Tag Archives: Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers

World Storytelling Day 2017 – Local plans

World Storytelling Day has been around so long now that it has earned the right to be characterized as a “tradition.”  It began in Sweden in the  early 1990’s and has since spread to nations around the world, a world now connected by Ratatosk, the Scandinavian storytelling web.

A WSD post in 2016 describes more about the history of World Storytelling Day and the local expansion of the living tradition. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/world-storytelling-day-2016/)  The international theme for the World Storytelling Day 2017, celebrated round the world on May 20, is “Transformation.”

Again this year local storyteller and educator Larry Johnson is heading up plans for World Storytelling Day in this community.  The gathering will explore the ways in which stories transform education.  Four storytellers will share their reflections on the theme at a grand public event on Tuesday, March 21, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Landmark Center, 75 West 5th Street in downtown St. Paul 

Beverly Cottman, former high school science teacher, will share African and African American Stories that celebrate the rich heritage and culture of the African Diaspora.

Maren Hinderlie has traveled the world as a storyteller for theatrical, educational, religious events and festivals.  She has just returned from telling stories in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Larry Johnson will share his storytelling skills, particularly as they shape his recent publication, Sixty-One, his personal story told as a powerful challenge to embrace peace, end war and face the health concerns of the nation’s veterans.

Kubisa S Muzenence is a respected human rights advocate, founder of Let Africa Live, a nonprofit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The evening will also showcase the winners of the 2017 Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers Peace Essay Contest for high school juniors and seniors.

There is no charge for the evening; donations will be appreciated by the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers.

Reception and information tables open at 6:00 pm.  The program of storytelling will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Updates and any changes are posted of Facebook.

Peacemakers launch student essay challenge!

The timing is perfect – Autumn’s arrived, school’s in full-swing, young learners and their teachers are settled in, eager to press on with the learning process. What’s needed at this hour is a challenge!

The Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers is at the ready, poised to challenge junior and senior high school students. The Alliance has just announced the second annual Leslie Reindl Peace Essay Contest. Guidelines and resources are ready to ignite the creative energies of peace-loving Minnesota youth!

Interested students will have an opportunity to think and write about one of these three questions:

  • Unpacking cultural biases and creating a more inclusive society
  • Developing one’s own peacemaking activity, or
  • The Peace Literacy work of Captain Paul K. Chappell of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

The top three winners will be introduced and awarded scholarship prizes ($1,000, $750 and $500) at World Storytelling Day, March 21, 2017, at Landmark Center in Saint Paul.

More information on topics, guidelines and suggested resources, as well as contact information for classroom speakers, is now available. Entry deadline is February 28, 2017..

Leslie Reindl, for whom the contest is named, was a prominent Minnesota peace activist who died in 2014. The Peace Essay Contest reflects the efforts of her husband and fellow activist, Wilhelm Reindle whose goal it is to fulfill Leslie’s legacy by keeping alive the vision of a “true, universal, Peaceable Kingdom.”

Larry Johnson, coordinator of the Peace Essay Contest, reports – with pride – that the 2015 first award recipient, Northfield’s Lauren Wieber, “is using her award to fund a five month service project in the Dominican Republic.” In her essay, “Harmony” Lauren wrote this:

People everywhere have differing values and ideas, yet we can still co-exist. It is how we respond to differing opinions that sparks conflict….Harmony is cooperation, sympathy, and fellowship. It’s a way to approach and respond to conflict…something which can also accentuate and remind us of the beauty of all the different people of the world.

Questions? Contact Larry Johnson, laryjvfp@gmail.com or Box 27314, Golden Valley, MN 55427.

Fall features new learning options for teens

The Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (www.mapm.org) welcomes Minnesota high school juniors and seniors to start the new school year by entering the first annual Leslie Reindl Peace Essay Contest.   The intent is to encourage and assist young people to focus on the many dimensions of the theme of peace and justice. Sponsors suggest that essayists think and write about what peace and justice mean to them personally, how to implement peace and justice in their school or community, how compassion can improve the writer’s community or build a better world, or to think about the roots of conflict locally or internationally.

Three scholarships will be awarded: first prize is $1000, second $750 and third $500. Scholarship recipients will be invited to speak at the Alliance annual celebration on November 10.

Essays must be original work, 800-1000 words, word-processed, and accompanied by a statement from a teacher, youth leader or parent confirming that it is the original work of the submitter.   Submissions are due by October 15. Mail to Larry Johnson, Box 27314, Golden Valley, MN 55417. Essays may also be submitted by email. Address questions, comments or request for application forms to Larry Johnson, larryvfp@gmail.com, 612 747 3904.

Meanwhile, the annual National History Day student rush to research is launched with announcement of this year’s theme: “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History.” (http://www.nhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2016_ThemeSheet.pdf) The expansive theme sets the tone for social studies teachers and students even as it signals librarians, archivists, parents and grandparents that the floodgates are open for eager young researchers.

Planners underscore that “this theme is broad enough in scope to encourage investigation of topics ranging from local to world history and across any geographic area or time period.” This first phase obviously calls for a major brainstorming – no limits on topics to explore – “whether it is science, sports, art, travel, culture, or even specific people.” As any liberal arts major knows, the challenge is to focus! And therein lies the fun of it all!