Listen to others. Communicate your feelings. Think before you act. The Center for Peace Education taught these and other skills for conflict resolution, peer mediation, and effective communication. The work of this organization with Greater Cincinnati schools and through their own programs helped children to learn to resolve their differences without fighting. A collection of the records of the Center for Peace Education was recently acquired by the Archives and Rare Books Library and contains training materials, photographs of events, brochures, office files, and other documentation of the work of the Center for Peace Education.
In 1979, a group of citizens came together to protest the creation of a military high school in Cincinnati. Their protests inspired them to organize the Cincinnati Coalition for Peace Education. These organizers including Wanda Coffin (Baker), Louise Gomer Bangel, John Leininger, Al Rabideau, and Mark Weidner began with $110 and started offering adult workshops on nonviolence. The organization was incorporated in 1981 and the name was changed to the Center for Peace Education (CPE) in late 1982. Prior to 1984, CPE offered a variety of programs on topics from disarmament, to the crisis in Central America to racism. As other groups were formed to tackle these topics, CPE began focusing primarily on economic conversion and introducing peace and conflict resolution curriculum into area schools. CPE’s first school program began in 1981 at the Deerfield Union School. The original curriculum, Student’s Creative Response to Conflict, was adopted from a Nyack, New York program.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, CPE established peer mediation programs in several schools and an all-comprehensive school program at Sands Montessori. In 1999, CPE began working with AmeriCorps*Vista to offer the Peace Pals program, which taught conflict management through children’s literature, and the Peace Team program, an after school leadership program for 4th through 6th graders. CPE also began coordinating a free summer Peace Camp in conjunction with Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. In the early 2000s, CPE began organizing a diversity education program for middle school children.
More information on the Center for Peace Education can be found on their website: http://www.cincinnati-peace.org/aboutcpe/whoweare.asp. A finding aid for ARB’s collection of CPE records is available at: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/archives/ead/OhCiUAR0210/
– Suzanne Maggard