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Maharishi School students host successful peace exchange
by Jim Karpen

The Review, Vol. 19, #16    Translate This Article
Fairfield, Iowa, United States
15 May 2004

A peace exchange organized by the Students Creating Peace Network, which includes a group of Maharishi School students, brought around 80 high school students of diverse backgrounds to campus earlier this month.

The participants included 55 Native Americans from four different tribes in South Dakota and Nebraska; students from Scattergood Friends, a Quaker school in West Branch, Iowa; students from Fairfield High School; and students representing a Baha'i youth organization in Des Moines.

On Saturday the students met for a cultural exchange that included a range of activities, from group discussions of approaches to peace, to basketball.

The highlight was the Visions of Peace activity on Saturday evening, in which the students formed small groups and chose different art forms to express peace. 'They just had 45 minutes to prepare, and what they came up with in that short time was amazing,' said Lynn Kaplan, faculty advisor to the Students Creating Peace Network. Their artistic expressions included a mural, poetry, mime, dance, and song.

She said that most pleasing was that the groups they formed were composed of people they had bonded with that day rather than those they had come with -- a real integration of diverse cultures. 'It was then that I knew it had really worked.'

A highlight on Sunday was the hoop dancing and flute playing of renowned Native American Kevin Locke, a member of the Lakota tribe.

Ms. Kaplan said that the students worked very hard to organize the peace weekend, which took up most of their free time for several months. . . . They were so devoted and one-pointed in their desire to bring together students of different traditions to celebrate peace,' she said. 'They just gave their hearts to this.'

'The students who came all had a really wonderful time,' said Tim Hoehner, who helped make the initial contacts with the Native American groups. 'Some of them didn't want to leave.'

Copyright 2004, Maharishi University of Management

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