Core Principles

Vermont Peace Academy is dedicated to awakening and catalyzing the innate human capacity to produce peaceful solutions at all levels of life and society. We believe this is a next step for the evolution of humanity.

In the face of widespread human suffering and injury to systems that sustain life, we embrace the great shift in worldview that science and spirit present: everything and everyone is connected within the web of life.

Rooted in respect and care for the community of life that this worldview elicits, VPA programs share two broad goals:

  1. Explore and support the emergence of new ways of perceiving, being and creating peace along the continuum from inner, to personal interactions of daily life to broad global systems.
  2. Recognize and develop participants' capabilities to work together within human diversity, for environmental integrity, social and economic justice, proliferation of democratic practices where all are heard and understood, and with new language about peacemaking that speaks directly to our material and spiritual natures.

In practice, VPA programs help participants to shift personal and collective thoughts, belief systems and actions that prevent or inhibit peaceful solutions, toward those that support peaceful solutions. VPA programs quicken a personal and collective sense of the possibilities within and among us. They make peace contagious. Specific methods include:

  • Explore the dynamic relationship between inner and outer pathways to peace;
  • Support reflection, contemplation, personal inner practice and "deep listening" skills;
  • Develop "presence" - an authentic, experiential connection with what is most alive inside us and in others;
  • Translate insight into action and service as a way of putting peace into action through service learning, critical thinking, knowledge driven evaluation, and relationship-based teaching and learning.

Vermont Peace Academy is committed to modeling itself on these principles in its own relationships and organizational practices.