- I am very sorry for this late post. I was out of the country last week and I originally thought I would have much more access to internet that I ultimately did. Apologies for joining late. It is a pleasure to e-meet all of you and read through your introductions.


  3. Hello everyone, my name is Miao (sounds like the cat:)) I am impressed that Dr. Cambride said my name in the video perfectly, as most people would call it, “Mau”. Anyway, I was born and raised in Beijing, China. I came to the U.S. about five years ago to pursue the master degree in education. I went the University of Georgia, majored in TESOL. After I graduated, I moved to D.C. and currently working at the Washington Yuying Public Charter School, as a Chinese teacher. I have taught the PreK for the past two years, and will move up to 2nd grade in this following year. I am a very passionate teacher and love the little ones!

    My dinner guest– well, I would like to choose Chairman Mao. It was so interesting how many people are interested asking me all the questions about Mao when I am in the U.S., especially at the UGA. I was born in the 80’s, Mao was no longer popular icon when I grew up. I didn’t know much about him. All I knew was he won the war, united China and of course, the negative consequence of the Culture Revolution. However, because of peoples’s curiosity, (as everyone assumed I should know, since I am a Chinese) I read a book about Chairman. The author was by his private doctor. While reading it, I was shocked for what I didn’t know. I felt I was so ignorant. At the same time, I started “interviewing” my parents and grandma about their opinions about Chairman Mao. It was very interesting to see the how media passes information differently and the different perspectives from Americans, me, myself and my parents, grandparents’ generation.

    Agreement: respect others’ culture and no stereotype. People turn to have stereotype for certain group of people or things, and perspectives. I used to be the same way, because it does help us to have a basic understanding of others. But we are individual, and have our own personality.

  4. Hi Mary, Wow, I am excited to be engaged in this course with you and all of my colleagues from Wilson. Hope we will be able to use some of these strategies in this course to make our school the most peaceful educational environment in DC.

  5. Hello! My name is Alex Caudana. As for my formal titles, I’m a former sports reporter turned future educator. I’m currently pursuing my teaching certificate in secondary education with a social studies specialty. My intentions are to eventually “roll over” my certificate into AU’s master’s program. I currently work in the healthcare industry, where in my office I’m known as a jack of all trades. As for my informal titles, I’m getting married later on this year, so a family of my own is somewhere on the horizon. I enjoy hiking with my fiance as well as playing hockey. I ran track and cross country in high school and college and would one day I would love to become a coach.

    As for my ideal dinner guest, I would choose Abraham Lincoln. I used to be a Civil War reenactor, so that time period has always been an interest of mine. I would want to get into Lincoln’s head, (no pun intended there) on how he operated and what his thought process was. Many look at Lincoln as one of our nation’s greatest leaders, and one of the things I would want to find out during the course of our dinner is: did he lose faith in the cause at one point? Was there ever a moment of doubt in his mind that the country and the union would not be restored?

    As for this class running smoothly, most of what I would say has already been talked about (respect for deadlines, being non-judgemental towards others, dependable, open-mindedness). However, I would add that it is important for all of us to be cooperative. All of us come from different walks of life and different experience levels when it comes to educating. Because of that, we should all share our individual experiences in an effort to make each and everyone of us a better educator, so we can better serve our future students.

    • Hello Alex. Welcome to our community. First, congratulations on your engagement. You mentioned that you and your fiancé enjoy hiking. Are there any particular hikes or areas for hiking that are your favorite?

      Since you are a Lincoln fan, I of course have to ask for your thoughts on the film, Lincoln…

      Lastly, as you are currently enrolled in AU you should aim to take some classes from any or all of the three AU peace educators that are featured in the course – Barbara Wien, Michael Gibbons, and/or Vanessa King. Have you taken any of their classes yet?

  6. Hi, I’m Mary Ann.

    I’m a career switcher to being a teacher. Next year will be my 3rd year as an ESL teacher of U.S. history and world history at Wilson High School. (Hi, Pam. I’m glad to see you’re also taking the course.)

    For nearly 14 years I was a journalist for Education Week and I specialized in writing about children from immigrant families. I had a lot of chances to interview people from other cultures, and that was fun. But I decided I wanted a job that was even more people-oriented, so I became a teacher. I’m a pacifist and I’m upfront when I’m teaching wars in history that I don’t think violence accomplishes anything. Of course, I try to create a space where students feel free to express their views. I love walking and being out in nature. I’m a birdwatcher.

