World Peace Village

Millions of people have visited the World Showcase at Walt Disneyworld's EPCOT Center. One person, after strolling from country to country in just a few steps, was inspired to create a world peace village based on Disney's concept. "What if a person could walk just a few steps and learn about another person's religious faith, participate in some of the basic religious practices of that faith, and realize just how much we all share in common?" That was the dream Josetta Walsh had several decades ago, and that dream finally turned into reality after the tragedies of September 11th.

While Americans reeled from feelings of grief, anger, and fear, there was also a deep search for understanding. Was what happened on that day a religious act? Could any religion sanction such violence? Are we so different from them? Who are we and who are they? What separates us and what might help to bring us together?

 

     

For Josetta Walsh, a long practitioner in the Montessori methods of teaching, it was obvious that an experiential learning opportunity was desperately needed, combining heart, hands, and mind. Bringing such an experience to people could help to scatter mustard seeds of understanding, in the hopes of spreading acceptance of each other and peace in a frightened and hurting world.

With the ruins of the World Trade Center still smoldering, and an ongoing war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Walsh and the staff at the Child and Family Research and Training Institute in Menlo Park began working on a project that has come to be known as the World Peace Village. They debuted the village in 2002 and it has been incredibly well received all over the country ever since.

     
 

Made up of six huge banners, representing six major world religions, with music and hands-on activities, the World Peace Village was designed for intergenerational events, where children and parents as well as individuals could walk together on the path toward peace, tolerance and understanding.

Each of the six centers is made up of a banner on a stand (3ft by 6ft) depicting a center of worship for each tradition. Displayed in front of the banners are sacred items from the traditions used in worship. Visitors can touch the sacred objects displayed, read about the tradition, say a prayer of peace, learn a word for peace and participate in a hands-on spiritual practice from each tradition.

With its interactive elements, it has been used by churches, universities, schools, museums, conferences and retreats as a way of bringing diverse cultures together in a spirit of peace. At each center participants learn through experience and come to respect unfamiliar faith traditions.

     
     
     
     
     

Building on the success of the World Peace Village, Walsh and her team decided to create a smaller version of the village, one that could sit on a table and be used in the home, school…. anywhere.

Peace comes alive through this beautifully designed table-top community. It provides a variety of activities to experience the spirit of peace present in each tradition and it provides a glimpse into the common threads of these faith traditions, Packaged in a reusable folder, the Peace Village contains a shrine village, prayer book, mat, and glass candle holder and candle.

 
     
     
 

Reach And Teach is pleased to be the primary distributor for the table-top version of World Peace Village. We also offer Enchanted, the perfect companion for the village, a compilation of the Best of Robert Gass & On Wings of Song CD. The music has enchanted visitors to the large-scale displays of the village. For those who wish to create a sacred space for meditation and spiritual healing, this CD is perfect.

While for some venues the large banner displays are perfect, and for others the table-top version fits the bill, there is still one more variant of the village we are working on. Made up of 11 inch by 17 inch poster-boards which can easily fit on top of small tables, the soon-to-be-available "compact sized" World Peace Village is designed for events where the full-sized banners are too big, and the table-top village is too small. The "Compact Village" will include six poster-boards, 25 prayer booklets, instruction manual and curriculum, and a sacred item starter kit.