Peace Education & The Book of Forgiving

Published October 15, 2015

2015 Delegation, Entry #13: 9/24/15


Michael Kuany’s long-standing vision for conflict transformation and for bringing peace curriculum to education gained some ground during this 2015 Teacher Training. Throughout the training we talked about nonviolent communication and strategies for conflict transformation in the classroom.

In addition to the conflict transformation curriculum, Paul also led daily discussions on The Book of Forgiving. I’d like to include his reflection on this time here:

“The sharing of the book and subject of forgiveness was well received by the 45 teachers. In their assessments at the end of the training, the most frequent response to what helped them the most and what they will take away from the training was this material on forgiveness. What was most helpful was the section on “The Revenge Cycle” and “The Forgiveness Cycle.” It helped them to understand the value of forgiveness and the choice with its consequences they make when they decide to forgive or take revenge. The “fourfold path” journaling exercises were also very helpful as many began to tell their story (and write it down) for the first time. I could sense the healing process beginning for many of them. Perhaps the most beneficial time for me personally was our discussion time each day. They had many genuine questions about the material, their situation, and the reality of forgiveness in their lives. Some questions I could answer and others I couldn’t. But I enjoyed the dialogue and interaction we had in the discussion times. At the end of the training, the most common question they had was, ‘How can others hear about this message of forgiveness?’ It was a good opportunity for me to encourage them to take what they had learned and are learning and share it with others. I believe that the ability to forgive and be forgiven is one of the main ways South Sudan can overcome its devastating past and move on to healing, reconciliation and growth. I greatly appreciate Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho for their openness in writing the book and sharing it with others. The principle and practice of mutual forgiveness will impact South Sudan as well as the rest of the world. It was a privilege and honor to use it in our training and to see it begin to take root in other’s lives.”  -Paul Esswein


As I think of these 45 teachers, I can imagine the many students that each of them influences–and I feel hope that this experience of soaking in the powerful ideas of forgiveness and conflict transformation will be passed on to these children, and perhaps even to those beyond them.

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