A Yorkshire school is the first in England to launch a new curriculum devised by Nobel Peace Laureates, it was announced today.
In the week that Aung Sang Suu Kyi leaves UK shores, The Mount School in York’s sixth form (College) launched the curriculum promoted by the Peacejam Foundation as part of their Global Thinking Syllabus.
As the UK’s only all girls Quaker day and boarding school, The Mount is well known in York for charity and community works as well as academic excellence. The School has been actively involved with the Colorado-based international Peacejam Foundation since 2006, and through Peacejam, recently took a contingent to see the Dalai Lama speak in Manchester.
The proposal to introduce Peacejam’s programme into A- and AS-Level studies was championed by the School’s Head of College, Jo Hayward, and Head of History, Helen Snelson. They attended the annual Peacejam Conference earlier this year where Peacejam UK launched their educational programme for Peace. So far, The Mount School is the only school in England to formally adopt the initiative.
“So much of what we already do at The Mount chimes with the Peacejam curriculum,” explains Ms Hayward. “Our girls were so inspired by meeting Nobel Peace Laureate Adolpho Perez Esquivel (1980) and learning his story that it became self-evident, really, that adopting the Peacejam Ambassador’s Programme into our Global Thinking Syllabus made perfect sense.”
“Peacejam has given me a unique perspective and insight into the lives of Nobel Peace Laureates and how we can use their inspiring stories in everyday life,” said Alice Elliot, a student at The Mount School.
Helen Snelsen adds, “The curriculum will inform our girls about global issues, using the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as inspiring examples of people who have peacefully engaged in the most difficult problems facing our world. The aim is to inform them of the issues, give them the necessary skills to engage in action, and – this is part that most chimes with The Mount School’s ethos – give them the confidence to know that peaceful action lies well within their abilities. As Jodie Williams (Nobel Peace Prize, 1997) says, emotion without action is irrelevant.”
Principal Julie Lodrick said “The Mount School is delighted to announce this initiative to our girls and their parents. Our girls will begin their careers in a globalised world that has been reshaped by the internet. The UK of tomorrow will be heavily influenced by forces that lie far beyond our borders. Their generation will need leaders and influencers with multicultural and international skills to solve intractable problems that our generation has simply never faced. Our Global Thinking Syllabus at The Mount School gives our girls the necessary tools to develop a mindset where they can act locally and think globally.”
Jo Hayward concludes “Our School will see many benefits for introducing this Peacejam curriculum, which feeds into our A-Level and AS-Level studies. Based on a triangle of education, inspiration and action, the curriculum aims to encourage our girls to create and implement their own Global Call to Action Projects, becoming creative leaders who are committed to solving the most difficult problems facing our world.”
“In the short term, their Peacejam work will be a real feather in the cap for our girls as they apply for places in tertiary education and via UCAS. In the longer term, their work will give our girls a vital sense of a shared humanity that transcends cultural and national divisions. The skills and confidence they will gain will help them to achieve peace by identifying what it takes to get results, to build bridges, to organise, make contacts and have the courage to take action in a globalised world.”
The Mount School currently boasts five living Dames among their alumni. With the introduction of the Peacejam curriculum, the School appears confident that number will only rise.
The Mount will host its own Peacejam Slam at the School in October of this year. The guest speaker is Rahab Maina, the human rights defender from Kenya, who has staged a long fight for the rights of exploited workers on Kenyan farms supplying fruit and flowers to first world supermarket chains.