Here in Japan, universities started a new academic year a few weeks ago, with online teaching. I teach English at a few universities in the area, and have started two peace related projects with my students (whom I have yet to meet in person!).
The first one, Peace Run Project, is with 120 students at Kansai University, Osaka. As a start, last week, the students watched the Peace Run’s promotion video on the global homepage and answered a few comprehension questions. One of the questions was: What did you like the most about the video? Here are some of the answers I received:
“I liked people’s smiles in the video. They made me happy. I felt that everyone wished for ‘world peace’”.
“I like the performance of the students in Zambia. Its words are very strong. I like Sri’s speech too for the same reason.”
“One of my favorite points in the video is that many countries in the world seem to be connected because the videos taken in different countries are streaming continuously.”
“I felt the organization respects different cultures.”
“I liked children’s smiles and magnificent landscapes.”
“I’m so amazed because I watched the world become one through the event.”
This week, they are watching two more videos-Kyoto Peace Run 2018, and Start of European Peace Run this year, and answering a few more comprehension questions. (You can see me in action on Zoom in the screenshots).
The second project is Peace Poetry Reading, with 40 students at Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto. With these art students, I electronically send assignments twice each week, and they send their work back. As an opening activity each time, I give them two aphorism cards by Peace Run Founder Sri Chinmoy, ask them to choose one and translate into Japanese. These short poems are full of positive, empowering messages, which I hope will help my students nurture peace in their everyday lives.