Peace Trails, school exchanges, peace history conferences, dvds and study guides are just some of the many project that have been funded by the Christian Peace Education Fund since it was established in 1982. Set up by Pax Christi to support its own peace education work the Fund also wanted to ‘promote peace by means of meetings, lectures, seminars, the production of books and publications and lots more besides.’ All of this work will be celebrated at a gathering to be held in London on 2 November and hosted by Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, National President of Pax Christi.
In 1985 the Fund supported an exchange visit of sixth form students from Leeds on a visit to Belfast. David Jackson, the teacher who coordinated the visit said, “They emerged from their short visit with some appreciation of the reality of sectarian conflict and its effects on families… they had a more empathetic approach to all those caught up in violence”. A Cambridge Peace Trail was created in 2013 by Pax Christi member Arn Dekker. “It has been successful and many visitors to Cambridge, as well as local residents, have used it to learn about people of peace and social justice who have a connection with this city.”
The Fund has also supported four Pax Christi peace education workers, the first was actually appointed in 1980. This work has flourished over the years and today Pax Christi produces high quality on-line educational resources on themes ranging from the vocation to peacemaking, the lives of contemporary peacemakers to peacemaking and conscience in times of war. With others Pax Christi facilitates INSET training days for teachers.
Direct contact with students and teachers is an important part of this work and Pax Christi’s education worker spends an average of 40 days a year in schools, offering workshops, seminars and talks on peacemaking.
At the launch on 2 November, guests will hear Pax Christi Vice President Valerie Flessati speak of the origins and aspirations of those who established the fund and from those who have benefited from the Fund. Most recent is the Faith in Action Day held in July at St Paul’s School in Milton Keynes. As well as offering financial support for this day, Pax Christi contributed with resources and workshops.