Portrait of a Peacemaker
40 minutes
To examine the qualities of peacemakers, who avoid violence in favor of
resolving conflicts through peaceful means.
EQUIPMENT: Flipchart
MATERIALS: Pencils, paper; Handout: Comparison of Users of Violence with
Non-Users of Violence
1. This activity is about “Peacemakers,” defined in Webster’s New World
Dictionary as “…persons who make peace by settling the disagreements of
2. Pass out the handout and ask participants to list in the left-hand column
several well-known figures who used violence to resolve conflict situations.
In the right-hand column, list other well-known people who used nonviolent
3. Pair up participants and ask them to compare their lists and discuss their
selections. Then ask them to write down the qualities they see shared by the
various peacemakers.
4. After several minutes, reconvene the group and ask them to report on their
discussions. Use the flipchart to record the names of the people they selected,
and also the overall qualities they found common to the various peacemakers.
5. Ask participants to return to their partners and then join up with another
pair, forming groups of four. Perhaps the best way to explain their task is to
tell them to look for the person most likely to receive “The Peacemaker of the
Century” award (as if there is such an award). The assignment is to review
the flipchart responses and select the one person they feel most worthy to
represent the finest example of a Peacemaker.
6. Have the groups report out and lead a discussion using questions such as the
In the beginning of the activity, was it easier to think of those who are or
were known to use violence, or to think of the peacemakers?
What does that tell you about our society in general?
How might any course of events have been changed if those who promoted
violence had applied the same qualities and skills used by peacemakers?
50 Activities for Conflict Resolution
Everyday we learn about leaders and conflict. This activity gives us a chance to
look beyond the workplace and immediate conflict situations and explore the
qualities of successful peacemakers.
This topic is a complex one, and we have only touched the surface by discussing
the peacemakers and their qualities. It is important to recognize that in many
conflict situations, violence-prone parties often have a personal agenda in which
power is more important than resolution. Therefore, focus on peacemakers and
peacemaker characteristics in general, and learn as much as you can from them.
Portrait of a Peacemaker
Comparison of Users of Violence to Non-Users of Violence
People known for their use of
People known for making peace
without the use of violence

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