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World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements

Thirty-one Friends School 4th graders achieved world peace at 11:49 am on Friday, March 10, 2017. At the critical moment, the giddy students representing the fictitious nations of Mulaland, Goldenville, Greenlandia, and the Ice Republic of CHEK (short for Caroline, Henry, Eva, Khalil), jumped up and down, screaming and trading high fives with their peers from the United Nations, the World Bank, legal counsel, and even the arms dealers. At the center of it all, dressed in his signature African print Dashiki, a beaming John Hunter observed the scene with a mix of pride and awe. (Watch it here). The students had spent the week playing the World Peace Game, a political simulation created by Hunter that seeks to place “all the problems of the world,” including economic, social, and environmental crises and the imminent threat of war, on a 4 ft. x 5 ft. triple-decker Plexiglas board in order to “let the children solve them.” The author of “World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements,” Hunter has watched this scene unfold hundreds of times, in cities and townships all over the world, in the 40 years since he first introduced it to a high school class in Richmond, Va. Somehow he makes each gathering of players feel that this particular iteration was the most challenging, that the stakes were the highest, and that the victory was the sweetest. For their part, the students emerge from the experience with a greater sense of their potential and their power to solve even the most complex problems as long as they work together. That is the central message of the World Peace Game: That all of us have it in our power to help bring about peace and prosperity if we are willing to listen, to compromise, and to think beyond ourselves. It’s a message familiar to Friends School students because it aligns with our Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship.
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