War and Peace

For the next six weeks students will be immersed in the Great War. The project will be launched next Tuesday with a remembrance service at Clovelly church, followed with a visit to London to see ‘War Horse’, visit the Imperial War Museum and view the sea of poppies at The Tower of London.

As part of the project, Satish Kumar, one of our Fellows, was invited in to talk about his work as a peace activist, and the history of non-violence and conscientious objectors. Satish lives in Hartland, and is Editor of Resurgence magazine, and Founder of The Small School and Schumacher College.

Satish is an animated and vivid speaker. He told the story of how he was sitting in a café in Bangalore in 1962, when he read about Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher and mathematician, being imprisoned at the age of 90, for protesting against nuclear arms. “What am I doing, sitting here drinking coffee,” he thought, “I must do something about this.” So he and his friend decided to visit all the capitals of all of the countries developing nuclear weapons (The Soviet Union, America, France and Great Britain), and talk to their leaders about peace.

This they did – by foot, and without money. They set off from Gandhi’s grave in India and walked over 8,000 miles, through Afghanistan, Iran, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Belorussia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain and then finally to America where they finished their journey at the grave of John F. Kennedy. Along the way, they met the Soviet leaders in the Kremlin in Moscow and their counterparts in The Whitehouse, in Washington D.C., as well as meeting up with Bertrand Russell and Martin Luther King.

An inspiring journey and a captivating story for the students who were very attentive and eager to ask questions such as: “Where did you sleep?” “What did you eat?” “What was the toughest time in your walk” “How could you speak all those different languages?”

“Life is an adventure" said Satish, "and you mustn’t worry about difficulties because they make you think, be creative and imagine solutions… They make you strong.” Joss Hayes, Principal, agreed. “This exactly the message that we give students every day … it helps them to create the right attitude towards their learning and the challenges it can bring.”