Children for Peace

The Eighth Annual Global Peace Film Festival took place from Tuesday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Sept. 26. It honors and promotes global and community awareness of peace and environmental sustainability. It draws together a large variety of filmmakers from all over the world to give an eye-opening glimpse of the world.

On Sunday, Sept. 26, World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements played in Bush Auditorium.

An interesting short documentary, called A Circle and Three Lines, on the history of the peace sign also preceded the film. The 51-year-old symbol is a combination of the airplane formation letters ‘N’ and ‘D’ to promote the idea of nuclear disarmament. The documentary showed how long the peace symbol has been in the public domain and the equality, justice, and respect it has come to represent.

The feature film, World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements, is a breathtaking story of a teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia, John Hunter, who uses his students’ participation in his interactive World Peace Game to teach them about the world and about themselves.

The eight-week experience transformed the students from public school fourth graders to global citizens. He taught peace as an attainable goal, not as a beauty pageant dream. He divided the students into groups, including the leaders of four imaginary countries (Iceannia, Efstron, Paxland and Linderland), a United Nations, arms dealers, a world bank, and more. The students face real life issues: everything from water shortages and oil supplies to military movements and natural disasters. Rather than being intimidated, the students begged for an even greater challenge by asking to have global warming added to the game to make it even more realistic, but likewise even more difficult.

The students learned to communicate and collaborate in ways that the real United Nations would envy. The game provided students with an amazingly difficult challenge that leaders around the world face today. At times they chose military combat, and when they lost, they had to write a letter to the parents of the thousands of soldiers that were killed (something that should be mandated of world leaders today).

The students not only embraced the game and its challenges with new ideas and compromises that the world has never thought of, but they won. The students learned that we share a common goal of taking care of each other. At the end of the documentary Hunter said, “I hope they put me out of a job.” He hopes that the students earned enough confidence and life lessons in that one game that they do not need his teaching anymore. The story can help teach us all.

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