by Marc Pilisuk
Student loan debt has surpassed one trillion dollars, exceeding the total of credit card debt in our country. Yet unlike other types of debt, student loans cannot be used as a reason for declaring bankruptcy. Many Saybrook students - like students everywhere - are adversely affected by crushing levels of student debt.
The nonprofit organization Films for Action uses the power of film to raise awareness of important social, environmental, and media-related issues not covered by the mainstream news. Their goal is to provide citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society. The Films for Action website has cataloged over 900 of the best films and videos that can be watched free online, and they have just released a list of the top 100 films inspiring a shift to a more sustainable world.
The best expression of a combined ideology and practice is what I will refer to as Gandhian nonviolence education. The disadvantage to conflict resolution education is insufficient emphasis on cultivating personal and social transformation, whereas peace education is a holistic approach but lacks cohesion. Education for nonviolence draws upon the respective strengths of the other two approaches and integrates them to form a more effective pedagogy that is also more authentically Gandhian. It combines short-term efficiency and results with long-term consideration and prevention.
In contrast with strategic nonviolence is an explicit focus on nonviolent attitudes. Principled nonviolence belongs to the philosophical lineage of virtue ethics, supporting the idea that altering character-orientation precedes, undergirds, and reinforces any desirable behavioral change. This internal change underscoring action is drastically different from using tactical nonviolence to achieve a given result. Transformation occurs internally first, as a shift in values and beliefs, before emanating outward to effect social change.
Also referred to as pragmatic or expedient nonviolence, strategic nonviolence is most closely associated with the work of political theorist Gene Sharp, specifically his 1973 Politics of Nonviolent Action. The application of strategic nonviolence includes a tactical focus aimed at accomplishing a predetermined objective, independent of a particular ethical orientation. Gandhi’s method of nonviolent action proved highly effective in the fight against the British Empire and has been adapted by Sharp and others in the struggle against corrupt power structures in subsequent decades.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and legacy. Few have experienced such widespread influence or transcended barriers of culture, class, and religion so completely. Gandhi, through his prolific writings, demonstrated the depth of his knowledge and scope of his concern. Education was one such preoccupation for Gandhi. The power of education lies in its capacity for both individual and social transformation. I believe that Gandhi would wholeheartedly agree with Nagler (2004) that the greatest enemy of education is lack of purpose. Everything Gandhi said, wrote, and did was – in the fullest sense of the word – purposeful.
Are video games able to increase awareness of human rights issues? New evidence points to games' ability to engage players in initiatives extending beyond the virtual realm. Previously, following the devastating Haitian earthquake in 2009, video game developer Zynga teamed up with the World Food Programme and raised in excess of 1.5 million dollars to donate to relief efforts. Players of Zynga’s popular Farmville and other online games were able to purchase virtual goods that would advance their online game play, using actual currency to benefit a philanthropic cause.
Written by Jordan Roberts (March of the Penguins) and narrated by Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman, “Where the Water Meets the Sky” tells the inspiring story of a group of women in a remote region of Northern Zambia who achieve the unimaginable: they learn how to make a film as a way to speak out about their lives, raising an issue that no one will discuss – the plight of young women orphaned by AIDS.
The United States Peace Index (USPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), provides a comprehensive measure of U.S. peacefulness dating back to 1991. It also provides an analysis of the socio-economic measures that are associated with peace as well as estimates of the costs of violence and the economic benefits that would flow from increases in peace. This is the second edition of the U.S. Peace Index.
“The key question isn’t ‘What fosters creativity?’ But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be now why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.” Abraham Maslow