Imagine our young people empowered with vision, hope and effective tools for creating peace. Imagine schools where young people learn, along with Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, the fourth vital “r”, Relationships, practicing how to communicate honestly and compassionately and resolve conflicts nonviolently. Imagine our schools and classrooms as safe and caring communities, fostering understanding, respect and cooperation. Imagine young people, our future leaders, with the skills necessary to create organizations, businesses, governments, and a world where everyone’s needs matter and can be met.
This is the dream that launched the first NVC Educators Institute in Olympia, Washington, in the summer of 2001, and the one that has kept us putting on Institutes each summer since. The first Educators Institute was sponsored by CNVC’s Education Project (2000-2002) and received financial support for team meetings and teacher scholarships from New Earth Foundation, Threshold Foundation and individuals throughout the CNVC network. A volunteer team of 10-20 CNVC trainers and teachers collaborated on the design and facilitation of the first Institute and met with 25 teachers from various parts of the U.S. to immerse ourselves in processes and activities that deepen the consciousness of Nonviolent Communication and that strengthen the vital skills of relationship and peacemaking. The five days were filled with learning through play, movement, music, deep sharing, and laughter and at the end, teachers returned home with new hope, new and sharpened tools, and a network of support they can call upon throughout the school year.