    In the moment, I’d like to have dinner with journalist Peter Hessler, who is the author of the book I’m currently reading, Country Driving. He’s brilliant in profiling ordinary people in China while also talking about the culture and history. He’s won one of those MacArthur genius awards.

    As for rules, I agree with others who have posted comments before me: a respect for others’ time and beliefs.

    • Hello Mary Ann. You have a fascinating journey to teaching. I am also intrigued by your pacifism. I assume you are familiar with Colman McCarthy (considering he is an AU and DC icon, a journalist, and teaches at Wilson, correct?) I intended to interview him for this course, as well, but I never found the time to do it. Anyway, considering your pacifism and the ways in which you integrate that into your teaching, how do your students respond and how do you encourage them to challenge war narratives? This is a conversation we will have in an upcoming week, but I would like to get a nugget of your knowledge and experience from you at this point.

      • I’ve read a lot of Colman McCarthy’s writings, and, yes, he does teach one course at Wilson, but I’ve never met him. I should make a point of doing that.

        One way I nudge students in the direction of questioning war narratives is to expose them to a lot of stories by ordinary people who participated in war. Many of those stories convey the emotional impact of war and raise questions about how wars were carried out.

        I’ve used stories from, such as Germans in the Woods, Narratives in the Good War, by Studs Terkel, about World War II, also raise questions about war.

        When I show a clip from War Letters (an American Experience PBS film) of both Germans and Americans dancing together and celebrating the end of World War I around campfires, the students make observations, such as “The soldiers don’t have anything personally against each other. It’s their governments that send them to war.”

        And I pose questions that they answer in journals, such as: Are nations generally slow to go to war or do they tend to rush into war? (Justify your answer with examples)

    • Hi Mary. Great seeing you here as well. I am fascinated by your background in writing about children from immigrant families. No wonder you are such an effective ESL teacher.

    • Hi Mary, I am interested in the journalist Peter Hessler you talked about. I am from China. I am curious of how he profiles ordinary Chinese people

  7. Hi everyone:
    1. I go by Alexandra or Alex Stryker. I teach Computer Graphics and Intro to Digital Media at Woodrow Wilson High School and I am also the faculty advisor to our student newspaper.

    2 Reading about the several of you who have posted so far has already got me excited about the course and hopefully getting to connect with all of you. I was DELIGHTED to discover that I am in this class with Pamela Gardner — Wilson’s amazing media specialist/slam-poetry-team spiritual leader! I’m feeling inspired and optimistic about our opportunities to collab next year! and I’m excited to be working with you all this summer.

    3. unofficial titles I hold: Chicagoan (I am a transplant to DC as of 2009, just like Obama), chocolate bar lover, fan of most forms of personal expression – especially art, design, music and writing (notably, NOT a dance enthusiast), life-long helper and learner.

    4. For my dinner companion I’m split between two of my heroes: Buckminster Fuller, who referred to the world as “spaceship earth” and who dedicated his life to working toward solving global problems like shelter, transportation, education, energy, and poverty AND my beloved Studs Terkel, the community storyteller and oral historian of Chicago who felt that every voice was worth hearing and every story worth telling.

    5. I took a class in facilitative leadership at the Interaction Institute for Social Change a few years ago, and one of the community agreements I think benefitted all of my classmates then, and one that I would like to employ here is: assume good-intent on the part of our classmates and their contributions. practice “both/and” thinking rather than either/or. Try to make sense of multiple perspectives, or attempt to take more than one perspective.

    • Hi Alex Stryker. You are bringing some good energy into this group. I can feel it from your introduction. I love how the potential collaboration is already blossoming between you and Pamela.

      I really also like the agreements that you have suggested. I would love to learn more about the Interaction Institute for Social Change. What is that Institute all about and what was that experience like?

      • Hi, Alex. I know you by face but that’s it. I look forward to getting to know you better through this course and then also at Wilson next school year.

  8. 1. What is your name?
    Greetings! My name is Paige Williams

    2. What is/are your official titles(s) (e.g. profession, job, etc.)?
    Currently I am Mama Paige, the 2nd grade teacher, during the school year, I am Mama Paige the Pre-K 4 teacher. (I teach at a holistic school with African-based values, thus the teachers are called Mama and Baba.)

