Schools Peace Week 2017, what a success!

Murrays Bay Primary School
Wow, what an absolutely amazing week! Here at The Peace Foundation, we have been totally blown away by all the amazing peace activities that went on during Schools Peace Week. We are a bit sad that the week is over, but we feel so motivated by seeing all the incredible work that was carried out by teachers and students across Aotearoa New Zealand, and the globe, and feel excited to keep this wonderful momentum growing.

Schools’ Peace Week is an international event held by the Peace Foundation (Auckland, New Zealand) in August each year. This year, the topic of Schools’ Peace Week was ‘Aotearoa New Zealand: 30 years Nuclear Free’ (#nuclearfreeNZ #schoolspeaceweek) as this June, New Zealand celebrated the 30th anniversary of  its Nuclear Free Zone Act. The Nuclear Free Zone law is a cornerstone of contemporary national identity for many New Zealanders, uniting them across political, cultural and generational boundaries. The 30th anniversary of the nuclear free law is a reminder of what can be achieved when ordinary citizens stand together for peace and justice. This is a source of pride for New Zealand, especially considering today’s global political climate and the recent Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty that was adopted at the United Nations in July.

135 schools in total from across New Zealand, and from countries as far away as Australia, India, Kazakhstan, Germany, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Burundi participated in Schools Peace Week, which was designed for primary and secondary school students across the world. It was held between August 7-11 2017, the date is chosen to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

We want to say a HUGE thank you to all the schools, teachers, coordinators, students, friends and families that participated to make this week such a success and for engaging fellow students, classmates, families and communities in this work for peace. We know that New Zealand, and the world is a whole lot more peaceful due to your efforts, and a whole lot of young people now truly understand why we must abolish nuclear weapons. Ka pai!
We’ve been posting all the amazing photos and videos that have been flooding our inboxes on the Facebook page, so do check it out if you haven’t already. There are so many amazing pictures and videos there, we can’t believe what talented young people we have! Please like and share the pictures so that these positive stories get the attention they deserve 🙂
Here are a few of our favourite moments from the week (stay tuned as we’ve got piles more to share!):
Tumanako! Children’s Artworks for a Peaceful World Exhibition in Auckland, kicked off Schools Peace Week 2017. Lucy Stewart, organiser of Schools Peace Week, was the keynote speaker at the exhibition opening and spoke about the importance of engaging the next generations in our work for peace, as after all, it is their world.
Students from Ohope Beach Primary sing peace songs and make hundreds of peace banners to hang in their library.
Takeaki and Takako Kuroda, two Hibakusha from Nagasaki, speak to students at Westlake Girls High School about their experiences.
Students at Parua Bay School form a giant human peace symbol!

Paraparaumu College students forming peace!

Students at Saint Thomas of Canterbury College in Christchurch held full school events on peace subjects!
Waikato Diocesan Girls School have a peace mufti day 🙂
Schools Peace Week team with Albany Senior High School prefects after a presentation to year 13 students.
Students from Papatoetoe West Primary school with their peace cranes.
Students from Germany create a peace sun.
Students in Kazakhstan did so many amazing activities, check out our Facebook page for lots of their videos. In this one, they do a social survey of people in cities across Kazakhstan to see how they feel about nuclear weapons.
 
So a fantastic Schools Peace Week this year and we are still receiving lots of great photos and videos from schools that participated. Keep checking our Facebook page as we will continue to post these as they come in. We’ll be announcing the Schools Peace Week theme for 2018 in the coming weeks, we’re really excited about it and we think that you will be too! If you’re interested in getting involved for next year, or in any of our other peace and disarmament education programmes, get in touch with lucy@peacefoundation.org.nz
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