WWAC Youth Outreach – The BUHS PeaceJam Origin Story
On May 17, 2022 WWAC brought Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams to address Brattleboro Union High School Students. (See Reformer article here). With support from a new ‘PeaceJam Task Force’ at WWAC, Williams, a member of the Windham World Affairs Council, launched a PeaceJam ‘Ambassadors Program’ at BUHS. PeaceJam connects students to issues of peace, social justice, and nonviolence through the study of the life and work of Nobel Peace Laureates. The program introduces students to the personal, social, and institutional contexts that shape today’s world, builds core competencies in altruism and compassion, respect and inclusion, as well as global citizenship and civic engagement. The ultimate goal is to inspire the next generation of Nobel Peace Laureates.
“I firmly believe that anybody can make a difference in this world if they choose to work with others toward a greater good. We look forward to working with BUHS students to help them identify their passions and support their work toward making this world a better place for all life,” Williams said.
Jody Williams received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on a global treaty to eliminate landmines worldwide. She grew up in Brattleboro and attended the Green Street School where she says standing up to a bully helped shape the rest of her life. She graduated from the University of Vermont, the School for International Training and Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. She recently moved back to the Brattleboro area where her mother and most of her family still live.
A plaque outside the Green Street School pegged to a Brattleboro Words Trail audio story on Williams provides insight into Williams and her ties to Brattleboro.
These groups and a growing roster of individuals will work through the PeaceJam Task Force to support BUHS students and faculty to increase community mentorship and cultivate activism, hope and participation in a vibrant global movement. To learn more or to become involved, or if you need help to access the event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUHS PeaceJam students will continue to use the Google-backed ‘Billion Acts of Peace’ service platform that supports and highlights student activism across the planet and creates learning relationships across borders. Students participating in the Program create their own service learning projects to address pressing issues in their communities as part of the Billion Acts campaign.
Excerpt from her memoir – “My Name is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize”
“Human security requires directing our resources toward providing for the basic needs of human beings so they are secure in their daily lives. For too long, security has been defined in terms of the security of the state, not of individuals. We call it national defense. The US spends more on its military and weapons systems than all of the other nations of the world combined. The billions and billions of our tax dollars that go to weapons systems and other aspects of ‘defense’ is money that will never be spent on our public schools, or on an affordable health care system that gives everyone access to health care, or on creating jobs with dignity. Money for war will never be used to fight poverty and other social ills that tear apart the socioeconomic fabric of a country and often are fundamental causes of armed conflict. We have to change that kind of thinking.”