    3.What is/are your unofficial titles(s) (e.g. other ways you identify who you are and what you do – hobbies, family, beliefs, etc.)?
    I am a daughter, a singer, a dancer, a chef, and a lover of great music (every genre).

    4. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
    If I could have dinner with anyone, I would dine with my students. Their innocence and zealous attitude towards life keep me going. The way they approach/view everyday things is amazing, I find myself constantly learning something new from them.

    5. Having gone through the syllabus, reading the objectives and knowing the requirements, what are some agreements that you would like us to have as a class that will help make this course run smoothly and be successful?
    I think it would be beneficial for us to all be open minded to each other’s views. It would also be wonderful if we all actively participated!

    Happy Learning!!

    • Hello Paige. I love your call for everyone to actively participate. This is one of my hopes as well. Collectively, as a group, we are bringing together many many years of teaching experience and if we all participate, share our ideas, challenge assumptions in the content, and adapt activities to fit our specific contexts, I think there is going to be A LOT of peace learning going on.

      I also love your choice of dining mates. I was hoping you could share one of the more recent things you have learned from your students that is born from their innocence. I have a one year old daugther, named Kaiya, and she teaches me so much every day and she gives opportunities to always find the most useful way to channel my energy. She is soaking up so much at this age and she lets me know that.

    • Paige, I love the idea of dining with your students. This is were you can find out alot more about your students than just in a classroom setting. And not to mention you are teaching still in this setting, (social skills)

  9. hello all,
    1. my name is Tina Jones
    2. Currently I am a Health and Physical Education teacher at Dunbar SHS in Washington, DC. I am also the Head Varsity Girls Basketball coach.
    3. My unofficial titles, positive role model, godmother, mother and those are to my kids at school. At home I have a five year old little boy and I am engaged to be married. I love spending quality time with family and love SHOPPING.
    4.If i could have dinner with anyone it would be my father. He left us 7 years ago so unexpected. We were not on the best of terms, but he knew that I loved him. I never got to tell him that before he passed and it haunts me to this day. So for i always try to make sure i touch a child s inner being everyday. The one that’s having a ruff start or is upset with the world. That is how i keep in contact with my father.

    • Hello Tina. Very powerful introduction. What a great way to stay connected with your father and to live the message you wish you had told him before he passed. When you say you “touch a child’s inner being” what does that look like? I think that’s a beautiful way to explain how we show an expression of care for each other and our students.

      Lastly, congrats on your engagement! Have you registered anywhere? If so, I bet that was a fun process for you given your love of shopping :).

  10. Good afternoon, all!
    My name is Cassandra Frey.

    Officially/professionally, I am an elementary teacher at Takoma Education Campus. I taught third grade for 2 years and first grade last year and, fingers crossed, will continue to teach first grade next year. I am an After School Teacher, working with our kindergarten and first grade students after school to further their literacy and math skills. I am a coach for Girls on the Run, a club targeted at our third-fifth grade female students to build self-esteem and respect by working/running together twice a week.

    Unofficially, I am a daughter/big sister/cousin/niece/granddaughter… I have a large, extremely supportive family in PA and, fortunately, I am able to see them regularly. I am active… go to the gym often and run. I am a lover of the outdoors… walking around the city, hiking, being at the beach, etc. I am a friend and enjoy spending my time with others trying new restaurants, dancing, working out, lounging by the pool, etc.

    If I could have dinner with anyone I would eat with my Grammy Miller (great-grandmother on my dad’s side of the family). I didn’t realize, until she passed away, how strong of a woman she was and the hardships she endured throughout her life. I have so many questions for her and things I want to know more about.

    Things that I would like us to agree on are: respect each other’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and be dependable with your work, posts, meetings, etc.

    I look forward to working with you.

    • Hello Cassandra. I love the concept behind the Girls on the Run club. I hope you will share more with us about this group and any connections you may make with the content and exercises in this course.

      Given you hiking around the city and frequenting restaurants, I have to ask, what are some of your favorite parts of the city to walk and why? And what are some of your favorite restaurants in the DC area.

      • Hi Daryn,
        Girls on the Run is a great program… I’m sure there will be many connections I can make between the lessons that are done with the girls and the themes of our course.

