How to Use the Architects of Peace Site

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Using the Site in Peace Studies
  2. Supplemental Ways to Use this Site
    1. Issue-oriented Studies in Ethics
    2. First Year Composition
    3. Women's Studies
    4. Political Science
    5. Rhetorical Analysis
    6. Communications and Media Studies
    7. Photographic Critique
    8. Environmental Philosophy
    9. Studies in Popular Culture
    10. History/International Relations

Introduction: Using the Site in Peace Studies

The Architects of Peace website contains 73 discreet lesson plans primarily geared toward collegiate freshmen and sophomores, but easily adaptable to high school juniors and seniors. A lesson plan has been prepared for each featured architect, the core of which is the composition of an essay, usually in the three-to-five page range, but expandable to meet course requirements. Preliminary research for these essays is primarily internet-based, with some links being provided within the lesson plans themselves.

Each lesson plan follows the same basic format, using a five-step explication in the following order: prepare, read, explore, write, and expand. The explication is followed by an additional resource students may find to be helpful in their research.

This website has been optimized for class projects where individual students will choose the area they wish to investigate on an architect-by-architect basis. This model allows students to pursue research in areas of greater personal interest. It is recommended that a copy of the Listing of Architects by Issue [link] be distributed to all students prior to assigning them the task of selecting an architect upon which they want to base their research.

If instructors wish their students to give reports on their research after the papers have been completed, it might be advisable to put together a sign-up sheet prior to the beginning of research so that students select the greatest possible diversity of architects.

Students should be encouraged not to view their papers as reports about the architects themselves, but rather as dialogues where they are participating in discourse in which the architect has also been participating. It should be made clear that the purpose of this website is not to "canonize" those who have been designated "Architects of Peace," but rather to enter into the discourse of Peace Studies with a diverse and divergent set of personalities, not all of whom would agree on how to go about the process of making peace, or even about how to define peace.

The Architects of Peace project has been created on a somewhat free-flowing definition of peace, a definition that is purposely expansive and that refuses to view peace narrowly as the mere absence of warfare. Inclusive in this definition are concerns about human rights, economic justice, interpersonal tolerance, environmental sustainability, and even health care. As such, it might be said that we've elected to take an "upstream approach" to Peace Studies, where part of the peacemaking process is to eliminate potential conflict at its source, rather than merely to respond to quarrels after they've developed.

To assist students in understanding an upstream approach to Peace Studies, instructors may wish to relate the story of the hero who, in the course of wandering about the countryside, came upon a crowd of disconcerted citizens gathered on the bank of a river. When the hero inquired as to the nature of their distress, they pointed out a victim being swept downstream. The hero jumped into the water and rescued the victim, but no sooner were they safely ashore than a second victim was swept into view. This person, also, was rescued by the hero. However, when a third victim floated down the river, the hero began to journey upstream. "What kind of hero are you," the crowd jeered, "if you fail to rescue the third victim?" "Rescue the victim yourself," the hero replied. "I'm going upstream to find out why all these people end up in the water."

Supplemental ways to use this site:

Although the Architects of Peace project was originally envisioned as an exercise in Peace Studies at the undergraduate and secondary levels, it has purposely been designed to accommodate interdisciplinary needs across the curriculum. Faculty engaged in the following areas will find the Architects of Peace website particularly useful as a resource for class projects:

  1. Issue-Oriented studies in Ethics. The Listing of Architects by Issue [link] matches the various architects of peace with the issues upon which they've focused. Some of the architects tend to concentrate on individual issues, while others branch out into numerous elements of the peacemaking process. The Listing of Architects by Issue [link] provides an alternative way for classes to access Architects of Peace material by focusing research on an area of particular personal interest rather than on the accomplishments of a single individual.

  2. First Year Composition. The exercises proposed in the "write" section of each lesson plan were designed by a specialist in collegiate Composition and Rhetoric courses who currently teaches at Santa Clara University. They can be used as one of the regular composition projects assigned within a syllabus where the emphasis is placed on working in multiple genres in response to rhetorical needs. Without modification, it would probably best fit into a two-week assignment sequence where the first week is devoted to student research, both in terms of choosing the architect about whom they wish to write and in terms of researching the issue in accordance with the lesson plan, and where the second week is devoted to the composition/revision process. It is suggested that instructors who wish to use Architects of Peace as a class project develop their own assignment sheet, specifying such items as due dates and required length of papers in accordance with an appropriate level of rigor for the individual course.

  3. Women's Studies. Twenty eight of the seventy-four portraits included in the original volume of Architects of Peace were of women, ranging from women heads of state to feminist activists. While to some this ratio, slightly better than one-in-three, might represent progress given that issues of war and peace have traditionally been considered a male domain, to others it could indicate that gender equality still has a long way to go in the world arena. Bella Abzug's essay in this volume states that, "…men support our quest for quality on the more narrowly defined women's issues but seem much less willing to examine critically the premises of society and governmental decisions in the same way that women are unafraid to do." How might women examine the premises of society differently than men? Class projects and individual research can be structured around the question of whether women tend to approach the peacemaking process differently than men. Is there any evidence that women heads of state tend to go to greater lengths to avoid war than men in similar positions of leadership?

