The World Peace Game
Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war. ~ Maria Montessori
John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4’x5′ plywood board — and lets his 4th-graders solve them.
At TED 2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches — spontaneous, and always surprising — go further than classroom lectures can.
“Every game we play is different. Some games are more about social issues, some are more about economic issues. Some games are more about warfare. But I don’t try to deny the students that reality of being human.
I allow them to go there and, through their own experience, learn, in a bloodless way, how not to do what they consider to be the wrong thing. And they find out what is right their own way, their own selves.”
Musician, teacher, filmmaker and game designer, John Hunter has dedicated his life to helping children realize their full potential. His own life story is one of a never-ending quest for harmony. As a student, he studied comparative religions and philosophy while traveling through Japan, China and India. In India, inspired by Ghandi’s philosophy, he began to think about the role of the schoolteacher in creating a more peaceful world.
In 1978, at the Richmond Community High School, Hunter led the first sessions of his World Peace Game, a hands-on political simulation. The game has now been played around the world, on a four-tiered board. It’s the subject of the new film World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements.