A big benefit of sprucing up the school’s front yard was the chance to move the Peace Pole to a spot right by the front door. In its former location, the pole stood often unnoticed, even by the little children who snuck a walk round the pavers surrounding its little garden. Now the pole and its message are front and center.
The move also provided impetus to spruce up the pole, as its panels had weathered and deteriorated over time. And that led us to think about which eight languages we would have on our pole. (The Peace Pole folk offer over 150, from Albanian to Zuni, plus special orders.)
Rather than simply replicate the original panels or pick some new ones at random, we decided that this was an opportunity to teach about peacemakers. So one panel is Italian, the native tongue of Maria Montessori, and the other seven the native languages of Nobel Peace laureates. The peacemakers honored by our panels are:
Dalai Lama - Tibetan
Mahatma Gandhi - Hindi
Dag Hammarskjold - Swedish
Martin Luther King, Jr. - English
Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu- Xhosa
Maria Montessori - Italian
Mother Teresa – Albanian
Albert Schweitzer – French
Some of these names will be familiar to our students, others not, They comprise a remarkably diverse group: a Tibetan holy man, an Indian lawyer, a Swedish diplomat, an American minister, a South African political activist, an Anglican bishop, an Italian physician, an Albanian nun and a missionary from Alsace-Lorraine. Individually and collectively, their names speak of lives led in service to others and to the cause of peace.
We intend for our students to learn about these remarkable people and, hopefully, to be inspired by them in their own lives.
And we invite you to pause by our newly refreshed Peace Pole and reflect on its message. As we begin this season of lights it is good to remember that we each have the potential, in ways big and small, to be a force for peace.