From Voices in the Wilderness

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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Thursday, September 26, 2002 at 11:24AM :

September 24 2002

Baghdad: Ramzi Kysia, Danny Muller
Al Fanar Hotel: 964-1-718-8007, 717-7440;

USA (Chicago): Kathy Kelly, Jeff Guntzel
Voices in the Wilderness: 773-784-8065, 773-447-3964;

Iraq Peace Team to Deliver Letters from American Students to Iraqi

Educators from the United States, on a delegation with Voices in the
Wilderness, will visit the Al-Markaziya Secondary School for Boys on
Wednesday, September 25th at 10am to deliver pen pal letters from
American students, and discuss how economic sanctions and threat of war
have affected their education.

Barbara Lubin, Former School Board President of Berkeley public schools
and Director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, stated that "the
future of any country is its children. All children need to feel safe,
secure and are entitled to a good education, not being frightened by air
raids. As American educators and citizens, we believe in teaching peace,
not teaching war. American children are reaching out to Iraqi children,
and those are important connections to make."

Children in Iraq aged twelve years or younger have known no other
experience than sanctions and war. And children in the United States
know nothing about their experience due to the lack of cross-cultural
communication. Currently no pen pal or study abroad programs exist
between Iraq and the rest of the world, leaving a huge gap in what each
group knows about the other. Delegation members will deliver letters
from students in the United States, and offer the hope for peace and
reconciliation sent by teenagers studying nonviolence.

Leah Wells, Peace Education Coordinator for the Nuclear Age Peace
Foundation and nonviolence teacher in high schools in California
reports, "The change in my students, after being taught a peace
curriculum is remarkable. My students open up to the experience of
others in the world and begin to think critically about the origin of
problems like sanctions, and more importantly they get a human face for
the Iraqi students that is not reported on the evening news. Teaching
peace is the most important thing in our world."

Concerned by the damaging effects of sanctions on the state of education
in Iraq, the group wants to learn firsthand about school conditions and
the learning environment by speaking with teachers and students. They
will report their findings and experiences during their involvement with
the Iraq Peace Team ( and upon their return to the

Educators traveling with Voices in the Wilderness are Barbara Lubin
(CA), David Smith-Ferri (CA), Bill Quigley (LA), Daniel Muller (IL) and
Leah Wells (CA).


Voices in the Wilderness

-- Lilly
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