        Some of my favorite places to run/walk around are Meridian Hill Park (especially in the spring/summer when the water is flowing through the fountains), Rock Creek Park, and the monuments and memorials (though I typically only make it to Lincoln, WWII, and the Washington Monument. As far as food goes I’d consider myself a novice, but I do love the brunches at Founding Farmers’ and Masa 14, the appetizers (esp. the bacon wrapped dates) and desserts at Fire Fly are very yummy, I recommend making a reservation at the Gibson for drinks, Wonderland has awesome eggplant fries, salads, and sandwiches, and I just had the sushi at Nooshi this weekend… delicious 🙂

  11. 1. My name is Jerron Joe.

    2. I’m a health and physical education teacher at Dunbar SHS in Washington, D.C., I am also the Head Football and Bowling coach at Dunbar.

    3. I would identify myself as a mentor, role model, and/or a big brother for the inter city youth. I’m very passionate about making a difference in my community. On my free time I enjoy laughing, exercising, and resting.

    4. I would have dinner with the late Paul Lawrence Dunbar. I would like to know his vision and his insight on what he expects out of his school community. (being as though it was the first black public school in the country) Im honored and proud to be a graduate and now a teacher at this historic school. I would want to know how does it feel to be legend and how I could help continue his legacy.

    5. Two words that I tell my students all the time “Effective Communication”

    • Hello, Jerron. First, I want to apologize because I realize I failed to acknowledge you by name in my intro video. But you are acknowledged now through your great intro story. It’s truly wonderful that you are now teaching, coaching, and mentoring at the very school you attended. Has the school (students, climate, spirit, etc.) changed at all since you were a student? If so, how?

      • No problem at all Daryn. Things change with time, over all Im loving my experience at Dunbar, the enrollment is not as high, the school spirit is not what it was, the students are caught up in trying to be cool. We are moving into a brand new building this up and coming school year, so the atmosphere will change and the enrollment will go up.

  12. Greetings to all,
    Thank you Daryn and classmates for this opportunity to learn together. I am Pamela Lipscomb-Gardner.
    Officially, I am titled the school librarian and media specialist at Woodrow Wilson High School; the faculty sponsor /coach of the Woodrow Wilson High School Poetry Club and its Slam Team, Motley Society; faculty sponsor of the Wilson Readers (a student organization that supports early literacy by reading to toddlers through first graders at neighborhood schools, libraries, and early learning centers); Mother of two incredible young ladies; and “Asha’s mom” or “Alex’s mom” to my daughter’s friends.
    Unofficially… hmmm, let’s see…”mom” to my daughters; “Momma G” to a community of poets, singers, spoken word artists and musicians (probably because I feed them, attend and host events for them, and give them hugs); An appreciator of culture and beauty (I enjoy wandering parks, museums, art galleries, plant shops, gardens (have you been to Ladew?), restaurants, theatres, performances of all types especially those hosted by various international cultures and other natural and manmade places to see, smell, taste, touch, feel, and/or hear the many manifestations of beauty living has to offer); an avid reader/researcher because the mind is a terrible thing to waste and I want to be a wise counsel in my old age; and an overcomer (three time cancer survivor which I attribute to a strong foundation of love, my faith which lends me laughter through adversity and resiliency instilled by my grandmother who asked, “If a baby can fall and get up, what’s stopping you?”)
    If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be Khalil Gibran or Richard Bach because I would like to break bread with the men whose words have most influenced my outlook on so many aspects of living.
    Having read the course requirements and objectives, some of the agreements I would like us to have are a) be respectful of each other’s time, thoughts and effort b) our discussions should be safe, nonjudgmental spaces to share – our words should be used to grow in the pedagogy and edify each other c) enjoy this journey, after all this is what we have chosen to incorporate into our summer plans and, I don’t know about you but, summer is my time to have fun, smile a lot, relax and rejuvenate so I can be a better me when I return to my “official professional “ title.
    Trusting this will be a great experience, Looking forward to getting to know and learning with each of you…

    • Hello, Pamela. What a great introduction. I can really feel your spirit coming through in what you have chosen to share. What an amazing life you are leading! I would love to connect with you around the work you do with Motley Society. I am co-organizing a peace education gathering at AU July 16 and 17 (more details to follow) and I have an idea for the opening “keynote.” I think your experience and passion for poetry can lend a hand in making this idea really blossom. I will email you separately about that.

      And lastly – a three time cancer survivor!? Wow, Pamela. Amazing and wonderful that you have such resiliency. May you stay strong, healthy and well!

