"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."

Peace Week

For nearly two decades, Friends Seminary has set aside a week devoted to the study of the Quaker testimony of Peace. Affectionately known as Peace Week, this observance calls the whole community to reflect on Peace as it relates to a pressing global or national challenge. Through classroom activities, division-wide programs and all-school events, students, parents/guardians, faculty and administrative staff deepen their understanding of core values, sense of social and environmental responsibility and skills for bringing about a world that ought to be. Punctuated annually by an evening speaker, Peace Week brings to campus an intellectual and moral leader of great influence whose visit catalyzes deeper reflection and conversation.
Peace Week 2021 centers on the theme of Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture & Identity. It’s a powerful thing to listen to another’s story, to consider their lived experiences and how these moments have helped shape their humanness.

Considering Friends Seminary’s call to peace, equity and justice and the Quaker testimony of equality, we feel the most fitting response as a community is to engage in education, dialogue and action toward racial literacy and dismantling racism. Through a variety of activities and visits from speakers, we gain perspective from our peers and examine our role, both individual and collective, in bringing about a just and equitable future. This practice has been at the heart of what visiting speakers, Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi, have been doing for the past seven years, documenting tales of race, culture, and identity in order to help change the ways racism is discussed — or not discussed — in the country’s K-12 classrooms.

“We are born into these racially divided worlds, so it’s never too early to learn, to think more about who we are and our world,” Guo said. “Maybe you grew up in an all-white town in Wyoming or maybe you grew up in a racially divided community in Chicago. No matter where you live in the United States, no matter who you are, race has been relevant to your life.”
Because of that, Guo and Vulchi believe that it’s important not only to be able to identify and talk about race and racism, but to acquire the tools to understand them in their historical, social, and cultural context, navigate pitfalls, and disrupt the corrosive effects of bigotry — especially for educators. This is why they started their nonprofit, CHOOSE while the two were still high school students. Their aim is to promote racial literacy as advocates, authors, and speakers. To that end, they have written two textbooks, given TED talks, developed resource materials in collaboration with teachers, and collected hundreds of interviews on people’s experiences with race. Now students at Harvard and Princeton, they remain committed to their goal of requiring racial literacy as part of the national K-12 curriculum. 

These young women are the manifestation of Nelson Mandela’s words that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. In fact they lead and inspire us today. Friends Seminary invites you to hear Winona and Priya speak on Thursday evening, February 4, from 7-8 PM with a Q&A session to follow. 

Peace Week 2021 Schedule

List of 6 items.


Our Climate Our Future: An Evening with David Wallace-Wells
David Wallace-Wells, speaker

Justice and Mercy: Transforming Conflict into Connection
Bryan Stevenson, speaker

Seeking Refuge: the Ethics and Politics of Migration and Immigration
Sonia Nazzario, speaker

The New America: Listening Across the Divides
George Packer, speaker

Let Your Life Speak
Chelsea Clinton, speaker
Photo Gallery

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunities
Nicholas Kristof and Maro Chermayeff, speakers

Legacies of Peace: Choosing to Use the Gift of our Lives to Make the World a Better Place
Maggie Doyne, Neil Blumenthal ‘98 and Dr. Oliver Rothschild ‘98, speakers

Building Bridges: Peace Through Understanding
Teri McLuhan, speaker
Peace Like a River: Water as Matter and Metaphor
Michael Arad, speaker

Educating for Peace: Friends Seminary and 225 Years of Quaker Education
Beyond the Numbers: The Economics of Peace
Jeffrey Sachs, speaker

In the Presence of Justice: The Politics of Peace
Mary Robinson, speaker

War Letters: Both Said and Sung
Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Palmedo and Crystal Sikora, speakers

Environmental Stewardship – A Pathway to Peace
James Turrell, speaker

Nonviolence in the Age of Terrorism
Arun Gandhi, speaker

The Diplomat, the Activist and the Academic
Pierre Schori, Susan Sarandon and  Jessica Tuchman Mathews, speakers
Friends Seminary actively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all its programs and operations, including admissions, financial aid, hiring, and all facets of the educational experience. To form a community which strives to reflect the world’s diversity, we do not discriminate on the basis of race or color, religion, nationality, ethnicity, economic background, physical ability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Friends Seminary is an equal opportunity employer.

Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.
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