Posted by Bob Simmons

Last week we were privileged to hear a talk entitled “Peace Literacy” from Paul Chappell, author and international peace educator.  Our speaker shared his background leading to his interest in peace promotion.  He grew up in a multiracial family in Alabama and his youth and violent family environment lead him to develop  what he described as a “mass shooter rage”.  Nonetheless, he subsequently graduated from West Point and became a US Army Captain deployed to Iraq.  Along the way, he realized, absent from his education were  any tools to deal with his rage, trauma and alienation. (ie, peace education).

Through his personal experiences and research he learned that effective peace literacy required  an understanding of “the human condition”.  This requires a rethinking of our basic human needs, ie, turning Maslow’s hierarchy “upside down”. More basic than the physical needs are certain even more  basic needs common to all persons.  And, meeting those needs, are essential to, and enhance our success in meeting our physical needs.

Most basically we need- 1 Purpose and Meaning; 2 Belonging; 3 Self Worth; 4 Explanation (beware of incorrect explanation common in today’s politics)

Meeting these needs provide motivation and success to meet our physical needs and develop peace skills and peace competency.  Peace skills need to be taught.  Mutual respect for one another and for different cultures is required.  Listening and empathy are key.  Ft Collins Rotary Club’s newly formed Peace Fellowship is a local resource.