      • Daryn,
        I’m always interested in an opportunity to promote peace and spoken word. Yes, please contact me.

  13. What is your name?
    -My name is Vee Nguyen.

    What is/are your official titles(s) (e.g. profession, job, etc.)?
    -I am a mathematics teacher at Thurgood Narshall Academy Public Charter School in Anacostia, DC.

    What is/are your unofficial titles(s) (e.g. other ways you identify who you are and what you do – hobbies, family, beliefs, etc.)?
    -I would like to think that I’m a nomadic eater at heart. When I’m not teaching, I trek around the world (solo) to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn about other cultures. I have one personal mantra and it goes like this: “The Universe will take care of me, if I let it.”

    If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
    -I would have dinner with Omar Zayed because he cooks and for me, let me sit and read.

    Having gone through the syllabus, reading the objectives and knowing the requirements, what are some agreements that you would like us to have as a class that will help make this course run smoothly and be successful?


    1) Be gentle with one another.
    2) Be patient & don’t talk over each other.


      • Hi Daryn,
        I just left Iceland a week ago and it’s one of the best place in the whole wide world. The people are kind and sincere. I have had so many genuine and profound conversations with Icelanders. The experience pushed me out of my comfort zone because I also had to learn to open myself up to them on an intimate level. That was a liberating feeling, to be able be my whole self with strangers from difference cultures.


        • I visited Iceland in 2002 and absolutely loved it. It was ridiculously expensive, though. I also, believe it or not, saw Bjork while walking through Reykjavik the last night I was there.

  14. 1. Hello, my name is Daryn Cambridge and I am the facilitator for this online course.

    2. I currently have several “official” titles and wear several professional hats. I am Peace Educator in Residence at American University where I teach three courses: education for international development (edu285), peace pedagogy (edu596), and a skills institute on nonviolent action. I am also Senior Director for Learning & Digital Strategies at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. And lastly, I do workshop design and facilitation work as an independent consultant/educator with several non-profits in and around the Washington, DC area.

    3. My unofficial titles include husband to my wonderful partner, Alyson; dad to an 18 month old little girl named Kaiya and a 7 year old dog named Reggie. I also like to identify myself as a cyclist (I bike to work any day that is 45 degrees or warmer), a guitar player (although I could definitely spend more time with my Taylor acoustic) and a vegan.

    4. If I could have dinner with anyone, past or present, dead or alive, I would have to say, Diane Nash. She was one of the students that led several nonviolent campaigns against racism and segregation in the United States. She first joined the nonviolent struggle during the lunch-counter sit-in campaigns in 1960 in Nashville, TN. There is a great documentary film about those campaigns called, A Force More Powerful. She also played an integral role in the Freedom Rides campaigns. There is also a great film about that campaign called, Freedom Riders. You can watch it for free online. Anyway, she played such a key role in all those struggles, but has remained quite humble. She is not in the “spotlight” that much and is somewhat less known than other civil rights leaders of that generation. I think it would be fascinating to hear about her commitment to nonviolent struggle, what it was like to be a part of those campaigns, and to be a voice for the struggle that applied pressure at all levels of authority, even the President in the United States at the time.

    5. One agreement that I would like us to have as a class is to be ever vigilant in following the due dates of the course. This learning experience is dependent on the flow and sequence of content and activities and if that flow is not maintained it will limit our ability to meet the learning objectives and get out of the course what it is designed to do. So I hope we can all agree to mark our calendars, be organized and adhere to all the due dates for the various course requirements.

    • Dear Daryn & Colleagues,

      I am a bit late but happy to be on board!!

      My name is Nona Grant and I am currently an English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School. I enjoy working with my 9th and 10th grade scholars. I am excited to get them engaged daily to become independent learners and critical thinkers.
      I am the mother of twin daughters whom I truly admire for their determination and tenacity as they journeyed through DCPS and college where they acquired their first degrees in 2012. I am commonly known as the organized teacher at work and the “neat freak” at home.
      I would like to have dinner with Mitzie Miller, the co-editor of Jet magazine. I enjoy reading her “Moments” section for each issue. She is a hard-core, realistic and creative writer. In addition her radiant smile on the page just lifts my spirit every time I open the magazine.
      I anticipate that we will be respectful to each other on issues that may develop as we collaborate through the sessions. I know that the content will be extremely beneficial to all of us and to the young people or adults that we interact with daily.

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