THE YOUTH FOR GLOBAL AWARENESS Conference, held at the University of British Columbia last May, was attended by 180 students from around British Columbia. It was so successful that 50 students have volunteered in planning next year's conference.
Mike Zlotnik, Director of Professional Development for the B.C. Teachers' Federation said of the Conference: "I learned that high school students are capable of far more than our curriculum has ever been designed to give. I think they're ready to lead us."
One of the youth leaders who spoke to the Conference was Seth Klein of Montreal's SAGE (Students Against Global Extinction). I later invited him to speak at the Annual General Meeting of the B.C. Teachers for Peace Education where he called on teachers to hand responsibility to youth and to democratize our schools. He encouraged the teaching of civic education, education about the history of the arms race and about various historic peacemakers, and requested a focus on the U.N. and cross-cultural studies. Seth also informed us of the SAGE-UNSSOD III project. On their behalf, I contacted Island media through our activist network to encourage coverage of the student perspective, live from New York during the U.N. conference. By the way,Seth, Des, Max, and Alison are to be featured in the soon-to-be released NFB film by Seth's mom, Bonnie Klein of Studio D. The film covers their amazing 1987 Youth Disarmament Tour.
Another film about students and peace was recently brought to my attention by its producer, G.K. Stedman, a retired physicist living in New Denver, B.C. The 25-minute VHS videotape , Students Want Peace, features students "wrestling with questions of research, inquiry, organizing and conducting meetings, public speaking, political literacy and community relations," writes Mike Zlotnick of the BCTF in a review. It's an "excellent way to get a perspective on social and intellectual skills and understandings" of students, and is appropriate at the elementary level. Cassettes available from: Project Ploughshares, Conrad Grebel College, Waterloo, Ont. N2L 3G6.
Recently, Simon Fraser University held a Summer Institute on Global Education, with a public lecture series featuring the likes of journalist Gwynne Dyer and Svend Robinson, M.P. Global Education is an umbrella under which peace might find a way into the "mainstream," and appears to represent a new wave of integrated education.
Lastly on the Peace Education front, the remarkable children of the tiny community of Lasqueti Island, led by their principal Steve Hamilton (also a BCTF Peace Associate) were on the road in June during Environment Week, touring a play collaboratively written by and starring the Lasqueti children.
"Seven Smooth Stones" was a magical look at four possible futures ahead, an exploration of the children's hopes and fears. The first three possibilities: "The Holocaust," "Technofuture," and "The Last Forest," were bleak visions of the natural order.
Still on the Islands (my focus), the Vancouver Island Network for Disarmament has initiated a Ship and Sub Alert Kit to encourage activists around the islands to conduct a local media/publicity/political blitz whenever a ship enters Esquimalt harbor at Victoria or CFMETR at Nanoose. Alerted by the extensive islands phone centres, the 30 member groups will continue their highway sign campaign to warn motorists of nuclear danger but will now augment this by lobbying and publicity. In a related matter, VIND has endorsed Operation Dismantle's campaign to Sink the Subs.
ZEROING IN ON NANOOSE ACTIVISM, MEMBERS of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign "shelled" CFMETR will oyster shells last May, mimicking the shelling by the Canadian navy of Kalo'olawe in Hawaii during the RIMPAC naval exercises.
Last June, NCC activist Brian Mills, on trial for civil disobedience at Nanoose, became the first to be able to present a case in court, despite three years of protests and the arrest of over 45 people during that time.
Across the water from Nanoose in Vancouver, End the Arms Race has produced a letter-writing kit on the White Paper that's intended create national pressure on parliamentarians. Copies are available to peace groups from: The White Paper Defence Committee, End the Arms Race Coalition, 1708 W. 16th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6J 2M1.
Readers are also reminded of the international Shell Boycott to pressure Royal Dutch Shell to stop supplying fuel to the South African police and military, and aiding the South African economy. Shell Canada credit cards can be cut and returned to Shell, Box 7000, North York, Ont. M3C 9Z9.
Members of the NCC action committee gave a non-violence workshop in June in Saskatoon to people from 20 countries at the International Congress on Uranium Mining. p