We are honored to announce
The Teaching Peace Conference at Oyster River High
September 21, 2006, the United Nations International
The event will be held at the Kelsey Center,
and Conference Center, on Rte 103 in
Last year, the Greater Seacoast Area Bahá’í community instituted an annual peace award in the name of turn-of-the-century heroine Sarah J. Farmer, born in Dover, New Hampshire in 1847, and founder of the Green Acre Conferences in Eliot. Farmer was dedicated to the promotion of peace and hoisted the first peace flag in the world in 1894, on the grounds at Green Acre. There, on the banks of the Piscataqua River, she brought together people of diverse nationalities and faiths to discuss important ideas and ideals so that conditions for world peace would be fostered. Her example continues to inspire many people, both within and outside of the Bahá’í community.
This award is given each year on the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21st, and recognizes the contributions of Greater Seacoast area individuals and groups who strive actively to promote, through local action, world peace and understanding among nations and among members of the human family. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee received the 2005 Award for their noteworthy efforts in mobilizing organizations and individuals to learn the history of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty and to reflect on its implications for peace-making in the 21st Century.
Regarding this year’s recipient of the award, all those involved with the 2005 and 2006 Teaching Peace Conferences at Oyster River High School have, like Sarah J. Farmer, demonstrated a deep commitment to bringing together individuals and groups of diverse backgrounds and ages, with a focus on teaching and learning about peace-making.
The power of the conference was affirmed by Governor Lynch proclaiming April 15 - 22, 2005 Teaching Peace Week in New Hampshire.
The award event will include music by local musicians including Charlie Jennison, Marty Quinn, Leona Hosack, and members of Rock My Soul. All are welcome to attend, and there is no admission fee. Teaching Peace T-shirts, a fundraiser for the annual conference in Durham, will be available for purchase, along with CD’s by the musicians performing that evening.
DURHAM — Oyster River High School's annual "Teaching Peace" conference is the winner of this year's Sarah J. Farmer Peace Award, sponsored by the Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, Maine.
"We're delighted," said Kay Morgan, an English teacher at ORHS and a co-organizer of the conference. "It raises the profile of the conference in terms of making it more visible to the Seacoast area."
However, Morgan said she and Salazar never thought the conference would win an award.
"We just started this because we thought it was something important. It's nice that people realize we're making an effort to improve peace education in the Seacoast and beyond," she said.
The conference began in 2005. Morgan took over teaching a peace studies class from Salazar in 2003, and the two discussing with their colleagues ways to "create a culture of peace" in schools.
Morgan said the 2007 conference is in the early planning stages. The conference is "sort of like a grass roots" effort and has little funding, which means Morgan and Salazar rely on people they know in the peace movement to serve as presenters.
"It feels wonderful to receive this recognition and to be able to present what we do to the public and to get more involvement," said Melinda Salazar, one of the conference's co-organizers.
For next year's conference, Salazar would like to see more peace educators and scholars share their stories and life experiences.
"We're very excited about the possibility of increased dialogue and building alliances and partnerships, including growing our membership," Salazar said.
It's "fairly unusual" for a high school to have a peace studies class, Morgan said, but it's an important addition to the curriculum.
"I approach the peace studies class from the idea that peace is a positive concept, not just the absence of war, or absence of conflict," she said. Students study the lives of Nobel Peace Prize winners, non-violent movements and other subjects as part of the class.
"It's wonderful for the school to be recognized for something like this. So often positive things in education go without being heralded," said ORHS principal Laura Rogers. "It's great to have an initiative starting at the teaching level that reaches out and embraces the community and students in that community."
The award is named for Sarah J. Farmer, a Dover native and founder of the Green Acre Conferences in Eliot. Farmer, who was born in 1847, brought together people from across the world at her conferences to discuss ways to foster world peace.
The award is given out each year on Sept. 21, which is designated by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee received the award in 2005 for its efforts in educating people on the history of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty and its peacemaking implications.
Marty Quinn, a member of the committee that hands out the award, said the conference fit perfectly into the Green Acre Baha'i School's criteria for promoting peace, diversity and community building.
"It involved educators, it involved people who are active in the peacemaking scene, it involved artists, students and parents," Quinn said. "It looks like it was a very big success this year."
For more information about the Teaching Peace conference, visitwww.teachingpeaceconference.org.