  4. Political Science. Seven former heads of states were included in the original publication of Architects of Peace. They are: Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, the first woman to head the government of an Islamic state; Jimmy Carter, thirty-ninth president of the United States of America; F.W. de Klerk of South Africa, who lifted the ban on the African National Congress; Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union who introduced the reforms of glasnost; Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Israel; Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of the United Kingdom and Europe's first woman prime minister; and Lech Walesa, Poland's first noncommunist president after 40 years of communist rule. While each of these former leaders met with considerable success in terms of their ability to influence social policy, they all met with formidable opposition from within their own governments in terms of their political agendas. Divide the class up into seven teams, and assign each team the task of researching the political frustrations encountered by each of these former heads of state, focusing especially on international relations and efforts to build enduring peace. After each team has submitted its report to the rest of the class, identify points of convergence in the findings, and draw conclusions about top-down introduction of change in political systems.

  5. Rhetorical Analysis. Assign students the task of analyzing how a select group of the architects go about propagating their issues. For example, students might analyze the short essays provided in the individual architect pages, selecting one architect from each of the following categories in the Listing of Architects by Issue[link]: peace through development, peace through economic justice, peace through science, peace through religion, and peace through the arts. Students can be asked to organize their analysis following an Aristotelian matrix by first analyzing how the architect's character shapes the argument (ethos), and then by analyzing the emotional appeal of the rhetoric (pathos) before finally analyzing the logic of the appeal being made (logos.)

  6. Communications and Media Studies. From rap music to Saturday morning cartoons, mass media are often criticized as making the world a more violent place. And yet various media can be powerful tools in developing sentiments of peace, as demonstrated by Steven Spielberg's movie Schindler's List or Robert Redford's The Milagro Beanfield War. In their Architects of Peace essays, these two men offered divergent critiques of the impact media has on peacemaking, with Spielberg pointing out that over 1,250,000,000 high school students had viewed Schindler's List, while Redford stated, "When I look about and see what the information age has wrought, I see a culture rich in materials for pleasure and excess communication but poor in depth of feeling and imagination-dull and flat and rich." What is the social impact of mass media on public awareness of the issues leading to war? What is the potential for digital media, such as this website, to raise consciousness in mass culture about issues of peace? A possible class project for media studies classes would be to evaluate the Architects of Peace website, as a formal study, and make recommendations as to how we might more effectively enter into public discourse on peace. (We'd love to see the results of such studies, by the way. Send your findings along to [])

  7. Photographic Critique. Michael Collopy is renowned for his ability to capture personality within his portraiture. Class projects combing analysis of the technical and aesthetic aspects of his work with biographical information regarding the architects themselves should be instructive. Have students pay close attention to the inclusion of the architect's hands in the portrait, the direction and nature of the architect's gaze, as well as to elements of composition and lighting. For in-class critique of the portraits, teachers are encouraged to compile a digital slide show, using programs such as PowerPoint, made up of images contained in this site and relating them to the short biographies provided for each of the architects.

  8. Environmental Philosophy. Nine of the Architects of Peace (Michel Cousteau; David Brower; Paul Hawken; Leonard George; Maya Lin; Jane Goodall; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; Theo Colborn; Richard Leakey) are primarily concerned with ecological issues such as sustainability and environmental justice. Others, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, are engaged in environmental causes as secondary concerns to projects in economic or political development. Few people would disagree that the environmental consequences of modern warfare can be extreme, especially considering such weapons as the napalm bomb, or the strategic use of chemical defoliants such as "Agent Orange." How do issues of peace interrelate with environmental issues beyond that, however? Is the reverence for life that causes people to turn away from war any different than the reverence for life that causes people to appreciate the sanctity of the environment? Class projects and individual research can be structured around the project of developing a hypothetical foundation where issues of peace correspond to issues of environmental concern. Specifically, what additional values are shared within the two areas of concern? In what ways are the two areas interdependent? Are there issues of economic development that impact both areas of concern equally? How will solutions in one area have effects in the other area?

  9. Studies in Popular Culture. Artists, writers, composers, performers and others involved in the fine arts are instrumental in developing a culture of peace. Notable among the Architects of Peace involved in these areas are Maya Lin, Carlos Santana, Joan Baez, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Robert Redford, Ted Turner and Steven Spielburg. Although these personalities are intensely committed to the cause of peace, many critics would argue that the momentum of popular culture is directed toward glorifying violence rather than non-violence. Is this the case? Class projects and individual research can be structured around comparing the efforts of various Architects of Peace listed above with those of counterparts who might be seen as promoting a culture of violence. After making such comparisons, is it possible to hypothesize whether popular culture is moving toward or away from violence?

  10. History/International Relations. Seventeen of the Architects of Peace have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize: Linus Pauling, Jimmy Carter, Jody Williams, Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandella, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, Oscar Arias Sanchez, the Dalai Lama, F. W. de Klerk, Henry Kissinger, Mairead Corrigan Maquire, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Shimon Peres, José Ramos-Horta, Lech Walesa, and Desmond Tutu. The Nobel Peace Prize is an award that makes its own history, and a study of how it has been bestowed over the years will reveal what conflicts have been of greatest global concern. Class projects can be structured around the question of what worthy persons have not been awarded the prize, and in what ways their contributions may have been more significant than those who have been signaled out. Likewise, some who have become laureates-or for that matter, who have been designated "Architects of Peace"-might be less worthy of the honor than others. Assign small groups that task of researching various decades when the award has been bestowed, requiring them to construct a revisionist listing on a year-by-year basis of those upon whom the award should have been bestowed. The revisionist lists can be presented to the entire class, along with rationales for the new selections.