Bridges of Peace & Hope

What are the Goals of Bridges of Peace & Hope?

The goals of Bridges of Peace & Hope are to enable young people and teachers to make connections with others around the world in ways that will allow them to:

  • Expand their awareness and understanding of each other.
  • Express their thoughts and feelings through writing and other forms of creative artistic expression.
  • Participate in projects that will include cultural exchanges, build relationships, and provide assistance to individuals and groups in need.

What is a “Bridge of Peace & Hope”?

A bridge of peace & hope is a means of expressing a feeling or idea, or changing a situation in a way that connects people and increases harmony and goodwill. A bridge of peace can also be an act or expression that lessens hardship, or troubling thoughts and feelings for others.

Another way to think of this is -- Bridges of peace & hope are ideas, artistic expressions, words and actions that allow individuals or groups to “cross over” gaps or barriers that have kept them separated in some way from other individuals or groups. This crossing over may me mental, emotional or physical. Bridges of peace may lead to new and deeper understandings of other people and cultures.
What are Some Examples of Bridges of Peace & Hope?

A bridge of peace & hope can take many different forms. It can be a simple spontaneous act, a willingness to listen thoughtfully, a well planned project, or any other attempt to make a connection that will produce understanding and goodwill. The following are examples of bridges of peace & hope:

  • Writing a letter to a “pen pal” in another country.
  • Participating in a food or clothing drive to help disaster victims or homeless people.
  • Learning to say some words and phrases in another language.
  • Learning a song in another language, or a dance from another culture
  • Creating a song or work of art that expresses your feelings and concerns
  • Reading about people and places that are unfamiliar to you
  • Welcoming a newcomer to your school or neighborhood
  • Visiting another country to learn about its culture
  • Defending someone who is being treated unfairly
  • Writing a story or essay that tells about things we can do to help others
  • Starting a “Peacemakers” club
  • Having a Bridges of Peace art festival or poetry reading
  • Visiting a nursing home or assisted living residence
  • Submitting your writing, poetry, art, or music to the Bridges of Peace web site
  • Studying the ideas, writings, and actions of peacemakers like Ghandi, Dorothy Day, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela

What is the Structure of Bridges of Peace & Hope?

Bridges of Peace & Hope will include three components or elements that will overlap and intersect. Included here are brief descriptions of each of these components.

1. THE WEB SITE

The website will be an interactive, state of the art platform that will enable young people to express themselves, and gain a deeper understanding of others whose cultures or living conditions may be misunderstood by, or unfamiliar to them. Students and teachers can visit the website to post and view poetry, stories, songs and other forms of artistic expression. The content featured will offer a portal into the respective backgrounds, traditions, and experiences of the contributors. The website will also be a forum for young people to communicate their feelings, hopes, dreams, concerns, and ideas regarding what we can do to work together to create a more peaceful, healthy and just future.


2. THE RESOURCE COMPONENT

“Bridges of Peace & Hope” will produce materials, strategies, and lesson plans that will enable teachers and students to explore topics relevant to pursuing the goals of expanding awareness and understanding, encouraging expression, and promoting actions that reach out to others to create “bridges” of peace and goodwill. Materials may include recorded music and video, thought provoking photographs and artwork, and written and artistic expressions created by students, artists and or teachers. Recommended books, magazines, and websites will be included when appropriate. We will also offer suggestions for activities that can be done with students, and provide topics and questions for starting discussions and encouraging students to respond creatively.


3. SERVICE PROJECTS

Working together young people, teachers, and the advisory group will design, develop, and participate in projects that will make a tangible difference in the lives of children in need of assistance. To enhance the global aspect of the initiative our first projects will focus on helping needy children in Africa.

Whenever a project is undertaken the groups involved will document the process they go through to implement their plan. Project conception, development, implementation, and outcomes will be reported about on the web site through journal entries, photographs and stories created by students, teachers and project coordinators.

With the metaphor of a “Bridge” in mind one of the goals of the projects will be to build relationships that permit individuals and groups on both sides of the bridge to cross over and learn from and help each other. This key element of exchange is fundamental to the Bridges of Peace & Hope mission. The human exchange of ideas, artistic expression and services will be at the heart of all our efforts.