Simplicity, innocence, forgiveness - keys for establishing peace
''The clarity of a child's point of view can lead the way to peace in a troubled world,'' says Gerald Jampolsky, founder of a project called Children as Teachers of Peace (CATP) in Tiburon, Calif.
Mr. Jampolsky says simplicity, innocence, forgiveness - qualities children express with ease - are valuable ones for establishing world peace. After talking last spring with a group of school children in Denver, Colo., about world peace, he became so convinced of this that he founded the project.
His idea has spurred interest in other communities, among them San Diego; San Francisco; Washington; Durham, Conn.; and Honolulu.
Last Christmas, adults and children from a San Francisco group traveled to the White House to hand deliver thousands of letters and drawings received from children describing what they believe peace is. They then continued on to Rome, Moscow, and Egypt to deliver other bags of mail and meet with world leaders.
In each city they visited, they were joined by other children who drew their own pictures of what peace means.
''Drawing is a universal language,'' says Pat Montandon, organizer of the San Francisco project. ''I have found that having children draw pictures in Italy, Moscow, Egypt, and the United States, the pictures were all exactly alike in the general idea.'' Rainbows and sunshine often represented peace, while missiles were X'ed out in the corner.
Ms. Montandon, an author and former newspaper columnist, is probably best known for her roundtable-discussion luncheons, where people with diverse careers and experiences gather to exchange ideas.
Now she has ''knighted'' the roundtable with a new purpose - to further the growth of CATP. Members of its new advisory board include Jihan al-Sadat, wife of the late Anwar al-Sadat; authors Alex Haley and Joan Walsh Anglund; and six children.
Ms. Montandon says the group's purpose is many faceted, ''enabling children to have a voice in their own future, and allowing them to be heard by the leaders of the world.'' She says it also encourages adults to ''call on the child within themselves.''
The group plans another trip this spring to China, India, and Israel. In the more distant future there are plans for a children's peace day, and the bestowal of an international children's peace prize to children from various nations for their contributions to world peace.
The group also hopes to help with a project that would connect activities in different countries through wide-vision screens linked by satellite. The aim is to allow children to interact instantly with children in other parts of the world.
Letters and drawings from children on what peace means to them can be sent to CATP, 999 Green Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94133.